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Robert Casadesus Collection

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/20102

Abstract

Title:
Robert Casadesus Collection
Author/Creator:
Casadesus, Robert
Collection number:
0
Size:
13.00 linear feet
Bulk dates:
1940-1971
Inclusive dates:
1921-2002
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:

A pianist, composer, and pedagogue, Robert Casadesus (1899-1972) was an active performer throughout his career. He gave many solo recitals throughout the United States and Europe, and he was a soloist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for over three decades, where several of his works were premiered. Casadesus also performed with other orchestras, including the Cleveland, Chicago, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. In addition, Casadesus was an assistant to Isidor Philipp at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, where he later became the director. Casadesus often performed piano duets with his wife, Gaby Casadesus. The collection consists of 13.00 Linear Feet of concert programs, reviews, correspondence, photographs, advertisements, obituaries, articles, scores, biographical information, and other miscellaneous documents related to Casadesuss career; the ensembles with which he was involved; and the colleagues with whom he had close relationships including Maurice Ravel, Zino Francescatti, Gaby Casadesus, and his son, Jean Casadesus. Materials date from 1921 to 2002, with the bulk dating from 1940 to 1971.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

The collection is open for research use.

Preferred citation:

Robert Casadesus Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Summary: Robert Casadesus was born in Paris, April 7, 1899. He was an assistant to Isidor Philipp at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau School (1921-1935), and started his international career as a concert pianist by playing in major cities throughout Europe (1921). Casadesus also became a leading interpreter of Ravels music (1922) and succeeded Isidor Philipp as head of the piano department of the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau (1935-1942). After taking a break from Fontainebleau to live in New Jersey with his family during the war, Casadesus returned to his director position (1946). Casadesus also premiered many works at the New York Philharmonic, where he played over 100 concerts (1948-1969) and recorded extensively for Columbia records. Casadesus was promoted to the rank of Officer in the French Legion of Honor (1950) and became a Commander in the Legion of Honor (1968). His wife, Gaby Casadesus, joined him in many recitals for piano, four-hands, and two pianos. His son, Jean Casadesus (1927-1972) was also an acclaimed pianist. Robert Casadesus died in Paris, September 19, 1972, after a short illness.

Full History: Robert Casadesus was born in Paris, April 7, 1899. As the oldest in the second generation of a prestigious musical family, he inherited the tradition and the potential for an outstanding performance career. He did not follow the family tradition of playing stringed instruments but chose, instead, the piano. His Aunt Rose Casadesus, herself a pianist, instructed him until he entered the Paris Conservatory at the age of ten. At the Conservatory he studied solfege and piano with Louis Diémer, a pupil of Liszt, and with Antonin Emile Marmontel. He achieved the first prize in piano in 1913.

From 1913 to 1917 he studied harmony with Xavier Leroux. During this period he earned a livelihood by playing the celesta and extra percussion effects at the Opera Comique. In 1917 he made his debut as a concert pianist in Paris, with a recital at the Salle des Agriculteurs.

He was drafted into the army in 1918. After starting in the Artillery, he was transferred to the Engineers Corps band where he was a drummer. In 1919 he was awarded the first prize for harmony at the Paris Conservatory, having finished his study with Leroux. He received the Prix Diémer from the Conservatory the following year.

Two important events occurred for Casadesus in 1921: He married Gabrielle L'Hôte (Gaby Casadesus), and he became assistant to Isidor Philipp at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau. The Fontainebleau School had been founded after World War I by Walter Damrosch and Francis Casadesus (Robert's uncle) as a summer school for American students in instrumental music and composition. At the end of the summer he started his international career as a concert pianist by playing in major cities throughout Europe.

In 1922 Robert met Ravel, and, as a result of this meeting, a strong working friendship developed between the two men. Robert traveled and studied with Ravel and became a leading interpreter of his music.

In 1926 and 1927 he continued his tours to the capital cities of Europe, each year increasing the number of commitments for recitals and playing with the major orchestras. His first son, Jean, was born in 1927. The following year Robert was chosen to play the inaugural concert for the opening of the new Salle Pleyel. He also began playing recitals with Gaby, performing two-hand and four-hand pieces, some of which were his own transcriptions. In 1928, Robert made his first recording for Columbia in Paris, among which was Ravel's Jeux d'eau. For the 1929 season, fifteen concerts in Moscow were added to his itinerary.

During the thirties the scope of Casadesus's activities increased. The European concert tours were augmented in 1931 to include South America and, in 1933, Africa and the Middle East. In 1935 he made his first concert tour to the United States. While here he was engaged by Arturo Toscanini to play the Brahms Second Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic the following season. In 1932 his second son, Guy, was born.

