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Ralph Berkowitz Collection

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/24323

Abstract

Title:
Ralph Berkowitz Collection
Author/Creator:
Berkowitz, Ralph
Collection number:
0
Size:
2.00 linear feet
Bulk dates:
1952-1981
Inclusive dates:
1918-1991
Collection Area:
International Piano Archives at Maryland
Repository:
International Piano Archives at Maryland, University of Maryland Libraries, College Park, MD 20742, Tel: 301.405.9224, Email: godowsky@umd.edu
Abstract:

Ralph Berkowitz (1910-2011) was a music educator and pianist. He performed many solo recitals throughout the world and was an accompanist for cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. Berkowitz was also a staff member at the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, the executive assistant at the Tanglewood Institute, and the business manager of the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra. This collection contains 2.00 linear feet of scrapbooks and an unpublished biography that contain photographs, correspondence, articles, brochures, programs, artwork, and memorabilia related to Berkowitzs career, the ensembles he was involved in, and his relationships with his close colleagues, including pianist Aaron Copland, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, and Tanglewood Institute director Serge Koussevizky.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

This collection is open for research use.

Preferred citation:

Ralph Berkowitz Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Summary: Ralph Berkowitz was born in New York City in 1910. He studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (1928), where he later became a member of the staff, teaching form and analysis, directing the Historical Series (concerts), and coaching vocal students. Afterwards, he became the accompanist for cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (1940-1972) and appeared in recitals throughout the world. Berkowitz was also executive assistant to Serge Koussevizky at Tanglewood (1946-1951), where he became Dean of the Berkshire Music Center (1951-1964).

Berkowitz took on the dual role of executive director and principal pianist of the June Music Festival in Albuquerque (1953) and eventually became business manager of the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra (1958-1969). Ralph Berkowitz was also a painter and has had articles published by Penguin Books (London), Etude Magazine, and The Juilliard Review. Berkowitz died in August 2011.

Full History: Ralph Berkowitz was born in New York City in 1910.

In 1928, he enrolled at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. He later became a member of the Institute's staff, teaching form and analysis, directing the Historical Series (concerts), and coaching vocal students. He remained in that position until 1940 when he became the accompanist for cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. He continued in that role for 30 years, appearing with Piatigorsky in recitals throughout the world until the cellist's death in 1972.

Berkowitz was executive assistant to Serge Koussevitzky at Tanglewood from 1946 to 1951. He became Dean of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in 1951 and remained in that position until his resignation in 1964.

In 1953, he took on the dual role of executive director and principal pianist of the June Music Festival in Albuquerque. After commuting from the East coast for five summers, he moved to Albuquerque in 1958 and became business manager of the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra. He resigned that post in 1969.

In addition to teaching, lecturing, and performing, Ralph Berkowitz was also a painter. His paintings, pastels, woodcuts, and drawings are in numerous private collections in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles and Albuquerque.

In Albuquerque, Berkowitz did a lecture series on television called The Arts consisting of 63 half hour shows dealing with some aspect of music, painting, or literature. He has also had articles published by Penguin Books (London), Etude Magazine, and the Juilliard Review.

As a composer, Ralph Berkowitz wrote A Telephone Call, for singer and orchestra, based on a Dorothy Parker monologue.

In March of 1992, Ralph Berkowitz donated his personal papers, comprising photographs, correspondence, programs, and newspaper articles and clippings, to the International Piano Archives at the University of Maryland. Berkowitz died in August 2011.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Ralph Berkowitz Collection covers the period from 1918 to 1991; the bulk of the materials date from 1952 to 1981, and the collection is 2.00 linear feet. The collection consists of two scrapbooks plus an unpublished biography put together by Carolyn Erbele based on interviews she conducted with Berkowitz from 1989 to 1991. The materials contain photographs, correspondence, articles, brochures, programs, artwork, and memorabilia related to Berkowitzs work as a performer and music educator, including his work at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, with the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra, and with the Guarneri String Quartet at the June Music Festival in Albuquerque.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift of Ralph Berkowitz; received on March 3rd, 1992.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processor unknown.

Processing note:

A detailed inventory of the scrapbooks and biography is available upon request.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Elizabeth J. Mason, May 2013.

Arrangement of Collection

This collection is organized into four series.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Photographs, Circa 1920, and Undated (null)

This series contains formal and candid photographs of Berkowitz alone and with others, candid photographs of other artists without Berkowitz, photographs of Berkowitz teaching, painting, and addressing audiences at the Tanglewood Institute of Music, and miscellaneous photos of various events in Berkowitzs life, including photographs of Berkowitz as a child, at Serge Koussevitzkys funeral, at Jorge Bolets recital, and at weddings and benefit concerts.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Red Scrapbook -- Includes photographs and select programs, Circa 1920, and Undated series 1box 1folder 3

Series 2: Correspondence, 1918-1991, and Undated (null)

This series contains letters to and from Berkowitz, including correspondence with Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Rudolf Serkin. It also contains miscellaneous correspondence about Berkowitz. This series is arranged alphabetically by the correspondents last name into three categories.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Blue Scrapbook -- Includes correspondence and select photos, programs, and articles, 1918-1991, and Undated series 2box 1folder 2

Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1941-1991, and Undated (null)

This series contains miscellaneous materials that are divided into three categories: newspaper articles and brochures about Berkowitz, programs related to Berkowitzs performances, and other articles and memorabilia. It includes articles by Berkowitz and articles about Berkowitz related to his time in the Albuquerque Orchestra, at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, at the Tanglewood Institute, at the June Music Festival in Albuquerque, and other miscellaneous articles related to Berkowitzs paintings and various performance subjects.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Ralph Berkowitz--Dean of Tanglewood (1946-1964), Piano Soloist, Accompanist and Teacher, Administrator, and Lecturer, 1910- -- Red Scrapbook, 1941-1991, and Undated series 3box 1folder 1

Series 4: Recordings, Undated (null)

This series contains recordings of Berkowitz, including recordings of Berkowitz playing the piano with cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and with violinist Joseph Silverstein, and interviewing Rachel Barton Pine.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Recordings, Undated series 4box 1folder 4
Silverstein/Berkowitz--12-Track CD, Undated series 4box 1folder 4item 1.0
George Piatigorsky--Cello, Ralph Berkowitz--Piano, 10-Track CD, Bach, Brahms, Prokofiev--Two copies, Undated series 4box 1folder 4item 2.0
Rachel Barton Pine Talks with Ralph Berkowitz, Undated series 4box 1folder 4item 3.0
RCA Victor Recording---Gregor Piatigorsky--Cello, Ralph Berkowitz--Piano--Hindemith, Barber, and Prokofiev Sonatas, Undated series 4box 1folder 4item 4.0

Related Material

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