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Jan Smeterlin Collection

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/24327

Abstract

Title:
Jan Smeterlin Collection
Author/Creator:
Smeterlin, Jan
Collection number:
0
Size:
10.00 linear feet
Bulk dates:
1927-1962
Inclusive dates:
1912-1982
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:

Perhaps best known for his interpretations and recordings of Chopin works, Jan Smeterlin (1892-1967) was a pianist and author. He performed in various places around the world such as Australia, Canada, the United States, and Europe, and he gave annual concerts in his hometown of London. Smeterlin also wrote books, including a book on the interpretations of Chopin and a recipe book. The collection consists of 10.00 linear feet of scrapbooks, programs, reviews, contracts, legal documents, passports, published writings, manuscripts, biographical materials, photographs, newspaper clippings, and correspondence related to Smeterlins career, his hobbies, and his relationships with his close friends and colleagues, including author B.C. Maciejewski, composer Karol Szymanowski, and his wife, Edith Smeterlin.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

This collection is open for research use.

Preferred citation:

Jan Smeterlin Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Summary: Jan Smeterlin, known for his interpretations and recordings of Chopin music, was born in Poland in 1892. He gave his first public concert at age seven playing a Mozart concerto and made his debut in Warsaw, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin (1920). He had concert tours all over the world and gave annual concerts in his hometown of London. His principal teacher was Leopold Godowsky.

Smeterlin started working with composer Karol Szymanowski (1910), who he befriended. When he was not concertizing, he enjoyed cooking. He authored a recipe book which was eventually published after his death. Smeterlin died in London in 1967 at the age of seventy-five.

Full History: Jan Smeterlin, notable for his interpretations of Chopin's piano music, was born in Poland in 1892. He gave his first public concert at the age of seven playing a Mozart concerto. Despite Smeterlin's wishes to become a concert pianist, he was forced to study law. In the midst of his schooling in Vienna, Smeterlin won a scholarship to study with Leopold Godowsky, one of his most significant teachers. Mr. Smeterlin made his debut in 1920 in Warsaw, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin. His concert tours took him to the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Latin America, Java, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, the United States, and all over Europe, not to mention the annual concerts he gave in his home town of London.

Smeterlin had a unique relationship with composer Karol Szymanoski which began in 1910. He not only had the privilege of working with Szymanowski as a colleague, but also shared a friendship which was evident in Szymanowki' s dedication of a volume of mazurkas to Smeterlin. Szymanowki's works were frequently included in his concerts and were often the highlight of his performances.

When he was not concertizing, he enjoyed cooking. He authored a recipe book which was eventually published after his death. Smeterlin had also begun writing a book on the interpretation of Chopin which was he was unable to complete. He had a fondness for animals, especially his dog Tuki-Tuki. During the last years of his life, Jan Smeterlin and his wife, Didi lived in New York. They returned to London for two months when he became ill; he died in 1967 at the age of seventy-five.

Mr. Smeterlin recorded mostly Chopin works. He recorded the complete Nocturnes for Philips, and various Waltzes and Mazurkas for Mace. A Chopin recital was recorded on LP for Allegro. Several 78s for Polydor were produced which contain Chopin's music and Schulz-Evler's arrangement of The Blue Danube. A Brahms recital was recorded for RCA Victor and Scripglen recorded works of Chopin and Szymanowski.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Jan Smeterlin Collection covers the period from 1912 to 1982; the bulk of the materials date from 1927 to 1962. The collection consists of 10.00 linear feet of scrapbooks, programs, reviews, contracts, legal documents, passports, published writings, manuscripts, biographical materials, photographs, newspaper clippings, and correspondence related to Smeterlins work as a pianist and author, including his performances in Europe, Australia, New York, and Boston, and his books on music and cooking.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift of Lilian de Arias, Smeterlin's niece. Received on May 6th, 1998.

Processing Information

Processed by:

This collection was processed by Stacey Brown.

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: Performance Files, 1922-1966 (7.75 linear feet)

