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Theodore Lettvin Collection


Theodore Lettvin Collection
Lettvin, Theodore
Collection number:
7.75 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
International Piano Archives at Maryland
International Piano Archives at Maryland, University of Maryland Libraries, College Park, MD 20742, Tel: 301.405.9224, Email:

A performer and music teacher, Theodore Lettvin (1926-2003) performed in many concerts, including orchestra concerts, solo recitals, and accompanist performances at the National Gallery of Art, the New York Town Hall, the Phillips Gallery, and various concerts in Germany. Lettvin also was the head of the music department at Cleveland School of Music Settlement, as well as a professor of piano at University of Michigan, New England Conservatory of Music, and Rutgers. In addition, Lettvin wrote general essays on music technique and articles for pianists concerning music performance careers. This collection contains concert programs, reviews, awards, articles, interviews, photographs, correspondence, recordings, advertisements, biographical sketches, itineraries, and directories related to Lettvins career, his involvement with various organizations, including Palm Beach Public, and his relationships with various friends and colleagues, including Robert Shaw, his wife, Joan Lettvin, and Ben Javits.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


There are no restricted files in this collection.

Preferred citation:

Theodore Lettvin Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Summary: Theodore Lettvin was born in Chicago on October 29, 1926. He made his debut as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1939) and performed regularly with major U.S. orchestras afterwards. Lettvin also held numerous positions as a teacher including visiting lecturer at the University of Colorado (1956-1957), head of the piano department at the Cleveland Music School Settlement (1956-1968), professor of piano at the New England Conservatory of Music (1968-1977), the University of Michigan (1977-1987), and Rutgers (from 1987). Theodore Lettvin died on August 24, 2003.

Full History: Theodore Lettvin was born in Chicago on October 29, 1926. From 1930 to 1935 he studied piano with Howard Wells in Chicago, and he continued his studies with Leon Rosenbloom from 1935 to 1941. Lettvin made his debut as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on March 15, 1939. At the age of fifteen, the young pianist won a scholarship to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where for the next seven years he studied with Rudolf Serkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski. His career was briefly interrupted for service with the United States Navy in 1945. After resuming his career, Lettvin was the recipient of several prizes including the Naumberg Award in 1948, and the Michaels Award in 1950. While touring Europe and North Africa in 1952, he was called to Brussels to take part in the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Competition.

Lettvin performed at London's Wigmore Hall, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and New York's Town Hall. He also appeared regularly with the major orchestras of the United States. Among them are the New York Philharmonic and the orchestras of Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Baltimore, Omaha, Seattle, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Atlanta. He appeared at the inauguration of the New York Philharmonic Promenades in the summer of 1964 with Andre Kostelanetz, who invited him to return the following season. He also appeared with the New York Philharmonic under William Steinberg, playing the American premiere of the Bartok Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra. On television he has been seen on The Voice of Firestone, the Chicago Theatre of the Air, with the Boston Symphony, and on educational TV. His recordings have been issued on the HMV and Columbia labels.

Lettvin held numerous positions as a teacher including visiting lecturer at the University of Colorado (1956-1957), head of the piano department at the Cleveland Music School Settlement (1956-1968), professor of piano at the New England Conservatory of Music (1968-1977), the University of Michigan (1977-1987), and Rutgers (from 1987). Lettvin's teaching activities included summer festivals at Marlboro, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Saratoga, and Salzburg. Theodore Lettvin died on August 24, 2003.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Theodore Lettvin Collection covers the period from 1934 to 2003; the bulk of the materials date from 1952 to 1979. The collection consists of concert programs, reviews, articles, interviews, biographical sketches, awards, correspondence, private recordings, photographs, essays, advertisements, itineraries, and directories related to Lettvins work as a performer and music educator, including his work at the Cleveland Music School Settlement and the University of Michigan, and with various orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information


Processing Information

Processed by:

This collection was processed by Max Brown.

Encoded by:

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

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Subject Files, 1942-2003, and Undated (0.75 Linear Feet)

This series contains biographical materials, publicity flyers, articles and interviews about Lettvin, awards and competitions he has won, and materials related to his teaching activities. Materials are arranged chronologically by subject.

