Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Oliver Daniel was a composer, music producer, and musicologist, who wrote a biography of conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1982 and was working on an unfinished biography of conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos at the time of Daniel's death in 1990. Daniel had conducted more than 180 interviews with over 120 individuals from 1982 to 1989 while researching the biography. Daniel's longtime partner and executor of his estate Donald Ott sought an author to complete the biography and made Daniel's oral history transcripts and notes available to author William R. Trotter, who completed the book, Priest of Music: The Life of Dimitri Mitropoulos, published by Amadeus Press in 1995.
Oliver Daniel was born in De Pere, Wisconsin on 24 November 1911. He studied piano and taught at the Boston Conservatory, 1936-1938 and at Marot College, 1939-1942. He was a member of the Charles Ives Society and vice president of the board of directors from 1973 on. He edited The Harmony of Maine, 1949; Down East Spirituals, 1949; and The Music of William Billings, 1943-1967.
Oliver Daniel first met Dimitri Mitropoulos when Daniel was producing classical music radio broadcasts for NBC, ABC, and CBS. Daniel left CBS Radio in 1954 to accept a position as vice-president and director of concert music administration at Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) where he worked until his retirement in 1976. He also co-founded Composers Recordings, Inc., served as Chairman of the Board of American Composer's Concerts, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Young Audiences.
Dimitri Mitropoulos was a Greek pianist, composer, and conductor, who achieved international acclaim as the conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Metropolitan Opera. He was born in Athens, Greece in 1896 and died in Milan, Italy in 1960.
Oliver Daniel's oral history interviews and research materials cover all aspects of Mitropoulos's life and career, including his early life in Greece and his conducting positions in America as principal conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, principal conductor of the Robin Hood Dell Orchestra (the summertime designation of the Philadelphia Orchestra), music director of the New York Philharmonic, and principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Daniel interviewed musicians who played and sang for Mitropoulos, conductors who were mentored by him, and composers whose works Mitropoulos premiered and championed domestically and abroad.
During two trips to the conductor's homeland (1984, 1985), Daniel conducted interviews with those who knew Mitropoulos in Greece, including Katy Katsoyanis, Konstantinos Kydoniatis, John Papaioannou, Michalis Semsis, and Theodore Vavayannis. Composers whom Daniel interviewed include David Amram, Milton Babbitt, David Diamond, Ross Lee Finney, Morton Gould, Ernst Krenek, Otto Luening, Gian Carlo Menotti, George Rochberg, Ned Rorem, Roger Sessions, and others. Some of Daniel's most extensive interviews are with conductor James Aliferis, composers David Cooper and David Diamond, conductor James Dixon, and record producer Nick Nickson. In addition he interviewed friends, former secretaries, music librarians, orchestra managers, music critics, and a pair of restaurateurs from Mitropoulos's favorite New York City dining establishment.
Of note are the FBI files on Dimitri Mitropoulos, which Daniel went to some lengths to procure. The FBI's interest in Mitropoulos seems to have resulted from statements he made in the late 1940s regarding censored Soviet composers as well as his support of presidential candidate Henry Wallace of the Progressive Party. Also of interest to Daniel was Mitropoulos's seemingly repressed homosexuality. Daniel wanted to address the issue in the book and stressed with his interview subjects that he wanted to do it carefully and respectfully, but that the whole story of the conductor's life needed to be told. Daniel's interviews reveal numerous examples of Mitropoulos's generosity, helping to support the educations of a number of aspiring musicians in particular. Daniel made numerous attempts to interview the composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. Given the initially close ties between the two conductors and their eventual falling out over rumors that Bernstein sabotaged Mitropoulos's chances at a post with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and was behind his ouster from the New York Philharmonic, it was an interview that Daniel dearly wanted but never received.
Other materials researchers might expect, but which are not to be found in the collection, include the complete interviews and correspondence with Mitropoulos's long-time American secretary Faith Reed, who decided not to participate in the book project once it had been handed over to William Trotter; the notes or drafts of Mitropoulos biographer Louis Stanley, which neither Daniel nor Trotter were able to track down; the files of Mitropoulos's European secretary Trudy Goth; those of Mitropoulos's agent and New York Philharmonic manager, Arthur Judson, who destroyed his files; and the letters from Mitropoulos to Greek benefactor and friend Maria Negroponte, who likewise destroyed her material, deeming it too personal to be shared with the public.
In addition to the extensive collection of oral history interviews, Daniel collected clippings about Mitropoulos and the interview subjects, as well as copies of correspondence with the Maestro, and biographical works written by other authors. Many of the files include correspondence between Daniel (and also Ott) and the interview subjects. Transcripts of most of the interviews were made by Ott and some of them include indexes to the subjects covered. Finally, the collection contains the original cassette recordings of the oral history interviews (and some musical performances) and one box of photographs which Daniel had intended to use in his book.
Gift of Donald J. Ott, 2006.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- John Anderies
- Finding Aid Date
- 2014 November 14
- Access Restrictions
The bulk of this collection is open for research use; however, access to original audio/visual materials and computer files is restricted. The Kislak Center will provide access to the information on these materials from duplicate master files. If the original does not already have a copy, it will be sent to an outside vendor for copying. Patrons are financially responsible for the cost. The turnaround time from request to delivery of digital items is about two weeks for up to five items and three to seven weeks for more than five items. Please contact Reprographic Services (email@example.com) for cost estimates and ordering. Once digital items are received, researchers will have access to the files on a dedicated computer in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Researchers should be aware of specifics of copyright law and act accordingly.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.