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November 25, 2015
8:30am - 4:30pm

Minnesota Orchestra Archives Collection Summary

This summary describes the series and major sub-series within the collection. Dates represent the inclusive dates of materials in each group. Linked from this page are complete finding aids for most series. [Finding aids are descriptive guides or inventories that have been created by the archivist to provide information about the contents of the collections.] They are encoded in XML and can only be viewed through Internet Explorer 6.0, Netscape 7.0, or Mozilla.

Complete finding aids for these collections are available in printed form in the archives. Please contact the Performing Arts Archives (612-625-3550) with questions or for additional information. Click here to go back to the Minnesota Orchestra Association Archives home page.

Overview of Collection

Series 1: Board of Directors
Series 2: President
Series 3: Music Director
Series 4: General Manager
Series 5: Departments
Series 6: Events & Special Projects
Series 7: Buildings & related materials
Series 8: Related organizations
Series 9: Scrapbooks & clippings
Series 10: Publications
Series 11: Photographs, Slides, Negatives
Series 12: Recordings
Series 13: Posters & Realia
Series 14: Historical Materials

Series 1: Board of Directors

Finding aid for Series 1.1 - 1.5

  • 1.1 Annual Reports, 1945-present
  • 1.2 Annual Meetings, 1961-present
  • 1.3 Board and Executive Committees, 1952-98
  • 1.4 Board Committees, 1958-2001
  • 1.5 Conductor Searches [RESTRICTED]

Series 1.1 Annual Reports vary in size and complexity. Early Reports contain brief financial information and list officers and directors of the Board. More recent Reports contain descriptions of Orchestra activities, detailed financial information, lists of Board and staff, and lists of major financial sponsors. From the mid-1970s a copy of the annual report appeared in the January issue of Showcase. The set is not complete.

Series 1.2 Files contain materials from Annual Meetings and may include minutes, reports of related groups such as WAMSO and YPSCA, reports from the President, and financial reports and related correspondence.

Series 1.3 Contains minutes from Board and Executive Committee meetings, correspondence from Association presidents, and lists of Board and committee members.

Series 1.4 Contains minutes (incomplete) from meetings of various Board Committees, lists of committee members, and related correspondence.

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Series 2: President

Donald L. Engle was the first paid president of the Association. Previously the Minnesota Orchestral Association was managed by an elected President and the General Manager. The majority of the collection consists of copies of correspondence from Engle, including both administrative and artistic correspondence, much of which focuses on fund raising and development activities.

The Richard M. Cisek series includes materials from his tenure as general manager and as president. The collection consists of office correspondence (notably with Stanislaw Skrowaczewski), personnel files, and subject files that reflect his involvement with all areas of Orchestra operations notably artistic planning and recording and airing of Orchestra recordings.

The David Hyslop collection contains office records from the tenures of Presidents Richard Cisek, Deborah Borda, Tom McBurney, and Hyslop due to the ongoing and overlapping nature of the work of the President. They document the extensive range of activities and responsibilities of the Orchestra President. S/he is involved with all activities relating to the Board of Directors, initial planning for tours and major events, long-range and financial planning, development activities, community relationships, and interactions with the Music Director, musicians, and Orchestra staff.

The Tony Woodcock collection contains office records from the tenure of President Tony Woodcock. They document the extensive range of activities and responsibilities of the Orchestra President. S/he is involved with all activities relating to the Board of Directors, initial planning for tours and major events, long-range and financial planning, development activities, community relationships, and interactions with the Music Director, musicians, and Orchestra staff.

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Series 3: Music Director

[Series overview]

Series 3.1 contains correspondence to and from Stanislaw Skrowaczewski regarding his role as music director and his professional activities around the world. Files may have been kept in the office of Orchestra president, Donald Engle.

Series 3.2 contains office files from the period of Neville Marriner's directorship. Includes correspondence relating to Minnesota Orchestra matters and to his other professional activities. Also included is correspondence of Molly Marriner and some personal correspondence.

Series 3.3 contains correspondence, calendars, and office files of Edo de Waart and his assistant, Polly Barten and documents de Waart's activities with the Minnesota Orchestra including cover conductors and composers.

