Scope and arrangement
The BMI Surinach collection holds the papers of the composer and conductor Carlos Surinach (1915-1997). Dating from the 1900s to 1996, they document his life and career through correspondence, scores, subject files, photographs, scrapbooks, concert programs, clippings, posters, flyers, datebooks, awards, composition listings, biographies, and books. The collection is arranged in two series, Papers and Scores.
The Papers document Surinach's career mainly through subject files and correspondence discussing performances of his music, publishing issues, and conducting engagements. Correspondents include the choreographer Paul Taylor and the composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks. About a third of the correspondence is in Spanish. The Papers also hold photographs of Surinach and his friends, family, and colleagues, as well as photographs of ballet performances.
The Scores hold much of Surinach's creative output, mostly in the form of manuscript copies or published versions bearing notations. About half of the scores contain sketches or original manuscripts. The scores include ballets written for Paul Taylor and Martha Graham, among others; instrumental and vocal works; and published, autographed scores by other composers.
The BMI Surinach collection is arranged in two series:
This series mainly documents Surinach's career, though it holds some personal content as well. It contains correspondence, subject files, concert programs, clippings, posters, flyers, biographical information, photographs, awards, books, and art. General correspondence at the top of the container list is arranged chronologically. The rest of the series is arranged by file title.
General correspondence holds letters from colleagues, friends, family, and organizations, some of whom can also be found in subject files in the rest of the series (including a file titled Family Correspondence). About a third of the correspondence is in Spanish.
The bulk of the series consists of subject files holding correspondence regarding professional matters, such as publishing, commissions, conducting engagements, and performances of Surinach's music. Notable persons or companies present in these files include Surinach's publisher, G. Schirmer, and its imprint, Associated Music Publishers; Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI); Columbia Broadcasting System Inc. (CBS); the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance; Paul Taylor; Peggy Glanville-Hicks; and the University of Miami.
The G. Schirmer files are extensive, dating back to the 1950s, and discuss many of Surinach's works, their performances, and publication. Earlier correspondence in the Schirmer files is with its corporate predecessor, Associated Music Publishers. The BMI files cover Surinach's publishing interests, performances and broadcasts of his works, royalties, and his judging for BMI student composer awards. They also hold promotional brochures with lists of his works. The file for Barbara Peterson, BMI's Manager of Concert Music Administration, contains further BMI correspondence.
Other files with notable content include the CBS files, which contain correspondence and production documents regarding Surinach's commissions for the News and Television divisions of the company; the correspondence with Paul Taylor, which includes creative discussions regarding the ballet Agathe's Tale (1967); the file for Peggy Glanville-Hicks, containing letters discussing the performance in Greece of Glanville-Hicks's opera, Nausicaa; the University of Miami files, holding correspondence and programs documenting Surinach's relationship with the school and the annual music program it presents, Festival Miami; and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation file, which contains a grant application from Surinach.
The concert programs cover five decades of performances of Surinach's concert and dance works, as well as his conducting appearances. Most date from the 1950s to the 1970s. The clippings cover the same time span, and are arranged in envelopes by event (name of piece performed, dance company, or venue, for example). Programs and clippings can also be found in the scrapbooks, which date mainly from the 1940s.
The Biographies and Lists of Works file holds publicity brochures, lists of Surinachs's works arranged by genre, various typed versions of his biography, and a copy of his birth certificate. The files for David Ewen and Michael Finkelman also hold Surinach biographies and composition catalogs, which they compiled for musical dictionaries or encyclopedias. The Inventory of Compositions file contains a more extensive list of Surinach's scores.
Photographs are held mostly in an album dating from the early 1900s to the 1970s. It contains family photographs, photographs of Surinach's colleagues, and publicity images of Surinach. Loose photographs hold similar content, and contain images of dance performances. These include photographs of the Martha Graham Dance Company performing Embattled Garden, a signed photograph of the dancer Tamara Toumanova, and a photograph of Igor Stravinsky conducting in a recording studio. Photographs can also be found in some of the subject files, such as that for the premiere of the Miguel Terekhov ballet, Blood Wedding.
The awards include honors from the JFK Library for Minorities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Information Agency, the Hispanic Society of America, BMI, and the American Accordionists Association.
The seventeen books are inscribed to Surinach by the authors, or friends of Surinach. Signees include Virgil Thomson, Claire Reis, Colin McPhee, Carl Bamberger, Joseph Machlis, and Leopold Stokowski.
The art consists of three sketches or watercolors by Roger Baker, and one by an unidentified artist.
This series holds sketches, manuscripts, published scores, and parts for many of Surinach's works, and is arranged by title. A few published scores by other composers are also present.
About half of the scores contain sketches and/or manuscripts; most contain manuscript copies or published versions, many with written corrections. Among the scores are the ballets Agathe's Tale (written for Paul Taylor); Acrobats of God, Embattled Garden, and The Owl And The Pussycat (all written for Martha Graham); Blood Wedding; Chronique; David and Bathsheba; Feast of Ashes; and Montecarlo.
Also present are instrumental and vocal works such as the Double Concerto for Flute, String Bass and Chamber Orchestra; Concerto for Orchestra; Cantata for Saint John; Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; Symphonic Melismas; Sonatina for Guitar; a String Quartet; Sinfonietta Flamenco; and two finished, untitled compositions.
The scores also hold music Surinach composed for a CBS documentary titled Puerto Rico, and for television advertisements by General Motors and U.S. Steel.
The published scores by other composers are either signed or contain corrections by the composers, such as Ernst Toch, John Carter, Virgil Thomson, and George Antheil. The Antheil score is for his Ballet Mecanique, and contains a note from Antheil hailing Surinach's conducting of the piece.