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Digital Collections in the Friedheim Library

About this collection

Donated by Frances Schillinger (née Singer, later Shaw), the Joseph and Frances Schillinger Collection includes the materials of composer, teacher and music theorist Joseph Schillinger (1895 – 1943), who developed what he called a “mathematical basis for the arts.” Born in Russia, Schillinger studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music. After emigrating to the United States of America, he influenced composers of the period (including George Gershwin) through public lectures, concerts and teaching. Following his death in 1943, Frances Schillinger Shaw devoted herself to promoting both Schillinger’s legacy and his methods through the publication of his work, the Schillinger Society (run in cooperation with her second husband Arnold Shaw) and through granting licenses to individuals and institutions to teach the “Schillinger Method.” Among those licensed was Lawrence Berk (his institution would later become the Berklee School of Music). Shaw had a diverse range of correspondents (including the photographer Richard Avedon, the musicologist Charles Seeger and the composer Henry Cowell) and her letters reflect her untiring belief in the value of Schillinger’s work. In the later years of her life, Shaw donated materials documenting Schillinger’s life and work to a number of cultural institutions. In addition to the Peabody Institute, Schillinger materials can be found at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming, the New York Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress and others. The materials digitized here include composition charts handmade by Schillinger, correspondence, photographs, and manuscripts. Of special interest are a number of original artworks (many in crayon) and a manuscript score for Schillinger’s Opus 11, done in the composer’s hand. For further reading about the provenance of the Peabody Institute's Schillinger Collection, as well as the lives of Joseph and Frances Schillinger, please see:Quist, Ned. “Toward a Reconstruction of the Legacy of Joseph Schillinger.” Notes 58, no. 4 (June 2002): 765-86. (Peabody Institute and Johns Hopkins University users may access the article here).

 
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