During 1930 Robert had made other recordings with Columbia, establishing a relationship that was to continue for the rest of his professional life. That same year his String Quartet, Op.13, was premiered in Paris. In 1934, in Warsaw, he and Gaby played the first performance of his Concerto for Two Pianos, Op.17. Durand, publisher of the music of Debussy and Ravel, issued Robert's Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op.18, in 1935. Also in 1935 he succeeded Isidor Philipp as head of the piano department of the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau. In 1939, Casadesus received the French Legion of Honor and the Belgian Order of Leopold.

War breaks out! After the fall of France, he and Gaby established the Fontainebleau School at Newport, Rhode Island. In 1942 the Fontainebleau School was moved to Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires. The Casadesus made their home with their sons in Princeton, New Jersey, which was convenient to Manhattan and Philadelphia and had an active European community. Here they lived during the war years, 1940 to 1946.

Throughout this period, Robert continued a varied and busy concert career, playing his first recital at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1941, and appearing with all the major American orchestras on a regular basis. In 1941, he began working with Goddard Lieberson at Columbia Records; they did many recordings over the years, including all of the piano music of Ravel and Debussy. In 1942 Robert and Gaby's daughter Thérèse was born ("La naissance d'une dauphine!").

In the 1940's, his lifelong friendship and collaboration with Zino Francescatti, the great violinist, began. Robert continued to take time to compose, dedicating his Second Sonata for Piano and Violin, Op. 34, to Francescatti.

After the war, in 1946, Robert, now Director of the American Conservatory oversaw its return to Fontainebleau. He resumed his tours of the major European cities. From that time on the Casadesus family established a pattern of spending summers in France and at least part of the winters in the U.S., making their home in Princeton. Casadesus's North American tour itinerary covered the U.S. and Canada from coast to coast with recitals in San Francisco, Vancouver, Houston, San Antonio, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York, just to mention the larger cities.

Beginning in 1948, a number of his works were premiered by the New York Philharmonic. These included the Second Piano Concerto, Op.37, conducted by Leopold Stokowski (composer at the piano), the Suite for Orchestra, Op.47, conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos, and the Three Dances, Op.54, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Casadesus's American debut. The Concerto for Three Pianos and String Orchestra, Op.65, was given its first performance by the Philharmonic under the baton of Lucas Foss. In 1969, he played his l00th concert with the New York Philharmonic.

Through these years Robert received many honors from Europe and the United States. In 1949 he was asked by the Polish Government to give an all-Chopin recital in the Albert Hall, London, commemorating the centenary of the composer's death. In 1950 he was promoted to the rank of Officer in the French Legion of Honor in recognition of his outstanding musical career. Then in 1964 he became a Commander in the Legion of Honor. In 1968 he was awarded the Brahms medal in Hamburg as well as the gold medal of the city of Paris. He was asked to play the Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto at the Bonn Festival during the Beethoven bicentenary in 1970.

During these busy years of concert tours and composing Robert also continued to record extensively for Columbia. In 1955 be began making records with Francescatti: the ten sonatas for piano and violin of Beethoven, as well as works of Bach, Chausson, Debussy, Faure, Franck, Mozart, and Casadesus's own Sonata No.2, Op.34. Casadesus was awarded the Grand Prix de l'Academie Charles Cros and the Grand Prix de l'Academie du Disque for the complete recording, on LP, of Ravel's piano music. With George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra he recorded a number of Mozart piano concertos. In 1965 he was awarded the Netherlands' Edison award for his recordings.

In America, Casadesus was honored in the 1947 annual recorded music awards for his recording of the Debussy Preludes Book II (Columbia ML4019), and, in 1962, he and Gaby were nominated by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for best classical performance for "French Piano Music-Four Hands." (Columbia MS6323)

The Bell Telephone Hour produced a one hour television film, in 1967, on Robert, Gaby and Jean Casadesus, titled "The First Family of the Piano." Almost from the beginning of Casadesus's concert career Gaby had joined him in many recitals for piano, four-hands, and two pianos. Beginning in 1950, Jean, their son, played many concerts with his parents. Both Gaby and Jean had successful careers of their own--Jean until his death in a car accident in 1972. Gaby continues to teach master classes at Fontainebleau.

