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Music Archives at the National Library of Canada

MUS 242

Ethel Stark fonds.  - 1924-1993.  - 1.71 m of textual records.  - 162 photographs.  - 25 audio tape reels.  - 4 audio discs.  - 3 drawings. 

Biographical sketch
Montreal-born violinist, conductor and teacher Ethel Stark studied violin with Alfred De Sève and Saul Brant at the McGill Conservatorium.  From 1928 to 1934, she continued her training at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, studying violin with Lea Luboshutz, chamber music with Louis Bailly and conducting with Artur Rodzinski and Fritz Reiner.  As a violinist, she performed with numerous ensembles, notably the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation French network Orchestra in Montreal.  Composer Violet Archer wrote Fantasy for Violin and Piano for Stark, who performed it on the CBC French network in 1946.  In 1940, she founded the Montreal Women's Symphony Orchestra, which she conducted until 1960.  She also founded and conducted the New York Women's Chamber Orchestra, the Ethel Stark Symphonietta and the Montreal Women's Symphony Orchestra Strings.  In addition, she taught at the Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.), the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal and Concordia University. 

Scope and content
The fonds contains records pertaining to Ethel Stark's career as a violinist and conductor and records illustrating the activities of the Montreal Women's Symphony Orchestra, the first Canadian orchestra made up exclusively of women, and one of few in the world.  The fonds consists primarily of annotated published scores of music for violin and for orchestra; it also contains biographical material; diplomas; certificates and other honours; professional correspondence with, among others, Ernest Bloch, Wilfrid Pelletier and Thomas Archer; lectures; administrative records of the Montreal Women's Symphony Orchestra including the registration certificate and Ethel Stark's employment contract; caricatures of Stark by Lou Seligson and Harry Pollack; a portrait of Ethel Stark by I.A. Schlaer; scrapbooks of press clippings and concert programmes; photographs of Stark and the orchestras she conducted; and sound recordings of her violin and conducting performances. 

Immediate source of acquisition:  acquired from Ethel Stark in 1993 and 1995. 

Restrictions:  none. 

Finding aids:  provisional description. 

Proactive Disclosure