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Louis Gruenberg Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Gruenberg, Louis, 1884-1964.
Title: Louis Gruenberg Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1929-1963
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the Russian-born composer, pianist. Collection includes manuscript scores, journals, speeches (1934-1939), printed scores, and drawings.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Louis Gruenberg (1884-1964) was a Russian-American composer and pianist.

Born in Russia, Gruenberg was brought to the United States at the age of two. His musical education was in the master class at the Vienna Conservatory in Austria. He began his career as a pianist and made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1912; subsequently he appeared in all the major cities of the United States and Europe. He was chairman of the Composition Department of the Chicago Music College from 1931 to 1933, founder of the League of Composers and the Music Guild, a past president of the International Society of Contemporary Music, a charter member of the MacDowell Society, and a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.

His awards include prizes from Columbia and RCA Victor Records, the New York Symphony, and the Federation of Musical Clubs (1941), and he was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. He is perhaps best known for the scores of Green Mansions and Emperor Jones (produced by the Metropolitan Opera), but he also composed the music for Jack and the Beanstalk, Helena's Husband, First Symphony, Jazz Suite, Enchanted Isle, and Serenade to a Beauteous Lady. His music for films includes Fight for Life and So Ends Our Night.

Gruenberg was married and had one daughter. Much of his life was spent in Beverly Hill, California.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Louis Gruenberg Papers consist of biographical material (a brief biographical sketch from Who's Who), correspondence (one outgoing letter to the Composers Society of America), manuscripts (journals, radio broadcasts, drawings, and speeches), and published compositions.

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Arrangement of the Collection

All material is arranged alphabetically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has the papers of a number of composers and musicians; please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


Gruenberg, Louis, 1884-1964.


Composers -- United States.
Music -- 20th century.
Musicians -- United States.
Pianists -- United States.
Russian Americans.

Genres and Forms

Drawings (visual works)
Musical scores.
Sheet music.
Speeches (documents)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Louis Gruenberg Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: [Summit record]
Date: 1 Jan 2001
Revision history: 8 Mar 2010 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Biographical material
Box 1 Who's Who
Box 1 Composers Society of America 1937
Box 1 "Conversations with myself" 1930-1950? - journals
Box 1 Drawings circa 1953
Box 1 Prayer ("To Mozart in heaven") 1939
Box 1 Radio broadcast, CBS "Modern Masters" series 1937
Box 1 Serenade, first radio performance of undated
Box 1 Chicago College of Music 1934
Box 1 Composers Society of America 1937
Box 1 Dominant Club of Los Angeles 1937
Box 1 Hollywood Chamber of Commerce 1939
Box 1 MacDowell Society 1937
Box 1 Memorial services 1938
Box 1 Opera Ball 1937
Published compositions
Box 1 Dance Suite 1929
Box 1 Four Diversions 1930 (2 copies)
Box 1 "It's me, oh Lawd" 1933 - prayer from Emperor Jones
Box 1 Jack and the Beanstalk 1933
Box 1 Viola 1930
Box 1 Violina I 1930
Box 1 Violina II 1930

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