Robert Casadesus died in Paris, September 19, 1972, after a short illness. His Seventh Symphony, Op.68, with the chorus "Israel," was premiered at Alice Tully Hall at New York's Lincoln Center a few weeks later.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Robert Casadesus Collection covers the period from 1921 to 2002; the bulk of the materials date from 1940 to 1971, and the collection is 13.00 Linear Feet. The collection consists of both personal and professional papers including concert programs, reviews, correspondence, photographs, advertisements, obituaries, articles, scores, biographical information, and other miscellaneous documents related to Casadesuss work as a pianist, music educator, and composer, including his performances with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, with his wife, Gaby Casadesus, at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, and his work as a composer.This collection also contains materials related to the performance careers and personal lives of his wife, Gaby Casadesus, and his son, Jean Casadesus, both of whom were excellent pianists. Materials date from 1921 to 2002, with the bulk dating from 1940 to 1971.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

This document details the materials given to the International Piano Archives at Maryland (IPAM) by Gaby Casadesus and Thérèse Casadesus Rawson. IPAM is part of the Music Library of the University of Maryland, College Park. Materials were received on July 17, 1992. Supplementary materials were received on February 19, 2002. On July 17, 1992, the Archives opened the Exhibition in the International Piano Archives. The Exhibition was part of the William Kapell Festival and featured guest speaker Guy Casadesus.

Processing Information

Processed by:

This finding aid to the Casadesus Collection was prepared by Ann Wood and Darren Lael, under the direction of Neil Ratliff.

Encoded by:

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

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Performance Files, 1921-1972 (2.25 Linear Feet)

Here are found programs, reviews, advertisements, promotional materials and like documents that are related to specific performances of Robert Casadesus. The materials are organized chronologically by performance date, and span the period 1921 through 1972. This series is located in boxes 1 through 3.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Performance Files, 1921-1924 series 1box 1folder 1
Performance Files, 1930-1935 series 1box 1folder 2
Performance Files, 1936 series 1box 1folder 3
Performance Files, 1937-1939 series 1box 1folder 4
Performance Files, 1940 series 1box 1folder 5
Performance Files, 1941 series 1box 1folder 6
Performance Files, 1942 series 1box 1folder 7
Performance Files, 1943 series 1box 1folder 8
Performance Files, 1944 series 1box 1folder 9
Performance Files, 1945 series 1box 1folder 10
Performance Files, 1946 series 1box 1folder 11
Performance Files, 1947 series 1box 1folder 12
Performance Files, 1948 series 1box 1folder 13
Performance Files, 1949 series 1box 2folder 1
Performance Files, 1950 series 1box 2folder 2
Performance Files, 1951 series 1box 2folder 3
Performance Files, 1952 series 1box 2folder 4
Performance Files, 1953 series 1box 2folder 5
Performance Files, 1954 series 1box 2folder 6
Performance Files, 1955 series 1box 2folder 7
Performance Files, 1956 series 1box 2folder 8
Performance Files, 1957-1958 series 1box 2folder 9
Performance Files, 1959 series 1box 2folder 10
Performance Files, 1960-1964 series 1box 2folder 11
Performance Files, 1965 series 1box 2folder 12
Performance Files, 1966-1967 series 1box 2folder 13
Performance Files, 1968 series 1box 2folder 14
Performance Files, 1969 series 1box 3folder 1
Performance Files, 1970 series 1box 3folder 2
Performance Files, 1971 series 1box 3folder 3
Performance Files, 1972 series 1box 3folder 4

Series 2: Correspondence, 1921-1970 (null)

This series is comprised of 15 items: 12 pieces of incoming correspondence and 3 pieces of outgoing correspondence covering the period 1921 to 1970. This series is located in box 4.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Letters from Robert Casadesus, 1945-1946 series 2box 4folder 1
Letters to Robert Casadesus, 1921-1970 series 2box 4folder 2

Series 3: Photographs, 1949, and Undated (null)

Here are found photographs a variety of different kinds of photographs: Publicity photographs and portraits; family, colleagues and friends; snapshots of Casadesus; miscellaneous photographs. These materials are located in box 4.(Note: Oversized photographs are located in boxes 4.5a- 4.5b).

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Photographs, 1949, and Undated series 3box 4folder 3
Oversized Photographs, Undated series 3box 4folder 1
Photo Albums, Undated series 3box 4folder 1
Paintings of Gaby Casadesus, Undated series 3box 4folder 2
Posters/Steinway Award series 3box 4folder 3

Series 4: Subject Files, 1942-1983, and Undated (null)

This series contains materials and documents pertaining to Robert Casadesus's life, including publicity materials, obituary notices for Robert Casadesus, Fontainebleau news., composition and recording reviews, and other miscellaneous items. This series is located in boxes 4 and 5. (Note: Oversized documents in the Subject Files are located in box 6).

