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Jorge Bolet Collection

 Collection 0024-IPAM
Jorge Bolet (1914-1990) was an active piano performer and teacher. He performed solo recitals and concerts with various orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and he also toured many countries, including Canada, Australia, Germany, and China. In addition, Bolet taught at The Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and at Indiana University in Bloomington. This collection consists of 34.00 linear feet of writings, correspondence, programs, press releases, scores, recordings, photographs, datebooks, awards, scrapbooks, posters, books, clippings, articles, and other memorabilia related to Bolet’s career, his hobbies, and his relationships with his close colleagues, including Audrey Michaels, Mac Finley, and his older brother, conductor Alberto Bolet.

Dates

  • 1880-1996
  • Majority of material found within 1959-1989

Use and Access to Collection

There are no restricted files in this collection.

Extent

34.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Jorge Bolet Collection covers the period from 1880 to 1996; the bulk of the materials date from 1959 to 1989, and the collection is 34.00 linear feet. The collection consists of both personal and professional papers including published and unpublished writings, correspondence, programs, press releases, scores, recordings, photographs, datebooks, awards, scrapbooks, posters, books, clippings, articles, and other memorabilia related to Bolet’s performing career, including his performances with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at the Berkshire Music Festival and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in countries such as Germany and Australia. It also contains materials related to Bolet’s teaching career, his military service, and his personal life, including personal correspondence and photographs with his friends.

Biography

Summary: Jorge Bolet was born in Havana, Cuba on November 15, 1914. His teachers included David Saperton, Josef Hofmann and Leopold Godowsky. While in Europe for further training (1934), he began his concert career and toured throughout Europe. Bolet's North American debut was a performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra (1937), and he made his New York recital debut at Town Hall (1937). Bolet joined both the Cuban and United States armies and also played with the Nippon Philharmonic Orchestra while stationed in Tokyo.

Following his separation from the service, Bolet toured extensively throughout the world both as recitalist and soloist and performed with most of the world's major orchestras. He was also known through radio and television appearances on such programs as the Bell Telephone Hour and was a leading interpreter of the music of Franz Liszt. Bolet made his first recordings on the Boston and Remington labels (1950s), and he recorded with various other labels, including an extensive cross-section of his repertoire during the last decade of his career with Decca/London. Bolet taught for many years at The Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and at Indiana University in Bloomington, and he conducted numerous master classes around the world. Bolet died in San Mateo, California on October 16, 1990.

Full History: Jorge Bolet was born in Havana, Cuba on November 15, 1914, and began serious study of the piano at age five under the direction of his sister Maria. He played his first public recital at age nine and appeared as soloist with the Havana Sinfonica at age ten. In 1927, he was awarded a scholarship to The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with David Saperton. During this period he also played often for, and received coaching from, Josef Hofmann and Leopold Godowsky. At sixteen, he appeared as soloist with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner in Carnegie Hall. Upon his graduation in 1934, the Cuban government sent Bolet to Europe for further training under Moriz Rosenthal. While there, he began his concert career, appearing in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, London, The Hague, Amsterdam, Milan, and Madrid and other Spanish cities.

Bolet's North American debut was in 1937, a performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy. This was followed by his New York recital debut at Town Hall in 1937 as winner of the Naumburg Award. He returned to Town Hall in 1940 as the first and only winner of the Josef Hofmann Award given by the Curtis Institute.

At the outbreak of World War II, Bolet joined the Cuban army and as a lieutenant served at the Cuban Embassy in Washington under regime of President Batista. After the Batista government fell, Bolet joined the United States Army and became an American citizen.While stationed in Tokyo with the Army of Occupation, Bolet conducted the Japanese premiere of "The Mikado" by Gilbert and Sullivan, and made several appearances as soloist with the Nippon Philharmonic Orchestra.

Following his separation from the service, Bolet resumed his interrupted career. As both recitalist and soloist with orchestra, Bolet toured extensively throughout the world. He performed with most of the major orchestras including Amsterdam, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Copenhagen, Detroit, Los Angeles, Madrid, Minnesota, Oslo, Pittsburgh, and New York. He was known to an even wider audience through radio and television appearances on such programs as the Bell Telephone Hour. A leading interpreter of the music of Franz Liszt, Bolet recorded the sound track for "Song Without End", a 1961 motion picture on the life of Liszt.

Bolet's first recordings appeared in the early 1950s on the Boston and Remington labels, and include a much-acclaimed performance of Prokofiev's Concerto No.2. Subsequently his playing was featured on releases from RCA Victor, Everest, Ensayo, Genesis, Opus, Columbia/CBS, Vox and most notably Decca/London, for whom he recorded an extensive cross-section of his repertoire during the last decade of his career.

Bolet tought for many years at The Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and at Indiana University in Bloomington, as well as conducting numerous master classes around the world.

Bolet died in San Mateo, California on October 16, 1990.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into eight series.
  1. Series 1: Performance Files
  2. Series 2: Photographs
  3. Series 3: Writings
  4. Series 4: Recording Files
  5. Series 5: Date Books
  6. Series 6: Personal Scores
  7. Series 7: Memorabilia
  8. Series 8: December 1992 additions to the Collection

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift of Jorge Bolet, received in 1988. Additional materials were received in December 1992, on March 29th, 1994, and on April 4th, 1994 by Mac Finley, Bolet's producer. Additional tapes were received from Decca, a company Bolet recorded with, on February 23rd, 1993.

Related Material

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Processing Information

Item-level inventories of slides made by Bolet, cassette tapes, scores, date books, and articles about Bolet are available upon request. Articles about Bolet not in Box 15 item-level inventory are in Box 14. Photograph albums are stored in Oversized Drawers 4 and 5.Materials added in 1992 are on a different shelf than the rest of the materials.
Title
Jorge Bolet Collection
Status
Completed
Author
Processor unknown.
Date
1993-08-25
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Sponsor
Gift of Jorge Bolet, received in 1988. Additional materials were received in December 1992, and on April 4th, 1994 by Mac Finley, Bolet's producer. Additional tapes were received from Decca, a company Bolet recorded with, on February 23rd, 1993.

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States