Here are found programs, advertising, reviews, and other related documents. The materials are organized chronologically by performance date. Several scrapbooks, previously made before donation to IPAM, have been preserved in their original format.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Scrapbook of 1922-1923, 1922-1923 series 1box 1folder 1
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Rome, Berlin, 1923 series 1box 1folder 2
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Wigmore Hall, London, 1924 series 1box 1folder 3
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, Amsterdam, Berlin, 1925 series 1box 1folder 4
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, 1926 series 1box 1folder 5
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Denmark, Sweden, London, Berlin, 1927 series 1box 2folder 1
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Boston, New York, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, 1928 series 1box 2folder 2
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, Berlin, Stockholm, Holland, 1929 series 1box 3folder 1
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Berlin, Leeds, Holland, France, London, New York, Russky Golos, N.Y. Dennik, Atlantis, Boston, Tulsa, 1930 series 1box 3folder 2
Concert Programs and Reviews -- France, Sweden, England, Holland, London, New York, Boston, Chicago, 1931 series 1box 4folder 1
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Stockholm, Glascow, Liverpool, London, Edinburgh, 1932 series 1box 5folder 1
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, New York, Boston, Stockholm, 1933 series 1box 5folder 2
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, 1934 series 1box 6folder 1
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Boston, London, Holland, Barcelona, 1935 series 1box 6folder 2
Green Scrapbooks, 1934-1936 series 1box 6folder 3
Green Scrapbook #1--Iowa, West Virginia, Boston, London, Bournemouth, 1934-1936 series 1box 6folder 3item 1.0
Green Scrapbook #2--Baltimore, Boston, 11/1936 series 1box 6folder 3item 2.0
Concert Programs and Reviews, 1936 series 1box 6folder 4
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Paris, Netherlands, London, U.S., 1937 series 1box 7folder 1
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Stockhohn, New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, 1938 series 1box 7folder 2
Concert Programs and Reviews -- New York, 1939 series 1box 7folder 3
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Boston, 1940 series 1box 8folder 1
Town Hall, NYC Concert Programs, 1941 series 1box 8folder 2
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Boston, Rio de Janeiro, London, NYC, 1944 series 1box 8folder 3
Concert Programs and Reviews -- San Francisco, 1945 series 1box 8folder 4
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Netherlands, 1946 series 1box 8folder 5
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Edinburgh, 1947 series 1box 8folder 6
U. S. Tour promotion, 1948 series 1box 8folder 7
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Tivoli, 1950 series 1box 8folder 8
Concert Programs and Reviews -- New York, Williams College, Boston, Andover, Amsterdam, 1951 series 1box 8folder 9
Tour promotion, 1952 series 1box 8folder 10
Biographical sketch, 1952 series 1box 8folder 11
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, Denmark, Victoria Memorial Hall, Brighton, Boston, 1952 series 1box 8folder 12
Concert Programs and Reviews -- New York, Boston, 1953 series 1box 8folder 13
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Meeting Queen Elizabeth, Dublin, North American Tour promotion, Arnheim, Geneva, 1955 series 1box 9folder 1
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, Denmark, Amsterdam, 1956 series 1box 9folder 2
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, 1957 series 1box 9folder 3
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, Berlin, Dublin, Eastbourne, Geneva, Amsterdam, 1958 series 1box 9folder 4
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Denmark, Comedie de Champs-Elysees, Paris, London, Geneva, New Bedford High School, Michigan, Boston, 1959 series 1box 9folder 5
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Paris, Geneva, London, Boston, New York, 1960 series 1box 10folder 1
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, Paris, Germany, Boston, 1961 series 1box 10folder 2
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, Germany, Netherlands, New York, 1962 series 1box 10folder 3
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, Germany, Amsterdam, 1963 series 1box 10folder 4
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Germany, Paris, London, Tivoli, 1964 series 1box 11folder 1
Concert Programs and Reviews -- London, 1965 series 1box 11folder 2
Concert Programs and Reviews -- Paris, London, 1966 series 1box 11folder 3
ABC Australian/New Zealand 1954 Tour Scrapbook, 1953-1955 series 1box 15folder 1
Smeterlin Concert Programs, 1925-1928 series 1box 16folder 1

Series 2: Subject Files, 1926-1982, and Undated (0.75 linear feet)

This series consists of various writings of Jan Smeterlin, contracts, accounting records and other legal documents, passports, and biographical materials.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Jan Smeterlin -- Author -- Books and writings by Jan Smeterlin, Undated series 2box 12folder 1
Biographical Materials, 1926-1967, and Undated series 2box 12folder 2
Cooking, 1962-1963, and Undated series 2box 12folder 3
Letters to/from/re: -- Jan Smeterlin -- Extension of U.S. Stay, 1944-1959, and Undated series 2box 12folder 4
Letter re: -- Jan Smeterlin Estate, 1982 series 2box 12folder 5
Accounting/Contracts, 1927-1937 series 2box 12folder 6
Accounting/Contracts, 1937-1966 series 2box 12folder 7
Letters from Steinway & Sons to Jan Smeterlin, 1931-1964 series 2box 12folder 8
Passports Belonging to Jan Smeterlin, 1935-1965 series 2box 12folder 9

Series 3: Photographs, 1912-1966, and Undated (0.75 linear feet)

This series contains 65 photographs of Jan Smeterlin, mostly publicity photos.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Photographs -- Circa 1924, 1912-1930s series 3box 13folder 1
Photographs -- Circa 1938, 1938-1960s series 3box 13folder 2
Photographs, 1948-1966, and Undated series 3box 13folder 3
Smeterlin (Photos), Undated series 3box 16folder 2

Series 4: Miscellaneous Items, 1928-1982, and Undated (0.75 linear feet)

Included in this series are newspaper clippings, items relating to Mr. Smeterlin's residence in England, and personal notes from Andres Segovia, Malcolm MacDonald, Princess Alice, the Countess of Athlone, Dame Laura Knight, Esther Miller, Neville Chamberlain, and others.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Letters, 1929-1952, and Undated series 4box 14folder 1
Personal note to J. Smeterlin -- From Gurt Ullmann, 1962 series 4box 14folder 2
Personal note to Jan and Edith -- From Felix Salmond, 1948, and Undated series 4box 14folder 3
Personal note from B.M. Maciejewski -- To Jan Smeterlin, 1962-1966 series 4box 14folder 4
Letter -- Persons Unknown, 1928 series 4box 14folder 5
1882-1937 Karol Szymanowski -- By the Committee for the Celebration of K.S. Birth Centenary, Undated series 4box 14folder 6
Signed photo of K. Szymanowski -- Original check payable to K.S. from Jan Smeterlin, 1934 series 4box 14folder 7
Reviews of other pianists, Undated series 4box 14folder 8
Gramophone -- Recordings of Jan Smeterlin, 12/1982 series 4box 14folder 9
Article -- J. Smeterlin, author?, Undated series 4box 14folder 10
Map of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Baltic States, Undated series 4box 14folder 11
Jan Smeterlin's Residence -- London, Undated series 4box 14folder 12
Miscellaneous Articles -- Non-Musical, Undated series 4box 14folder 13
Miscellaneous Publicity, 1936-1949, and Undated series 4box 14folder 14
Programs -- Date Unknown, Undated series 4box 14folder 15
Reviews -- Date Unknown, Undated series 4box 14folder 16

Related Material

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.