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
Richard Wernick is an American composer and professor of music composition. Born in 1934 in Boston, Massachusetts, he began playing piano at age eleven and completed his undergraduate study of music at Brandeis University, where he studied with Irving Fine. He also attended Tanglewood Music Center, where he studied composition with Aaron Copland and conducting with Leonard Bernstein; and Mills College, where he studied with Leonard Kirchner.
During the 1950s and early 1960s, Wernick worked as a composer for theater, film, television, and dance. He later became a composition professor, teaching at SUNY Buffalo (1964 to 1965) and the University of Chicago (1965 to 1968). His longest tenure was at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught, from 1968 to 1996, alongside George Crumb and George Rochberg. In 1983, Riccardo Muti selected Wernick to be the Consultant for New Music to the Philadelphia Orchestra, and he held this position until 1989, when he was re-appointed as Special Consultant to the Music Director. He continued in that position until 1993, which coincided with the end of Muti's tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Wernick won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his composition Visions of Terror and Wonder. He won Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards in 1986 for his Violin Concerto (first place, tie with Bernard Rands), in 1991 for String Quartet No. 4 (first place), and in 1992 for Piano Concerto (second place). He has also received awards from the Ford, Guggenheim and Naumburg Foundations.
Wernick lives outside of Philadelphia with his wife, bassoonist Bea Wernick. His son Adam Wernick is a theatrical composer. His other son, Lew Wernick, is also a musician.
This collection largely documents Richard Wernick's professional career as a musician, and to a lesser degree, his career as a professor. The collection is arranged in seven series: I. Scores; II. Professional material; III. Concert programs; IV. Articles collected by Wernick; V. Material from others; VI. Recordings; and VII. Photographs.
The bulk of the collection is contained within I. Scores and includes scores by Wernick (arranged alphabetically by title), scores by others that he conducted and are marked by Wernick for conducting purposes (arranged alphabetically by composer), and scores by others that Wernick either collected—some of which are dedicated or inscribed to him--or were arranged and edited by Wernick (arranged alphabetically by composer). These scores show not only the breadth of Wernick's own composing career, but also his influence within the musical world.
Series II. Professional material contains correspondence and information concerning teaching logistics related to Wernick's employment as a professional composer and professor. Included is material created during his time as a student at Brandeis, where he composed and conducted music for plays, ballets, and concerts; his time as a composer for film and television in New York City; and his four decades of teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. Researchers will also find correspondence congratulating Wernick on the award of the Pulitzer Prize in 1977. The series is arranged chronologically.
The concert programs contained in Series III document concerts featuring Wernick's works, as well as concerts that did not feature his works, but which he attended. For the most part, events were held in the United States. Both subseries in this series are arranged chronologically.
Series IV. Articles collected by Wernick contains clippings of newspaper and magazine articles related to Wernick's work, including notable concerts and festivals. It also includes a significant number of clippings documenting Wernick being awarded the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his composition Visions of Terror and Wonder. The series is arranged chronologically.
Series V. Material from others includes reviews written by friends and other people who were part of Wernick's social circle and material related to Wernick's wife, Bea. Of note, there are reviews written by Robert Brustein and writings to and from Bea Wernick. The relationships between Wernick, Charles Reznikoff and his family, and Nathan Prince are unclear.
Series VI. Recordings, most of which are reel-to-reel (with a very small number of audio cassettes and a cd), represent concerts by the Penn Contemporary Players and the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, both of which featured Wernick as musical director, as well as recordings of Wernick's works and the works of others. This series contains audio recordings of works written, conducted, or directed by Wernick. It is broken into four subseries: recordings of the Penn Contemporary Players, for which Wernick served as musical director; recordings by the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for which Wernick served as musical director; recordings of compositions by Wernick; and miscellaneous recordings of work by others. All four subseries are in chronological order.
The final series, VII. Photos consist of personal and professional publicity photographs of Wernick and other musicians, including promotional photos for his 1977 Pulitzer Prize win. A couple of Wernick's music colleagues who appear in the photographs are Shulamit Rin and Lambert Orkis. The series is arranged chronologically.
Gift of Richard Wernick, 1996 and 2013
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.