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Shady Grove See here for hours
International Piano Archives at Maryland

Hours:

By appointment,
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday through Friday

Contact:

Donald Manildi
IPAM Curator  

Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library
University of Maryland
2511 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park, MD 20742-1630
(301) 405-9224
E-mail: godowsky@umd.edu


Abram Chasins Collection

When the most versatile musicians in the history of American music are considered, Abram Chasins will surely find a prominent place on the roster. He has excelled as a composer, pianist, musicologist, author, teacher (in the both the studio and the classroom) and media administrator. Picture of Abram Chasins, pianist

Abram Chasins was born in New York City on August 17, 1903, and studied at the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute, and Columbia University. His major teachers included Ernest Hutcheson and Josef Hofmann. From 1926 to 1935, he taught at Curtis and, for a decade beginning in 1935, he was an outstanding pianist throughout the world, appearing in solo recitals and with leading orchestras everywhere. Besides his solo engagements and recordings, he also played and recorded duo-piano works with his wife, the pianist Constance Keene.

Chasins became famous for many other aspects of his musical career as well. More than one hundred of his compositions have been published, performed and recorded. As fortune would have it, he made his professional debut playing the solo part in his own Piano Concerto No. 1 in F Minor (1928) with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Ossip Gabrilowitsch at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and, later, Carnegie Hall in New York. He also played his second Piano Concerto in F Sharp Minor, dating from 1931, with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. He attained an international reputation in his early 20s as a protege of Josef Hofmann. Subsequently, he became the first American composer of the younger generation to be performed by Arturo Toscanini; the great maestro chose his "Parade" and "Flirtation in a Chinese Garden" for a concert with the New York Philharmonic. Chasins retired from the concert stage in 1946 to devote himself entirely to the musical directorship of radio station WQXR, the radio network of the New York Times with which he had been affiliated since 1943. His tenure established a nationwide standard for classical music programming which has never been surpassed.

"Speaking of Pianists" (Alfred Knopf, 1957; revised versions, 1961 and 1981) was Chasins' first published book; it has become an international source book. Other volumes from his hand, among them "The Van Cliburn Legend" (Doubleday, 1959), "The Appreciation of Music" (Crown, 1966), "Music at the Crossroads" (MacMillan, 1972) and "Leopold Stokowski, A Profile" (Hawthorne, 1979), also won wide attention.

As an adjudicator, Chasins served on jury panels for the Van Cliburn and National Federation of Music Clubs Competitions, the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera auditions, the Chopin Prize and the Rachmaninoff and Leventritt Foundation awards.

Chasins was invited to become Musician-in-Residence at the University of Southern California, a post created specifically for him. In the course of his stay, he was honored by the City of Los Angeles for "distinguished service in transforming USC's campus 'rock station' into a strong cultural force and a nationally prominent broacasting entity" Previously, as a juror for the Cliburn Competition, he had been named an "Honorary Citizen of the State of Texas."

Chasins became especially well-known for his "Three Chinese Pieces" (A Shanghai Tragedy, Flirtation in a Chinese Garden, and Rush Hour in Hong Kong), originally published in 1926. A revised edition of these pieces was published by IPAM in 1990 with a preface by Constance Keene. Copies are available directly from IPAM; contact the Curator for details.

Abram Chasins died in New York City on June 21, 1987.

SERIES DESCRIPTION

SERIES I - MUSIC MANUSCRIPTS 1

  • Orchestra
  • Piano Concertos
  • Piano Solo
  • Two Pianos, Four Hands
  • Solo Voice and Piano
  • Works Arranged by Other Persons
  • Miscellaneous

SERIES II - PUBLISHED SCORES

  • Orchestra
  • Piano Solo
  • Two Pianos, Four Hands
  • Solo Voice and Piano
  • Works Arranged by Other Persons

SERIES III - SOUND RECORDINGS

  • Music (Discs, Tapes, and Piano Rolls)
  • Radio Shows/Interviews (Tapes)
  • Others

SERIES IV - WRITINGS

  • Books
  • Unpublished Memoirs
  • Radio Scripts
  • Lecture Notes
SERIES V - PERFORMANCE FILES [reserved]

SERIES VI - SCRAPBOOKS

SERIES VII - CORRESPONDENCE

  • General CorrespondenceFan Letters
  • Condolence Letters
  • Tribute Letters
  • Letters to Constance Keene
SERIES VIII - SUBJECT FILES

SERIES IX - PHOTOGRAPHS AND ARTWORK

  • A.C. Formal Portraits
  • Professional Life
  • Family
  • Friends & Colleagues
  • Candid Snapshots
  • Travel
  • Miscellaneous

SERIES X - MISCELLANEOUS

  • Oversized Materials
  • Address/Appointment Books
  • Awards & Honors
  • Books Referring to Chasins