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Ivan Wyschnegradsky Collection


Ivan Wyschnegradsky Collection
Wyschnegradsky, Ivan
Collection number:
3.75 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:

An experimental composer, Ivan Wyschnegradsky (1893-1979) wrote many pieces on quarter tones and other microtones. The collection consists of 3.75 Linear Feet of concert programs, correspondence, articles, journals, books, recordings, and scores related to Wyschnegradskys career, performances of his work after his death, and his relationships with his close friends and colleagues, including John Dierks, Mildred Couper, and his wife, Lucille Gayden.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


This collection is open for research use.

Preferred citation:

Ivan Wyschnegradsky Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Summary: Ivan Wyschnegradsky was born in 1893. He devoted most of his life to experimentation with quarter tones and other microtones, had a quarter tone piano built for his use in the 1930s, and later wrote for two to four pianos. Wyschnegradsky died in 1979.

Full History: Ivan Wyschnegradsky was born in 1893. He was a student of Nicholas Sokoloff at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Wyschnegradsky made his home in Paris from 1920 until his death in 1979. He devoted most of his life to experimentation with quarter tones and other microtones and had a quarter tone piano built for his use in the 1930s. Later, he wrote for two to four pianos tuned to give the microtonal effects he desired.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Ivan Wyschnegradsky Collection covers the period from 1937 to 1991; the bulk of the materials date from 1972 to 1979, and the collection is 3.75 Linear Feet. The collection consists of books, journals, articles, analytical materials, programs, correspondence, scores, and recordings related to Wyschnegradskys career, including his 24 Preludes, his 7 Variations, and his Integrations.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by John Diercks of the Diercks Duo, who performed Wyschnegradsky's works, on August 1st, 1991.

Processing Information

Processed by:

This collection was processed by John Church.

Encoded by:

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

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Written Materials, 1965-1991, and Undated (null)

This series comprises books, journals, articles, and analytical materials relating to Ivan Wyschnegradsky and microtonal composition. Materials are arranged by subject.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Gayden, Lucille -- Ivan Wyschnegradsky, 1973 series 1box 1folder 1
Association Ivan Wyschnegradsky -- Vol. I.I -- Paris, 1985 series 1box 1folder 2
Bulletins of the "Association Ivan Wyschnegradsky", 1983-1991 series 1box 1folder 3
La Revue Musicale 290-291, 1972 series 1box 1folder 4
Wyschnegradsky, Ivan -- Liste de Oeuvres, Undated series 1box 1folder 5
"Ivan Wyschnegradsky: 24 Preludes, Op.22" -- Review by John Diercks -- MLA Notes 35: 2, 1978 series 1box 1folder 6
Mather, Bruce -- Program notes, Undated series 1box 1folder 7
Analytical Materials -- 24 Preludes, Op.22 (as a set), Undated series 1box 1folder 8
Analytical Materials -- 24 Preludes, Op.22 (Individually), Undated series 1box 1folder 9
Analytical Materials -- Translations by Diercks of materials relating to Wyschnegradsky, Undated series 1box 1folder 10
Analytical Materials -- "Episodes in my Life" -- By Mildred Couper, Undated series 1box 1folder 11
Analytical Materials -- Szmolyan, Walter -- Josef Matthias Hauer. Wien, Verlag Elisabeth Lafite., 1965 series 1box 1folder 12

Series 2: Concert Programs of Microtonal Works, 1971-1991 (null)

This series contains concert programs of Wyschnegradskys microtonal works, including his quarter-tone music and his ensemble music. Materials are arranged chronologically by performance date.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
"A Recital of Twentieth Century Ensemble Music", Diercks Duo -- Louisville, 11th Annual Church Music Institute, 1971 series 2box 1folder 13
"Concert of Quarter-Tone Music", Diercks Duo -- Hollins College, Virginia, 1974 series 2box 1folder 14
San Diego, NASM Convention, 1975 series 2box 1folder 15
Concert Programs -- Boston, Jordan Hall; Richmond, Musician's Club, 1976 series 2box 1folder 16
Correspondence -- Relating to Richmond, Musician's Club Concert, 1976 series 2box 1folder 17
Paris, Radio France, 1977 series 2box 1folder 18
Paris, Radio France, 1978 series 2box 1folder 19
Paris, Centre Musical Erik Satie, 1990 series 2box 1folder 20
Concert Programs -- Paris and NYC, 1991 series 2box 1folder 21

Series 3: Correspondence, 1973-1980, and Undated (0.75 Linear Feet)

This series contains Wyschnegradskys correspondence with John Diercks and Dierckss correspondence with various people on Wyschnegradskys behalf, including C.F. Peters, MLA Notes, Mildred Cooper, and Alan Hovhaness. Within each part, the letters are arranged chronologically.

