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Ralph Berkowitz Collection

 Collection 0027-IPAM
Ralph Berkowitz (1910-2011) was a music educator and pianist. He performed many solo recitals throughout the world and was an accompanist for cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. Berkowitz was also a staff member at the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, the executive assistant at the Tanglewood Institute, and the business manager of the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra. This collection contains 2.00 linear feet of scrapbooks and an unpublished biography that contain photographs, correspondence, articles, brochures, programs, artwork, and memorabilia related to Berkowitz’s career, the ensembles he was involved in, and his relationships with his close colleagues, including pianist Aaron Copland, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, and Tanglewood Institute director Serge Koussevizky.

Dates

  • 1918-1991
  • Majority of material found within 1952-1981

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research use.

Extent

2.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Ralph Berkowitz Collection covers the period from 1918 to 1991; the bulk of the materials date from 1952 to 1981, and the collection is 2.00 linear feet. The collection consists of two scrapbooks plus an unpublished biography put together by Carolyn Erbele based on interviews she conducted with Berkowitz from 1989 to 1991. The materials contain photographs, correspondence, articles, brochures, programs, artwork, and memorabilia related to Berkowitz’s work as a performer and music educator, including his work at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, with the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra, and with the Guarneri String Quartet at the June Music Festival in Albuquerque.

Biography

Summary: Ralph Berkowitz was born in New York City in 1910. He studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (1928), where he later became a member of the staff, teaching form and analysis, directing the Historical Series (concerts), and coaching vocal students. Afterwards, he became the accompanist for cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (1940-1972) and appeared in recitals throughout the world. Berkowitz was also executive assistant to Serge Koussevizky at Tanglewood (1946-1951), where he became Dean of the Berkshire Music Center (1951-1964).

Berkowitz took on the dual role of executive director and principal pianist of the June Music Festival in Albuquerque (1953) and eventually became business manager of the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra (1958-1969). Ralph Berkowitz was also a painter and has had articles published by Penguin Books (London), Etude Magazine, and The Juilliard Review. Berkowitz died in August 2011.

Full History: Ralph Berkowitz was born in New York City in 1910.

In 1928, he enrolled at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. He later became a member of the Institute's staff, teaching form and analysis, directing the Historical Series (concerts), and coaching vocal students. He remained in that position until 1940 when he became the accompanist for cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. He continued in that role for 30 years, appearing with Piatigorsky in recitals throughout the world until the cellist's death in 1972.

Berkowitz was executive assistant to Serge Koussevitzky at Tanglewood from 1946 to 1951. He became Dean of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in 1951 and remained in that position until his resignation in 1964.

In 1953, he took on the dual role of executive director and principal pianist of the June Music Festival in Albuquerque. After commuting from the East coast for five summers, he moved to Albuquerque in 1958 and became business manager of the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra. He resigned that post in 1969.

In addition to teaching, lecturing, and performing, Ralph Berkowitz was also a painter. His paintings, pastels, woodcuts, and drawings are in numerous private collections in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles and Albuquerque.

In Albuquerque, Berkowitz did a lecture series on television called The Arts consisting of 63 half hour shows dealing with some aspect of music, painting, or literature. He has also had articles published by Penguin Books (London), Etude Magazine, and the Juilliard Review.

As a composer, Ralph Berkowitz wrote A Telephone Call, for singer and orchestra, based on a Dorothy Parker monologue.

In March of 1992, Ralph Berkowitz donated his personal papers, comprising photographs, correspondence, programs, and newspaper articles and clippings, to the International Piano Archives at the University of Maryland. Berkowitz died in August 2011.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into four series.
  1. Series 1: Photographs
  2. Series 2: Correspondence
  3. Series 3: Miscellaneous
  4. Series 4: Recordings

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift of Ralph Berkowitz; received on March 3rd, 1992.

Related Material

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

Processing Information

A detailed inventory of the scrapbooks and biography is available upon request.
Title
Ralph Berkowitz Collection
Status
Completed
Author
Processor unknown.
Date
1992-06-01
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Sponsor
Gift of Ralph Berkowitz; received on March 3rd, 1992.

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

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