The Historical Music Recordings Collection (HMRC) is an archive of audio recordings in all formats and serves not only the School of Music and other academic departments at The University of Texas but also the broader public in the state of Texas and beyond. Holding approximately 200,000 items, the HMRC is one of the largest such archives in the U.S.A.
Austin Symphony Orchestra
Perfomances from the 1940s to the present. With its earliest recording dating from the mid-1940s, the Austin Symphony Orchestra collection now contains approximately 700 tapes and discs. Performances have included a wide range of internationally-known artists. An in-house database indexes most of the recordings.
Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York Interviews with Yayoi Kusama and other artists. Thanks to the foresight of former UT student Reiko Tomii, when the Center for International Contemporary Arts closed in 1992, the numerous recorded interviews with and discussions of the work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama were saved and deposited with the HMRC. Bibliographical information can be found in the Library Catalog.
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Performances chiefly from 1974 to the present. The initial transfer of the broadcast archive of the Houston Symphony Orchestra took place in 1984 thanks to then Artistic Administrator Stephen Aechternacht. Since then, additional deposits and recordings from other sources have been added, for a total of about 1500 concerts. These include transcription discs of the radio series begun in 1945 and sponsored by Texas Gulf Sulphur. It was on one of these broadcasts that Van Cliburn made his debut at age 12. Philip Moores, a Stokowski collector and head of Dellarte Records, has provided a few of the recordings from the Leopold Stokowski era. Recordings made for soloists who appeared with the Orchestra, such as Drusilla Huffmaster, a Texas pianist, and for composers whose work was featured, such as Alan Hovhaness, have also been added. The Center for American History has transferred some recordings previously in its collection. An annotated chronological list is available.
Longhorn Broadcasting Network
Public radio series broadcast and distributed by KUT. In addition to being a radio station, KUT was for many years the hub of the Longhorn Broadcasting Network. As a result the station received tapes of numerous series from producers in the U.S.A. and abroad, including music, interviews with artists writers, and musicians, and comedy.
There are series on individual composers, such as Ross Lee Finney, Clifton Williams and Don Gillis, Ernst Bloch; on jazz (prepared by Nat Hentoff); on the Beatles; on Serge Koussevitzky, the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1924-49; on French music; on Arturo Toscanini. Series titles include: The Art of Glenn Gould, The Contemporary Piano Sonata, This is Ragtime, The Record Hunter, Parade of American Music, and The Nielsen Centennial.
Interview programs, locally produced, include Wendy Wasserstein (playwright), Paula Robison (flautist), Ned Rorem (composer), Uta Hagen (actress), Ruth Warrick (actress), and Elmar Oliveira (violinist).
Comedy programs include a complete series of The Goon Show produced by the BBC, which starred Peter Sellers.
University of Texas at Austin, School of Music Broadcasts
Faculty and visiting performer recitals and UT ensemble performances, chiefly from 1960-80. For many years KUT broadcast a show called UT Music and Musicians, featuring UT faculty, students, and guest artists such as Percy Grainger. There are also tapes of the E. William Doty lecture series, which include presentations by Michael Tippett and Charles Seeger. In addition, the HMRC houses many of the source tapes from which the broadcasts were created. There are about 2000 items. A list of the contents of most of the tapes is available.
Adams - Opera Broadcasts
Focused on the classical vocal and operatic literature, the collection of Dr. Adams, contains an almost complete run of the private label recordings produced by Edward J. Smith, including "The Golden Age of Opera" series. Another collecting goal of Dr. Adams was to acquire every broadcast performance of the Metropolitan Opera. Dr. Adams also made numerous in-house recordings and thus the collection contains many unique items, especially of vocal recitals by the most significant twentieth-century singers. The New Orleans Opera area is strong and some of the material has been released on the Video Arts International label. A card index provides limited bibliographical access.
Mary Henrietta Chase - Bing Crosby
Mary Chase was a fan of Bing Crosby and collected almost every commercial recording issued. She also made 200 recordings from broadcasts from December 1948 to October 1956, though as these are on consumer-grade acetate discs their condition is poor. A typed list gives details of the contents of the off-air discs.
Clifford Farmer - Opera and musical comedy
Donated in 1983 by Fort Worth resident Clifford Farmer, this collection of opera and musical theater recordings contains both commercial and non-commercial recordings. Highlights of the collection include unique tapes of Texas opera performances and of concerts given by the Dallas and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras. The printed program for each performance is held as well as photocopies of cast listings. A card index provides limited bibliographical access.
Irving Feld - Radio dramas
Irving Feld was a producer of radio dramas that were broadcast nation-wide. The series include: The Black Museum, The Detectives, NBC University Theater, Theatre Royal, Suspense, The Queen's Men, The Lives of Harry Lime, Inner Sanctum, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Featured actors include many of the great dramatic personalities of the twentieth century including: Boris Karloff, Angela Lansbury, Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Dinah Shore, Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Robert Morley and Michael Redgrave. Typed lists provide access to the 1,700 tapes.
Joseph Prager - Recordings of Jewish cantors
Donated by Joseph Prager in 1995, this collection of 408 recordings features recordings of Jewish cantors.