Subseries 1.1: Biographical, 1953-2003, and Undated

This subseries contains a press book, biographical sketches, and obituaries.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Biographical/Press Book, 1953-2003, and Undatedseries 1.1box 1folder 1

Subseries 1.2: Publicity Flyers, Selected Reviews, 1948-1974

This subseries contains publicity flyers and selected reviews.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Publicity Flyers, 1950-1974, and Undatedseries 1.2box 1folder 2
Reviews -- Collected/Selected, 1948-1970series 1.2box 1folder 3

Subseries 1.3: Articles and Interviews, 1953-2000

This subseries contains articles about Lettvin and interviews with several companies and journals, including Clavier and The American Music Teacher.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Articles, 1953-2000series 1.3box 1folder 4
Interviews, 1962-Post-1983series 1.3box 1folder 5

Subseries 1.4: Awards and Competitions, 1942-1994

This subseries contains materials related to the various music awards and scholarships, leadership awards, and piano competitions that Lettvin has won.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Competitions/Awards -- Miscellaneous, 1942-1994series 1.4box 1folder 6
Walter M. Naumburg Musical Foundation, 1948series 1.4box 1folder 7
Competitions -- Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, 1952series 1.4box 1folder 8
Ravinia -- Michaels Memorial Music Award, 1950series 1.4box 1folder 9

Subseries 1.5: Teaching Activities, 1953-1987, and Undated

This subseries includes materials related to Lettvins teaching activities at Cleveland Music School, at University of Michigan, and at various festivals and masterclasses.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Cleveland Music School Settlement, 1957-1968, and Undatedseries 1.5box 1folder 10
University of Michigan, 1977-1987, and Undatedseries 1.5box 1folder 11
Festivals, Masterclasses, etc., 1953-1979, and Undatedseries 1.5box 1folder 12

Series 2: Performance Files, 1937-1998, and Undated (3.75 Linear Feet)

This series contains concert programs and reviews of Lettvins orchestra concerts, solo recitals, chamber music concerts, and piano accompanist performances. Materials are arranged chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Performances, 1937-1939 series 2box 2folder 1
Performances, 1940-1943 series 2box 2folder 2
Performances, 1944-1945 series 2box 2folder 3
Performances, 1948 series 2box 2folder 4
Performances, 1949 series 2box 2folder 5
Performances, 1950 series 2box 2folder 6
Performances, 1951 series 2box 2folder 7
Performances, 1952 series 2box 2folder 8
Performances, 1953 series 2box 2folder 9
Performances, 1954 series 2box 2folder 10
Performances, 1955 series 2box 2folder 11
Performances, 1956 series 2box 3folder 1
Performances, 1957 series 2box 3folder 2
Performances, 1958 series 2box 3folder 3
Performances, 1959 series 2box 3folder 4
Performances, 1960 series 2box 3folder 5
Performances, 1961 series 2box 3folder 6
Performances, 1962 series 2box 4folder 1
Performances, 1963 series 2box 4folder 2
Performances, 1964 series 2box 4folder 3
Performances, 1965 series 2box 4folder 4
Performances, 1966 series 2box 5folder 1
Performances, 1967 series 2box 5folder 2
Performances, 1968 series 2box 5folder 3
Performances, 1969 series 2box 5folder 4
Performances, 1970 series 2box 5folder 5
Performances, 1971 series 2box 5folder 6
Performances, 1972 series 2box 5folder 7
Performances, 1973 series 2box 6folder 1
Performances, 1974 series 2box 6folder 2
Performances, 1975 series 2box 6folder 3
Performances, 1976 series 2box 6folder 4
Performances, 1977 series 2box 6folder 5
Performances, 1978 series 2box 6folder 6
Performances, 1979 series 2box 6folder 7
Performances, 1980 series 2box 6folder 8
Performances, 1981 series 2box 6folder 9
Performances, 1982 series 2box 6folder 10
Performances, 1983-1998 series 2box 6folder 11

Series 3: Correspondence, 1941-2003, and Undated (1.50 Linear Feet)

This series includes correspondence to, from, and about Lettvin, with various orchestras, universities, music festivals, colleagues, and other music and arts organizations. Materials are arranged alphabetically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Correspondence -- A-Cla, 1945-1979 series 3box 7folder 1
Cleveland Council on World Affairs Resumes, Undated series 3box 7folder 2
Cleveland Correspondence -- Other, 1958-1969 series 3box 7folder 3
Columbia Artists Management, 1960-1962 series 3box 7folder 4
Columbia Artists Management, 1963-1967 series 3box 7folder 5
Curtis Institute of Music, 1944-1945, and Undated series 3box 7folder 6
Correspondence -- Co-D, 1962-1980 series 3box 7folder 7
Correspondence -- E-H, 1943-1979 series 3box 7folder 8
Correspondence -- I-M, 1952-2003, and Undated series 3box 7folder 9
Correspondence -- N-P, 1952-1980, and Undated series 3box 8folder 1
Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, 1952-1959 series 3box 8folder 2
Quincy Society of Fine Arts/Ravinia Festival -- Ralph Michaels Music Award, 1960-1969 series 3box 8folder 3
Correspondence -- R-Sha, 1944-1975, and Undated series 3box 8folder 4
Robert Shaw, 1957-1959 series 3box 8folder 5
Robert Shaw, 1957-1969 series 3box 8folder 6
Correspondence -- She-Su, 1963-1976, and Undated series 3box 8folder 7
University of Texas at Austin, 1964-1967, and Undated series 3box 8folder 8
U.S. Naval Service, 1945, and Undated series 3box 8folder 9
Correspondence -- U-V, 1956-1983 series 3box 8folder 10
Correspondence -- W, 1941-1968 series 3box 8folder 11
Correspondence -- Y-Z, 1959-1968 series 3box 8folder 12
Correspondence -- Miscellaneous/Unidentified, 1948-1980, and Undated series 3box 8folder 13
Correspondence -- Miscellaneous/Unidentified -- Germany, 1972-1977, and Undated series 3box 8folder 14

