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Minas Christian papers

 Collection 0161-SCPA

A conductor and violinist, Minas Christian (1921-1989) served as the conductor and music director of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra in Evansville, Indiana from 1953 to 1979. During his tenure he helped create many of the orchestra’s programs and organizations, including county and Tri-State youth concerts, the Evansville Chorus, pop concerts, the Philharmonic Guild, and the orchestra’s first subscription series. In addition, he made guest appearances both as a conductor and as a performer with many international orchestras. The collection consists of correspondence, most notably with Aaron Copland, documents concerning the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, one published pamphlet, manuscript scores and photographs documenting his musical career.


  • 1947-1978
  • Majority of material found within 1953-1978

Use and Access to Collection

There are no restricted files in this collection.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Please make an appointment with the curator: Tel: 301.405.9220, Email:


1.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Minas Christian papers contain letters, newspaper clippings, documents concerning the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, one published pamphlet, manuscript scores and photographs documenting parts of the musical career of Minas Christian. The collection spans the years 1953 through 1978. Manuscript highlights of the collection are three signed typed letters from Aaron Copland and two manuscript scores by Thurlow Lieurance.


Minas Christian (1921 – 1989) was an American violinist and conductor of Greek parentage. He began his career as a child prodigy at the age of 10 in Wichita, Kansas, just two years after beginning the violin, and made his debut with the London Symphony. He went on to study at the University of Michigan, the Conservatory of Music in Kansas City, and Julliard School of Music in New York. After serving as a 1st Lieutenant with the Army Medical Corps during World War II, he became the conductor of the University of Arkansas Symphony.

Christian conducted the Evansville (Indiana) Philharmonic Orchestra from 1953 through 1979 and served as the first full time conductor and music director. Christian also helped to launch the Philharmonic Guild and began a series of concerts for young people, recognizing the importance of music education for young children. Christian left the orchestra in 1979 under circumstances which divided the organization and surrounding community.

Throughout his tenure with the Evansville Philharmonic, Christian made guest appearances with other orchestras around the world, including the National Broadcasting Orchestra of Greece and the Cape Town Orchestra in South Africa, as well as in Canada and Europe. Upon ending his tenure with the Evansville Philharmonic he moved to Virginia to pursue real-estate investments. Christian passed away on May 12, 1989 at the age of 68. He was survived by his wife, Barbara Caniff Christian, as well as two children and two stepchildren.


This collection is organized into seven series.

  1. Letters
  2. Evansville Philharmonic Documents
  3. Press Reviews
  4. Articles on Minas Christian
  5. Study of Legal Documents of Symphony Orchestras
  6. Manuscript Scores by Thurlow Lieurance
  7. Photographs

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift of Barbara Christian, widow of Minas Christian, September 1989.

Minas Christian papers
Bonnie Jo Dopp
August 2001
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

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