[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.Hough:hou00066View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement
MS Mus 195

Kolisch, Rudolf, 1896-1978. Rudolf Kolisch papers, 1886-1978: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Mus 195
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Kolisch, Rudolf, 1896-1978.
Title: Rudolf Kolisch papers,
Date(s): 1886-1978.
Quantity: 47.5 linear feet (141 boxes, 18 volumes)
Abstract: Papers of musician Rudolf Kolisch including correspondence, musical and literary compositions, recordings, performance records, teaching materials, subject files, and biographical materials.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2004KO. Manuscripts presented by and purchased from: Mrs. Lorna Kolisch, 178 Columbine Place, Hercules, California 94547; received: 23 Dec 1986. Purchased with funds raised by the Committee for the Music Collections at the Houghton Library.
96M-39. Item (2211) presented by: Mr. David Satz, 549 First Street, Brooklyn, New York 11215; received: 22-28 Feb 1997.
97M-52. Items (784) and (1692a) presented by: Regina Busch,Trauttmansdorffgasse 27, 1130 Vienna, Austria; received: 20 Mar 1998
Part of item (2174) presented by: Andreas Lehner; received: Jan 2001.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Barbara M. Wolff

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Rudolf Kolisch Papers, 1886-1978 (MS Mus 195). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

The Houghton Library contains other collections related to Rudolf Kolisch:
Other Kolisch-related materials can be found at Mills Library at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Its series of Kolisch concert programs from 1953-1967 fills in the gap in this collection. The Harvard University Archives and the Wisconsin State Historical Society also hold material (See Susanna Watling, "Rudolf Kolisch in Madison, 1944-1967," in M. Grassl and R. Kapp, Die Lehre von der musikalischen Aufführung in der Wiener Schule. Veröffentlichungen zur Musikgeschichte Bd. 3 (Vienna, in preparation).

Separated Materials

Books and scores without performance markings were transferred to the Houghton Rare Book Collection, accessioned as a group under *86-99. Some items contain inscriptions by composers or authors. A collection of slides of Arnold Schoenberg paintings is now at the Fine Arts Library at Harvard.

Biographical / Historical

The violinist Rudolf Kolisch was born in Klamm, Austria, in 1896. He studied violin, composition and musicology in Vienna, and was close to the circle around his teacher Schoenberg (who married Kolisch's sister Gertrud in 1924). Kolisch's quartet was founded in 1922; first known as the Wiener Streichquartett, then Kolisch Quartett, it became internationally known as one of the protagonists of the Second Viennese School. Bartok, Berg, Webern, and Schoenberg entrusted them with the first performances of many of their works. In 1939, while touring the USA, the quartet in its original formation disbanded. In 1944, after years of struggle, Kolisch became the primarius of the Pro Arte Quartet, in residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and later joined the faculty at the School of Music. In 1967 he left that position for the New England Conservatory, Boston, where he taught until his death in 1978. (For additional biographical information, see Claudia Maurer Zenck, "Was sonst kann ein Mensch denn machen, als Quartett zu spielen? Rudolf Kolisch und seine Quartette. Versuch einer Chronik der Jahre 1921-1944," in Österreichische Musikzeitschrift no. 53 (1998), p. 8ff.).


Arranged into the following ten series: Please note that item number 717 was inadvertently omitted from this finding aid.

Scope and Contents

The papers came to the Houghton Library in 1986 directly from Kolisch's residence in Watertown, Mass. They reflect in their holdings of correspondence, documents, scores, and recordings the entire range of his personal and professional life on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and his broad-ranging activities and interests as performer, scholar, author, and theorist.
The correspondence includes (among the over one thousand correspondents) extensive exchanges with Adorno, Berg, Eisler, Leibowitz, Korngold, Krenek, Nono, Schoenberg, Steuermann, Stockhausen, and Stuckenschmidt . A large part of this section contains correspondence with concert and broadcasting agencies, as well as universities, colleges, and conservatories (Series I). - The composition series documents Kolisch's extensive literary output, consisting of analytical essays, lectures, broadcasts, and program notes; it is, for the most part, to this date, still waiting to be published (Series II). - The great number of manuscript and printed scores are significant for their performance and analytical markings by Kolisch, often reflecting the collaboration with the composer (Series III). - The performance records include programs and clippings, with scrapbooks preserved of the Kolisch Quartett concert seasons 1928-1933, and also the rehearsal diaries, 1921-1927 (Series V). - The subject files include papers relating to composers or organizations. - (See also Regina Busch, '"Der Nachlass von Rudolf Kolisch," Mitteilungen der Internationalen Schönberg Gesellschaft vol. 2 (1987), p. 7 ff.) (Series VIII). - The large collection of reel-to-reel tapes have been copied to compact disks by Kolisch's assistant David Satz. His commentaries on these recordings contain so many valuable facets and details that they are included, unedited, as an appendix to the printed finding aid (Appendix).

Container List