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Music Archives at the National Library of Canada

MUS 164

thumbnail[75K] An early 1960s composition class at McGill University, Montréal.   Photo:  Jean Talon Photo.  From left to right:  Charles Palmer, Alan Heard, Gian Lyman, Gerrit Tetenburg, István, Pierre Perron, Alice Postner.

István Anhalt fonds.  - 1914-1997.  - 25.28 m of textual records.  - 1653 photographs.  - 117 slides.  - 44 negatives.  - 2 audio discs.  - 113 audio tape reels.  - 7 audio tape cassettes.  - 2 computer disks. 

Biographical sketch
Professor, conductor and pianist, István Anhalt is a leading avant-garde composer and one of the pioneers of electroacoustic music in Canada.  Born in Budapest, Hungary, Anhalt studied music in Paris for three years and then emigrated to Montréal, Quebec in 1949, where he joined the Faculty of Music at McGill University.  His special interest in electroacoustic music led him to establish McGill's Electronic Music Studio, which he directed from 1964 to 1971.  He then left McGill for Queen's University in Kingston, where he was named head of the Department of Music.  He retired in 1984 and still resides in Kingston.  His major works include:  Cento "Cantata urbana" for speakers and tape; Foci, a mixed media work (soprano, orchestra and tape in a specific visual environment); La Tourangelle, a musical drama for voice, orchestra and tape; and the opera Winthrop.  All testify to his keen interest in exploiting the possibilities of the human voice as an instrument. 

Scope and content
The fonds contains records pertaining to the life and musical activities of István Anhalt.  The many works of this artist also demonstrate the beginnings of electroacoustic music in Canada and the integration of audio tape reels in works performed with traditional instruments.  Researchers will find a substantial amount of correspondence between Anhalt and many of the greatest composers of our time, as well as theoretical writings on music as an art.  The fonds consists of:  biographical records; diplomas and school certificates; family correspondence and correspondence with predominant figures on the Canadian and foreign music scenes (such as R. Murray Schafer, John Weinzweig, George Rochberg, etc.); autograph manuscripts of musical works and drafts of works; typescript and research material pertaining to the book Alternative Voices; lectures; articles and other writings by Anhalt; memoirs; notes for courses given at Queen's and McGill universities; concert programmes and reviews; promotional material; press clippings; photographs of Anhalt, members of his family and musical personalities; posters; sound recordings of works by Anhalt (some 150 concerts), including master tapes of the first electroacoustic music compositions and interviews. 

Immediate source of acquisition:  acquired from István Anhalt, in several accessions, between 1985 and 1997. 

Restrictions:  the personal correspondence and financial records are under restriction.

Finding aids:  summary list of all records; inventory; provisional description. 

Accruals:  further accessions expected. 

Proactive Disclosure