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Publicity -- Press Releases and Interviews, Undated series 4box 4folder 4
Robert Casadesus and Gaby Casadesus Publicity -- Together, Undated series 4box 4folder 5
Obituary Notices for Robert Casadesus, Undated series 4box 4folder 6
Fontainebleau News -- France, Undated series 4box 4folder 7
Fontainebleau News -- Great Barrington, Massachussetts, 1942-1945 series 4box 4folder 8
Compositions and Recording Reviews, Undated series 4box 4folder 9
Miscellaneous Articles, 1944-1983, and Undated series 4box 4folder 10
Other Miscellaneous Documents -- Itineraries/Competitions/Festivals, 1947-1955, and Undated series 4box 4folder 11
Dinner Invitation, Undated series 4box 5folder 1
Events -- Programs, Articles, Undated series 4box 5folder 2
IPAM Event -- Captions, Program, Undated series 4box 5folder 3
Scrapbooks, 1959-1967 series 4box 6folder 1
Casadesus Family Scrapbook, 1959-1967 series 4box 6folder 1item 1.0
Robert Casadesus Scrapbook, 1959-1967 series 4box 6folder 1item 2.0

Series 5: Scores of Compositions by Robert Casadesus, Undated (6.00 Linear Feet)

This series consists of musical compositions by Robert Casadesus. As the largest part of the Casadesus collection, these scores include manuscripts, black-line and blue-line prints from ozalids, original ozalid transparencies, and published editions. Many of the orchestral works include full sets of parts as well as orchestral scores. A number of scores contain corrections and rehearsal markings of considerable interest. These compositions are located in boxes 10-13.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Scores Not by Robert Casadesus -- Loose Folder, Undated series 5box 7folder 1
Scores Not by Robert Casadesus -- Contains 7 loose oversized scores., Undated series 5box 8folder 1
Gaby Casadesus and Robert Casadesus Performance Files, Undated series 5box 9folder 1
Piano Music, Undated series 5box 10folder 1
Transcriptions for piano four-hands, Undated series 5box 10folder 2
Chamber Music, Undated series 5box 11folder 1
Orchestral Works, Undated series 5box 12folder 1
Concerted Works, Undated series 5box 13folder 1

Series 6: Performance Files of Gaby Casadesus, 1941-1975, and Undated (null)

This series contains several programs, reviews, promotional materials and like documents that are related to specific performances of Gaby Casadesus. This series is located in box 5.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Gaby Casadesus Performance Files, 1941-1975, and Undated series 6box 5folder 4

Series 7: Correspondence of Gaby Casadesus, 1944-1985 (null)

This series is comprised of 2 items: 2 pieces of incoming correspondence from 1983 and 1985. This series is located in box 5.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
From Gaby Casadesus to Neil Ratliff, Undated series 7box 5folder 5
From Marta Pacsu to Gaby Casadesus, 1985 series 7box 5folder 6
From Margaret Singher to Gaby Casadesus (?), 1944 series 7box 5folder 7
From Margaret Singher (?) to Gaby Casadesus, 1983 series 7box 5folder 8

Series 8: Subject Files of Gaby Casadesus, 1938-1989, and Undated (null)

Here are found various materials and documents pertaining to the life of Gaby Casadesus, including biography and publicity information, a masterclass at Fontainebleau, articles from "Time Magazine" and "The Christian Science Monitor", and several copies of "Mes noces musicales". This series is located in box 5.(Note: Oversized Subject Files of G. Casadesus are located in boxes 4.5a and 6).

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Biography, Undated series 8box 5folder 9
Publicity, Undated series 8box 5folder 10
Masterclass -- Fontainebleau, Undated series 8box 5folder 11
"Mes noces musicales" -- Copy 1, Undated series 8box 5folder 12
"Mes noces musicales" -- Copy 2, Undated series 8box 5folder 13
"Mes noces musicales" -- Copy 3, Undated series 8box 5folder 14
Reviews from Holland, 1938 series 8box 5folder 15
Articles from "Time Magazine" and "The Christian Science Monitor", 1941, and Undated series 8box 5folder 16
Photographs -- Portraits and Publicity Photographs, Undated series 8box 5folder 17
Gaby Casadesus Books, 1989 series 8box 6folder 2
"Mes Noces Musicales", By Gaby Casadesus, 1989 series 8box 6folder 2item 1.0
"Mes Noces Musicales", By Gaby Casadesus, 1989 series 8box 6folder 2item 2.0

Series 9: Jean Casadesus, Undated (null)

This series contains several publicity materials,four concert reviews and one publicity photographs. It is located in box 5.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Publicity, Undated series 9box 5folder 18
Concert Review, 1950 series 9box 5folder 19
Concert Review, 1950 series 9box 5folder 20
Concert Review, 1955 series 9box 5folder 21
Concert Review, 1955 series 9box 5folder 22
Publicity Photos, Undated series 9box 5folder 23

Series 10: Supplement to the Robert Casadesus Collection, 1928-2002, and Undated (0.75 Linear Feet)

This series contains performance files, biographical files, photographs, recordings, and miscellaneous materials related to Robert and Jean Casadesus. Materials are in Box 14 and were received on February 19th, 2002. Materials are arranged chronologically by subject.