Series 3.4 contains a small amount of correspondence and information about tours during the tenure of Eiji Oue. The majority of the collection consists of cumulative files kept by Oue's assistant, Michael Pelton, that are chronological files of correspondence from Oue and Pelton.

Series 3.5 contains office files from Osmo Vanska's tenure as director. The files mainly consist of correspondence, press clippings, schedules, and touring information.

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Series 4: General Manager

[Series overview]

Series 4.1 includes general correspondence, minutes of staff meetings, some reports and speeches, and correspondence & publications from the American Symphony Orchestra League (ASOL). Files from many of these managers are also interspersed in other series, notably Series 5.

Series 4.2 contains subject files of correspondence from Richard Cisek, conductor Neville Marriner, and other Orchestra staff members.

The files in Series 4.3 have been left as they were arranged and described in the late 1970s-early 1980s. At the time these records were created, the size of the Orchestra staff was small and most functions were handled by the offices of either the President or the General Manager. These files contain correspondence, memos, etc. from Richard Cisek, Richard Bass, and Donald Engle.

The files in Series 4.4 reflect the administrative and managerial responsibilities of the general manager after the mid 20th century. He was involved in most areas of Orchestra operation notably artistic programming, personnel, and touring. These files come from managers from Richard Cisek through Robert Neu.

Series 4.5 contains files from the office of Robert Neu and include personnel records, administrative records, and programming files from his tenure and those of his predecessors.

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Series 5: Departments

Files in the Public Affairs series are from the offices of Richard Cisek, Richard Bass, Donald Engle, and Charles Fullmer and were merged at some point. There is significant overlap between early files of the Public Affairs Office and the Marketing Department

Marketing and Sales files are from many different offices; the files were merged at some point. They include Marketing Committee meeting reports, staff reports on specific series (Sommerfest, Weekender Pops, etc.), marketing summaries, and some marketing brochures.

Materials in the Artistic Administration collection include correspondence by various general managers, music directors, and public relations staff. The bulk of the collection is the Guest Artists' files that include correspondence, contracts, and biographical and publicity materials for artists who performed with the Orchestra and at Orchestra Hall.

The Box Office collection contain files relating to box office and ticket sales and contain information regarding tickets sold, weather conditions during concerts, and names of conductors and soloists.

Personnel files relate to musicians and Orchestra staff members. Most of the materials are restricted.

Finance Department records contain financial statements, office files, and investment reports.

Records from the Development Office detail fundraising activities including the Guaranty Fund. Many files chronicle the outreach activities of the Orchestra in the 1960s and 1970s as the Orchestra sought funding for tours, run-outs, and summer concerts. Applications and final reports to corporate foundations and to governmental agencies often provide excellent summaries of the Orchestra's financial situation and financial difficulties.

Hall Facilities' files contain routine correspondence and information regarding the rental and maintenance of Orchestra Hall.

The Education Department collection includes office files that document the activities of various Education staff as they coordinated activities with volunteers from the Young People's Symphony Orchestra Association (YPSCA) and WAMSO (Women's Association of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra).

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Series 6: Events & Special Projects

The extensive records in the Tours series include extensive documentation of touring by the Orchestra from the late 1950s to the present. Tours included many U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, and other countries. These files also include documentation of run-outs to nearby cities and towns, annual performance series in Rochester and St. Joseph, Minnesota, and special performances within the Twin Cities' area in such programs as the Symphony for the Cities. Many tours were supported with grants from local foundations and corporations, state arts council, national foundations and corporations, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The 75th Anniversary collection documents the series of events celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Minnesota Orchestra. Two activities that are extensively documented are the Composers Competition and the fund raising and publication of the book, Ovation.

A small collection documents the two major events of the 80th Anniversary: the production of the book, Fourscore, and the luncheon sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, "Big League Sports Salute the Minnesota Orchestra."

Scandinavia Today collection includes office files relating to a concert by the Orchestra, "Tonight Scandinavia," performed as part of the celebration of Scandinavian culture.