Series 4: Writings, 1960-1986, and Undated (null)

This series contains autobiographical writings about Lettvins teaching activities, music essays, program notes, writings about music performance careers, and other miscellaneous writings. Materials are arranged by subject.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Autobiographical -- Concerning Lettvins Teaching Activities, 1967-1986, and Undated series 4box 9folder 1
General Music Essays/Program Notes, Undated series 4box 9folder 2
Performance/Music as a Career, 1960, and Undated series 4box 9folder 3
Miscellaneous, Incomplete, 1967-1968, and Undated series 4box 9folder 4

Series 5: Photographs, 1940s-1988, and Undated (null)

This series contains head photographs of Lettvin, photographs of Lettvin at the piano, and photographs of Levin with friends, family, and colleagues. Photographs are arranged by size and subject.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Solo Photographs -- Large, 1940s-Late 1980s, and Undated series 5box 9folder 5
Solo Photographs -- Small, Undated series 5box 9folder 6
Photographs -- With Others, 1971-1988, and Undated series 5box 9folder 7

Series 6: Miscellaneous, 1934-1994, and Undated (null)

This series contains undated concert programs and reviews, Baldwin piano advertisements, concert management materials, itineraries, directories, and other miscellaneous materials. Materials are arranged by subject.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Performances -- Unidentified Date, 1953-1967 series 6box 9folder 8
Performances -- Unidentified Date, 1967-1971 series 6box 9folder 9
Performances -- Unidentified Date, 1973-1984 series 6box 9folder 10
Concert Programs -- Unidentified Date, Undated series 6box 9folder 11
Concert Reviews -- Unidentified Date, Circa 1949-1978 series 6box 9folder 12
Baldwin Piano Advertisements, 1953-1962, and Undated series 6box 10folder 1
Concert Management, 1973-1982, and Undated series 6box 10folder 2
Business/Financial, 1939-1964, and Undated series 6box 10folder 3
Itineraries, 1952-1994, and Undated series 6box 10folder 4
Directories, 1975-1979 series 6box 10folder 5
Miscellaneous Materials -- Other, 1957-1972,and Undated series 6box 10folder 6
Concert Programs -- Not Lettvin, 1934-1978, and Undated series 6box 10folder 7
Miscellaneous -- Unrelated to Lettvin, 1957-1973, and Undated series 6box 10folder 8

Series 7: Private Recordings, 1990-1991, and Undated (0.75 Linear Feet)

This series contains recordings of Lettvins performances and seminars. Materials are arranged chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Tapes of Music Seminars, 1990-2/1991 series 7box 12folder 1
Tapes of Music Seminars -- Douglas Campus -- February-March, 1991 series 7box 13folder 1
DMA Student Lectures, 1991 series 7box 14folder 1
DMA Student Lectures, 1991 series 7box 15folder 1
Carnival of Marriage and Nutcracker Suite, Undated series 7box 16folder 1
Kostelanetz, A. (n.d.) World premiere: "Carnival of Marriage" and "Nutcracker Suite". Publisher: Columbia Stereo., Undated series 7box 16folder 1item 1.0

Series 8: Oversize Materials, 1939-1966, and Undated (null)

This series includes oversized scores, books, and awards related to Lettvin. Materials are arranged by subject.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Scores, Undated series 8box 11folder 1
Newspaper Articles -- Oversized, 1951-1952 series 8box 11folder 2
Flyers -- Oversized, 1939-1945, and Undated series 8box 11folder 3
Concert: Outstanding Young Artists: Daniel Majeske and Theodore Lettvin, 5/13/1950 series 8box 11folder 4
Les Jeunesses Musicales de France vous presentment: Le Poeme Instrumental avec le encours de Theodore Lettvin, Pianiste, 3/8/1952 series 8box 11folder 5
Books and Records -- Oversized, 1966-1972 series 8box 11folder 6
Community Leader of America Award: Theodore Lettvin, 1972 series 8box 11folder 6item 1.0
Records of the Academy (1966). American Academy of Arts and Sciences records. Unpublished Book., 1966 series 8box 11folder 6item 2.0

Related Material

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