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Pittsburgh International Contemporary
Music Festival 1952
Resources in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh


The Pittsburgh International Contemporary Music Festival, held November 24-30, 1952, garnered the city's musical community in performances of newly-composed works with a virtual "who's-who" of living composers in the western musical world.

This week-long series of concerts was held in conjunction with the 56th Carnegie Museum of Art International and originally conceived by composer Roy Harris. Sponsored by the Carnegie Institute and the Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham University), with performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra plus a wide-ranging number of local musical organizations and soloists, the Festival is now considered a cumulative benchmark of important musical composition in the middle of the 20th Century.

Organization of the Festival began with a survey of the nation's leading music academics, music critics and writers to establish a list of leading mid-20th century composers. Those selected by the Festival jurors were then invited to submit new compositions for performance in this ten-concert event, all under the commission of the American Society of Composers, Publishers and Authors (ASCAP).

The results of this competition saw the world premiere of new musical works by Luigi Dallapicola, Ross Lee Finney, Alberto Ginastera, Vincent Persichetti, Francis Poulenc, and Heitor Villa-Lobos among others. Composers in attendance who conducted or performed their own works included Roy Harris and Vincent Persichetti.

Concerts were held in the Carnegie Institute's acoustically renowned Carnegie Music Hall and in Syria Mosque Auditorium, the performance venue (now demolished) of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

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Program & Press Book

The Official Program is a complete record of the Festival concert programs, composers and performing artists, as well as other related events.
qr 780.79 P6742

The Press Book is a set of two folio-size scrapbooks compiled by Mrs. Royal Daniel immediately following the event. It contains numerous general news releases, newspaper reviews, jurors' ballots and replies, surveys, vote tabulations and other related documents.
qr ML38.P5P579 1952x v. 1-2

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Call number: r AL 15624.

Recordings of the Festival performances, produced by the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1954, can be found in a box set of 20 LP recordings, shelved in the Music Department's reference collection. Further details are available through an online title search of Pittsburgh International Contemporary Music Festival.

Music Manuscripts

The following composers' manuscripts are housed in the William R. Oliver Special Collections Room and are available for examination with advance notification. Call numbers denoted with an asterisk (*) are in the process of retrospective cataloguing, and are not linked to the online catalog.

Chevreuille, Raymond. Vox Belgarum; cantata pour choeur, op. 52.
qr 782.8 C42f2*
Dallapiccola, Luigi. Quaderno musicale di Annalibera, per pianoforte.
qr786.4 D16a*
Finney, Ross Lee. Immortal autumn, for mixed chorus, tenor solo & organ.
qr 784.6 F51*
Ginastera, Alberto. Sonata, para piano.
qr 786.41 G43*
Lopatnikov, Nikolai. Vocalise, for mixed voices.
qr 784.6 L85*
Malipiero, Gian Francesco. Passer mortuus est da Catullo.
qr 784.6 M28*
Persichetti, Vincent. Concerto for piano, four hands, op. 56.
qr 786.4902 P44f6*
Phillips, Burrill. "A Bucket of Water" for mixed chorus and piano.
qr 784.6 P51*
Poulenc, Francis. Ave verum corpus, motet a 3 voix de femmes.
qr 783.2 P86*
Rosenberg, Hilding Constantin. Svenska folkvisor.
qr 784.6 R72*
Reed, Gardner. The Golden harp.
qr 784.6 R25*
Saeverud, Harald. Shepherd's farewell.
qr 784.6 S12*
Santa Cruz, Domingo. Alabanzas del Adviento, pastoral para voces de ninos y organo
qr 783.4 S23*
Villa-Lobos, Heitor. Duas lendas Amerindias em Nheengatu
qr 784.6 V32*
Willian, Healey. Chansons canadiennes.
qr 784.4 W732*

Vertical File Materials

The Pittsburgh Music Information File, found in the Music Department (2nd Floor) contains a clipping file folder under the heading "Pittsburgh International Contemporary Music Festival, 1952." It contains duplicate copies of the Official Program, also a 31-page booklet of thumbnail biographical sketches of the 47 composers included in the ten-concert series and a handbook for the participating local musicians and other documents.

Related Publications

Ballot and replies, Pittsburgh International Contemporary Music Festival, 1952.
rq ML 38 .P5 P579 1952x

Pittsburgh International Contemporary Music Festival. Congress of Critics Forum.
Music and painting in the twentieth century.
rq ML 3880 .P58 1952x