Subseries 10.1: Performance Files, 1935-1975, and Undated

This subseries contains performance files, reviews, recordings, publicity flyers, obituaries, and other biographical files related to Robert and Jean Casadesuss careers.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Robert Casadesus/Casadesus Family, 1955-1975, and Undatedseries 10.1box 14folder 1
Publicity Flyers -- Robert Casadesus, 1935-1941series 10.1box 14folder 2
Jean Casadesus -- Concert Files, 1944-1972series 10.1box 14folder 3
Jean Casadesus -- Selected Reviews -- Holland, Undatedseries 10.1box 14folder 4
Jean Casadesus -- Articles and reviews, Undatedseries 10.1box 14folder 5
Jean Casadesus -- Press Flyers, 1947-1963series 10.1box 14folder 6
Jean Casadesus -- Recordingsseries 10.1box 14folder 7
Jean Casadesus Biographical Files -- Press Book, Undatedseries 10.1box 14folder 8
Jean Casadesus Biographical Files -- Obituaries -- French, Undatedseries 10.1box 14folder 9
Jean Casadesus Biographical Files -- Obituaries -- English, 1992, and Undatedseries 10.1box 14folder 10
Jean Casadesus Biographical Files -- Obituaries -- Copies of French and English articles, Undatedseries 10.1box 14folder 11
Jean Casadesus Biographical Files -- Diplomas, Certificates, 1931-1947series 10.1box 15folder 1
Jean Casadesus -- Concert Files -- Paris (Salle Galeau), 1954series 10.1box 15folder 2

Subseries 10.2: Photographs, 1928-1970s

This subseries contains photographs of Jean Casadesus and of the Casadesus family.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Casadesus Family -- Robert, Gaby, Jean, 1928series 10.2box 14folder 12
Casadesus Family -- Robert, Gaby, Jean -- Performance, Publicity, 1940sseries 10.2box 14folder 13
Casadesus Family -- Robert, Gaby, Jean, Guy, Therese, Agnes, 1957series 10.2box 14folder 14
Casadesus Family -- Robert, Gaby, Jean, Eve -- With Eugene Ormandy, William Steinberg, T. Asahima, 1960sseries 10.2box 14folder 15
Casadesus Family -- Robert, Gaby, Jean -- Performance, Informal, 1970sseries 10.2box 14folder 16
Jean Casadesus -- With Tante Rosette, 1930sseries 10.2box 14folder 17
Jean Casadesus -- Publicity portraits, 1940sseries 10.2box 14folder 18
Jean Casadesus -- Publicity portraits, informal, 1950sseries 10.2box 14folder 19
Jean Casadesus -- Informal, publicity portraits, performance, 1960sseries 10.2box 14folder 20
Jean Casadesus -- Informal, 1970sseries 10.2box 14folder 21

Subseries 10.3: Recordings (Jean Casadesus), 1967, and Undated

This subseries contains CDs and video recordings of Jean Casadesuss performances. Materials in this subseries are arranged alphabetically by recording label.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Recordings, 1967, and Undatedseries 10.3box 15folder 3
Box of Recordings, Undatedseries 10.3box 15folder 3item 1.0
Saint-Saens: Concerto No.2 in G Minor, Undatedseries 10.3box 15folder 3item 2.0
The First Family of the Piano--Robert, Gaby, Jean Casadesus--Bell Telephone Hour, 1967series 10.3box 15folder 3item 3.0
Unidentified Video, Undatedseries 10.3box 15folder 3item 4.0

Subseries 10.4: Miscellaneous, 1970-2002

This subseries contains letters of condolence, brochures for the American Conservatory, and an invitation to a dedication of stained-glass windows. Materials are arranged chronologically by date.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Letters of Condolence -- To Robert and Gaby Casadesus, 1972series 10.4box 14folder 22
Brochures -- For the American Conservatory, Fontainebleau, 2002series 10.4box 14folder 23
Invitation -- Dedication of stain-glassed windows -- St. Severin Church, 1970series 10.4box 14folder 24

Related Material

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