The tours of Metropolitan Opera productions started in 1945. Staff of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra/Minnesota Orchestra served as administrative staff for the Opera season. Files include include correspondence, planning memos, meeting minutes, and publicity materials for the Met's annual spring performances and the social events surrounding the week.

Sommerfest was inaugurated in 1980 as Viennese Sommerfest, a summer music festival. Maestro Leonard Slatkin was the artistic director of the festival during the 1980s. The collection contains office records that document the artistic planning, publicity, operations, and box office activities.

Minnesota Orchestra Visual Entertainment (MOVE) was a business venture established in the 1990s to bring classical music and the arts to children and adults in new and innovative ways. Three video products were developed: On the Day You Were Born, Nutcracker: The Untold Story, and Dr. Seuss's My Many Colored Days.

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Series 7: Buildings & related materials

Finding aid for Series 7
  • 7.1 Northrop Auditorium Shell, 1956-68
  • 7.2 Orchestra Hall, 1965-79
  • 7.3 Peavey Plaza, 1976-80

The Minnesota Orchestra performed in different auditoriums during the first seventy years:

  • Lyceum Theatre/Minneapolis Auditorium (1905-30)
  • Northrop Auditorium, University of Minnesota (1930-70)
  • O'Shaughnessy Auditorium, College of St. Catherine (1970-73)
In the early 1970s the Association began investigating possibilities for a new performance space for the Orchestra. The bulk of this series details the construction of Orchestra Hall.

Series 8: Related organizations

Note that YPSCA records are in Performing Arts Archives collection PA 51.

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Series 9: Scrapbooks & clippings

Series 9.1 includes 132 scrapbooks (made from oversize ledger books) that contain newspaper clippings, programs, box office receipts, and miscellaneous items documenting the earliest history of the Orchestra from 1908-1964. There are additional scrapbooks, not part of this group, that also reflect portions of the Orchestra's history, notably a scrapbook completed by early Orchestra manager, Wendell Heighton (1910-23). Series 9.2 is the collection of newspaper clippings maintained by the Public Affairs office and generally continues after the end of the scrapbooks. Series 9.3 includes all the official news releases from the Orchestra's Public Affairs office.

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Series 10: Publications

Finding aid for Series 10.1--10.4
  • 10.1 Programs (bound), 1904-present
  • 10.2 Programs (unbound), 1903-present
  • 10.3 Live Music, 1999-2002
  • 10.4 Other publications, 1972-89
The Archives has an incomplete set of bound and unbound programs. Early programs were small and untitled. In 1969 the format was enlarged and the programs were titled Symphony . In 1974 the title changed to Showcase. Other publications include Live Music and a number of other short-lived publications. Return to Collection Overview

Series 11: Photographs, Slides, Negatives, 1906-present

Finding aid for Series 11
  • 11.1 Music directors
  • 11.2 Class photographs
  • 11.3 People associated with the Orchestra
  • 11.4 Guest artists
  • 11.5 Events & special concerts
  • 11.6 Orchestra Hall & other auditoriums
  • 11.7 Related collections
Return to Collection Overview

Series 12: Recordings

This series contains multiple sub-series of material types:


Finding aid for Audio Materials
  • Series 12.1 Master audio tapes
  • Series 12.2 Audio tapes
  • Series 12.3 Records (generally vinyl, bulk are 33-1/3 rpm and 78 rpm)
  • Series 12.5 Compact Discs
  • Series 12.7 DAT recordings

Video and film

  • Series 12.4 Videos and Films
Finding aid for Video Materials

Slide-tape shows

  • Series 12.6 Slide-tape shows
The Slide-tape shows can be found here: Finding aid for Slide-tape shows

Series 13: Posters & Realia

Return to Collection Overview

Series 14: Historical Materials

Finding aid

This artificial grouping includes items of historical interest that have been donated to the Orchestra or located elsewhere. These materials include letters, publications, etc. that were collected at various times by various people and constitute an historical archive of the Orchestra. They include records created by or about people associated with the Orchestra. A notable group of materials are the correspondence, interview notes, and other research materials from John Sherman that he collected in the late 1940s as he was preparing his book, Music & Maestros.