Richards - Piano rolls
Mr. Richards donated 349 piano rolls that carry repertory from both classical and popular genres.
Louis Harrison and Ronald A Seeliger Collection - Video discs, recording company catalogs
Walter Ducloux Collection - Opera productions at the University of Southern California and The University of Texas
Donation is the life-blood of the HMRC. We actively seek new material and work with donors to ensure that the Collection's margin of excellence is enhanced. We review all offers of gifts, and are particularly interested in saving unique sound recordings, notably in the areas of ethnomusicology, speeches, and readings, as well as in more conventional areas of music and radio. The presence of the Center for American Music in the School of Music naturally provides us with a strong interest in American music (with an emphasis on Texas and neighboring states, and on the output of small recording companies).
Since the collection holds the majority of the regular commercial recordings issued in the U.S.A. from 1900 to 1960, and our resources of space and staff are limited, we cannot accept everything we are offered. Factors that bear on selection decisions include the condition of the material and whether it will build on existing strengths or plug gaps. Offers from individuals, institutions, and businesses are considered. Continuing commitments are entered into only in special circumstances.
Surplus material (chiefly duplicate copies of commercial recordings) is disposed of by sealed bid offers, and by inclusion in occasional library book sales.
List Under Construction
The Historical Music Recordings Collection welcomes enquiries from researchers. Given the fragility of the various media, their storage in a distant location, the requirement of playback on special equipment, and the lack of bibliographical control, researchers should contact the Curator or the Audio Technician in order to ascertain holdings and availability. Access may be restricted due to donor request, or due to the necessities of preservation and processing, or for other reasons.
In order to provide a balance between the needs of researchers, and the rights of copyright holders (composers, authors, performers, their heirs and executors) and of the Historical Music Recordings Collection as owner of the physical property, use of the materials is controlled. The creators, performers, heirs, or executors retain copyright unless those rights have been legally conveyed to the Archive or are in the public domain. The rights of physical ownership belong to The University of Texas at Austin on behalf of the Historical Music Recordings Collection, the University of Texas Libraries.
Almost all the items in the Historical Music Recordings Collection were issued in formats that are no longer widely supported by the audio industry. Therefore, the sound that the items preserve must be transferred to another medium to make it useful. We offer a full range of re-recording services designed to support research and scholarship, preservation re-formatting, and (copyright permitting) commercial re-use. We charge modest fees for the service. Contact Sarah Cunningham via email or phone.
Copying is undertaken in compliance with applicable copyright law and University policy, and patrons must agree in writing to the conditions under which copies are made. Unless specified otherwise, copies are provided solely for private study, scholarship, or research, under the “fair-use” provisions. Patrons indemnify The University against any claims or suits that might arise from misuse of the copies or unauthorized supply of further copies.
The Historical Music Recordings Collection will not copy material that is currently available commercially or that can be obtained fairly readily from out-of-print record dealers. Copying of recordings in a patron's private collection is not normally undertaken.
Evidence of written permission from copyright holders is required before any copying is undertaken for commercial purposes.
When citing materials kept and/or furnished by the Historical Music Recordings Collection, please use this form:
[collection name, if applicable], The Historical Music Recordings Collection, the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.
The Collection requests that a gratis copy of any publication (in whatever medium) that derives from its materials be given to the Collection.
The re-recording studio uses Sound Forge audio processing software running on a Dell Dimension 8300, and is equipped with a Mackie mixer, Otari reel-to-reel tape recorders, Technics CD player, Marantz CD player, Tascam DAT recorder, Tascam cassette players, Genelec speakers, Technics turntable, a Keith Monks record cleaning machine, a dehydrator and other technological wonders.
Archival audio materials often are not fully represented in library catalogs, and the HMRC holdings are typical in this regard. The Collection's LPs, CDs, and videodiscs can be found in the Library Catalog. For the remaining 40% of the HMRC we must use other methods of bibliographical control.
For the 78s (both single discs and sets) we rely on shelf order and the Rigler and Deutsch Record Index. The Index was created by five of the largest U.S. recorded-sound collections in the late 1970s and early 80s and lists over 600,000 recordings. Available on microfiche and via the bibliographic database OCLC Worldcat, the Index allows one to search for authors/composers, titles, performers and labels (manufacturer names) and ties that information to issue and matrix numbers. Once the issue number has been identified, HMRC staff can check the shelves for a particular item, as the 78s are arranged by label name and issue number.
For discrete collections, we provide bibliographical access via web-accessible databases. In 2004 we began an ambitious project to convert existing paper files. Click on the links below to go to the finding aids for particular collections.
Download a free pdf reader.
David Hunter, Ph.D., Curator
Works with donors, gives public presentations, manages the collection, and supervises staff.
DFA 3.200 (512) 495-4475
Processes incoming and existing materials and creates finding aids
CDL 100 (512) 495-4694
We attempt to answer queries and requests upon receipt but present levels of funding permit only part-time staffing.
Logo Designer: Holly Fisher, formerly with Fine Arts Library