Szigeti, Joseph (1892-1973)

The Joseph Szigeti collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, photographs, scrapbooks, journals and diaries, and other items.

Manuscripts by Szigeti in the collection include several articles, letters to the editor, record liner notes, talks, and notes (mainly pertaining to music), dating from the 1940s to the 1960s, as well as variant drafts of Szigeti’s autobiography With Strings Attached (Knopf, 1947). These manuscripts are primarily in English, with some in Hungarian, French, and German. Other manuscripts in the collection include interviews with Szigeti and writings by others about Szigeti, including a carbon-copy draft of W. S. Meadmore’s biography Szigeti: A Biography of a Musician .

Correspondence in the collection is extensive. The letters date from 1908 to 1973, and touch on all aspects of Szigeti’s life and career. Many of the correspondents are noted musical figures, including Pablo Casals, Henry Cowell, David Diamond, Lukas Foss, Rudolph Gliere, Benny Goodman, Otto Klemperer, Yehudi Menuhin, Dmitri Mitropolous, Eugene Ormandy, Serge Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Isaac Stern, Leopold Stokowski, and George Szell. Other notable correspondents include Isaac Ben-Zevi, Ira Hirschmann, Mrs. Charles Ives, Marks Levine, Frances Winwar, Mamie D. Eisenhower, Roland Gelatt, Ernst Bloch, and Antoine Ysaye. There are several letters present from the American composer Templeton Strong, dating from 1919 to 1939 (all the letters are in French). Another large group of letters concerns friends and colleagues invited to lend their names to an honorary committee for a tribute to Szigeti in 1979 (almost all accepted); correspondents include Nadia Boulanger, Paul Bowles, Aaron Copland, David Diamond, Avery Fisher, Benny Goodman, Erica Morini, Eugene Ormandy, Andres Segovia, Rudolf Serkin, Isaac Stern, and Leon Theremin. Other letters pertain to With Strings Attached, Szigeti’s detention on Ellis Island in November, 1950, and his concert tour of Japan in 1953.

Printed material in the collection includes several examples of the printed versions of writings by Szigeti, including items for The New York Times, High Fidelity, Le Grand Baton, and other periodicals. Other newspaper and magazine items consist of articles and reviews regarding Szigeti by others, including “Joseph Szigeti: A Tribute on his 70th Birthday,” written by Yehudi Menuhin for the BBC (1962). Musical scores in the collection include Eugene Ysaye’s “Exercises and Scales, Daily Pratice” for violin, as well as other miscellaneous scores. Also present are numerous programs, advertisements for concerts and records, publicity material, and other items.

Photographs in the collection primarily consist of black and white prints. Many of the photos are of Szigeti (either performing or in private) and his family. Images of notable figures include Bela Bartok, Henry Cowell, and and Templeton Strong. All photographs date between 1919 and 1969.

Scrapbooks in the collection consist primarily of printed items (newspaper clippings, press notices, reviews, etc.) grouped together in several albums. The items date from ca. 1905 to ca. 1944.

Journals and diaries in the collection consist of several items dating from 1908 to 1971. One item is a notebook containing notes regarding a possible book on Beethoven’s violin works; also present is a page of handwritten notes regarding Leon Theremin.

One section of the collection pertains to a tribute to Szigeti organized by Edith Jonas Levy, who initiated the memorial tribute to her lifelong friend for presentation on the tenth anniversary of his death. The tribute included a concert at Carnegie Hall (Feb. 1983), a memorial exhibition at Amsterdam Gallery at Lincoln Center (Feb. - Apr. 1983) and a discography. The material present in this collection various documents collected by Edith Jonas Levy (mainly photocopies), including letters (see above), biographical information, program notes, reviews, clippings, photographs, a catalog of the exhibit, and an audio cassette recording of Robert Sherman’s “New York City Round Table” radio program for WQXR on Mar. 20 and 27, 1983.

Notable Figures
1. Szigeti, Joseph
Associated Subjects
1. Music Collections Subject Guide