Subseries 3.1: Diercks and Wyschengradsky and related correspondence, 1973-1980, and Undated

This subseries contains correspondence between Diercks and Wyschnegradsky about Dierckss performances of Wyschnegradskys works, including correspondence about Wyschnegradskys scores, Dierckss concert programs, and Dierckss recordings of Wyschnegradskys works.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Diercks's Card File, Undatedseries 3.1box 2folder 1
Diercks -- La Revue Musicale, 1973series 3.1box 2folder 2
Diercks and Wyschnegradsky, 4/1973series 3.1box 2folder 3
Diercks and Kenneth Abell, 1973series 3.1box 2folder 4
Diercks and Wyschnegradsky -- June-December -- Three Folders, 6-12/1973series 3.1box 2folder 5
"Happy New Year", 1974series 3.1box 2folder 6
Diercks and Wyschnegradsky -- Seventeen Folders, 1974series 3.1box 2folder 7
Diercks and Wyschnegradsky -- Nine Folders, 1975series 3.1box 2folder 8
Diercks and Wyschnegradsky -- Two Folders, 3/1976series 3.1box 2folder 9
Diercks and Wyschnegradsky -- Three Folders, 1977series 3.1box 2folder 10
Diercks and Wyschnegradsky -- Four Folders, 1978series 3.1box 2folder 11
Diercks and Wyschnegradsky, 7/02/1979series 3.1box 2folder 12
Diercks and McGill U. Records, 1979series 3.1box 2folder 13
Diercks and Wyschnegradsky, 7/22/1979series 3.1box 2folder 14
Wyschnegradsky and McGill U. Records, 8/29/1979series 3.1box 2folder 15
Diercks and Vicheney -- Wyschnegradsky's Death, 1979series 3.1box 2folder 16
Diercks and Vicheney -- Dierks's expressions of regret, 1980series 3.1box 2folder 17

Subseries 3.2: Diercks and C.F. Peters, 1977-1979

This subseries contains 15 letters concerning Dierckss purchase of Wyschnegradskys published Preludes, Op.22 and Dierckss review of the preludes in MLA Notes.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Dierks and C.F. Peters, 1977-1979series 3.2box 2folder 18

Subseries 3.3: Diercks and MLA Notes and its representatives, 1977-1978

This subseries contains 7 letters concerning the preparation of Dierckss review of Wyschnegradskys Preludes, Op. 22.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Dierks and Burge(MLA Notes), 1977-1978series 3.3box 2folder 19

Subseries 3.4: Diercks and Mildred Couper, 1973-1974

This subseries contains four brief letters between Diercks and Mildred Couper.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Dierks and Mildred Couper, 1973-1974series 3.4box 2folder 20

Subseries 3.5: Diercks and Alan Hovhaness, 1973-1974

This subseries contains 7 brief letters in which Diercks and Hovhaness discuss quarter-tone music, including a piece Hovhaness wrote for Diercks during this time.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Dierks and Alan Hovhaness, 1973-1974series 3.5box 2folder 21

Series 4: Scores, 1937-1977, and Undated (2.00 Linear Feet)

This series contains scores of works by Wyschnegradsky (beginning with 101), Mildred Couper (beginning with 201), and Alan Hovhaness (301). Materials are organized by composer.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
24 Preludes in the quarter-tone system for 2 pianos, Op.22 -- Vol. I and II, 1977 series 4box 3folder 1
24 Preludes, Op.22 -- Publisher's proofs sent to Dierks by C.F. Peters, 1977 series 4box 3folder 2
24 Preludes, Op.22 -- Photocopies sent byWyschengradsky to Dierks, 1973 series 4box 3folder 3
24 Preludes, Op.22 -- Complete sets of the 24 preludes compiled by IPAM, Undated series 4box 3folder 4
Preludes, Op,22: #1,#2, Undated series 4box 4folder 1
Preludes, Op.22: #3, Undated series 4box 4folder 2
Preludes, Op.22: #4, Undated series 4box 4folder 3
Preludes, Op.22: #11, Undated series 4box 4folder 4
Preludes, Op.22: #12, Undated series 4box 4folder 5
Preludes, Op.22: #13, Undated series 4box 4folder 6
Preludes, Op.22: #14, Undated series 4box 4folder 7
Preludes, Op.22: #15, Undated series 4box 4folder 8
Preludes, Op.22: #16, Undated series 4box 4folder 9
Extras -- Stray photocopy pages of incomplete preludes, Undated series 4box 4folder 10
Integrations -- 2 pieces en quarts de ton pour deux pianos, Undated series 4box 5folder 1
Integrations -- 2 pieces en quarts de ton pour deux pianos -- 3 Reduced sets of photocopies, Undated series 4box 5folder 2
7 Variations sur la note 'Do' en quarts de ton pour deux pianos accouples, Op.10, 1974 series 4box 5folder 3
Etude sur le "carre magique sonore" pour piano, Op 40, Undated series 4box 5folder 4
Couper -- "Dirge" for two pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart, 1937 series 4box 5folder 5
Couper -- "We are Seven" and "Seven More", 1942 series 4box 5folder 6
Couper -- Variations of "The Irish Washerwoman Song" for piano, Undated series 4box 5folder 7
Hovhaness -- "O Lord, Bless Thy Mountains" -- Suite for two pianos tuned in quarter-tones, 1974 series 4box 5folder 8

Series 5: Audio Materials, 1972-1973, and Undated (null)

This series contains reel tapes and cassette tapes of microtonal music, an interview with Mildred Couper, and a radio program devoted to Wyschnegradsky.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Audio Materials -- Four Recordings, 1972-1973, and Undated series 5box 5folder 9
"Ode to Gravity" (two 3 3/4 ips reel tapes), 1972 series 5box 5folder 9item 1.0
Interview with Mildred Couper (one cassette tape), 1973 series 5box 5folder 9item 2.0
Scalatron tape of microtonal music (one 5 in. reel tape), Undated series 5box 5folder 9item 3.0

Related Material

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