Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

Kodály Center of America records

 Collection 0163-SCPA

The Kodály Center of America (KCA) was established in Wellesley, Massachusetts, in April 1977 by Denise Bacon, who had also founded the Kodály Musical Training Institute (KMTI) in 1969. The primary objective of both institutions was to promote music education in the United States according to the Kodály concept, a philosophy articulated by the Hungarian composer and educator Zoltán Kodály. KMTI and KCA trained master teachers, conducted research on American folk music, developed curricula and model schools, published resources for teaching and scholarship, and disseminated information.

The Kodály Center of America records contain primarily KCA’s organizational records from 1977 to 2000. Additional materials include KMTI’s records, the bulk of which date from 1969 to 1977, and the personal and professional papers of Denise Bacon, which date from about 1900 to 2014.


  • 1900-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1969-2002



Files regarding some KCA faculty and students in series 5 are restricted due to sensitive personal information; see the subseries descriptions for more detail. A few other files detailing personnel action are held in a restricted box until 2040. All other records are open for research use.

Publication Rights

The collection is open for research use. Materials 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, except for Wednesdays during the spring and fall semesters when open hours are extended to 8:00pm. Contact the curator for an appointment: Some materials from this collection have been digitized and are available in UMD's Digital Collections.


57.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Kodály Center of America records contain the official records of KCA and KMTI dating from about 1965 to 2010, with the bulk of the materials from 1969 to 2000. The collection includes administrative records, materials about KMTI and KCA’s academic teacher-training programs and pedagogical activities, faculty and student records, promotional communications and press clippings, publications to support teaching and scholarship in the Kodály concept of music education, scholarly papers and research materials, a collection of folk songs, and video recordings of music classes taught using Kodály methodology.

The KCA records also include the personal and professional papers of Denise Bacon, containing materials from about 1900 to 2014, the bulk of which are from 1965 to 2005. This series includes a collection of Bacon’s speeches and articles about music education.

Historical Note

The music educator Denise Bacon (1920–2013) became introduced to the Kodály concept of music education at a summer workshop in 1965 and met the Hungarian composer and teacher Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967) at a conference the following year. After spending the 1967–1968 academic year studying the concept in Hungary on a scholarship, Bacon returned to Wellesley, Massachusetts, with a mission to adapt Kodály’s ideas to music education in the United States. With a major grant from the Ford Foundation, she established the Kodály Musical Training Institute (KMTI) in 1969. Under Bacon’s direction, KMTI developed an academic program that would train more than 450 teachers in the Kodály concept. The organization also conducted research, produced resources for teaching and scholarship, and developed pilot programs in several primary schools in the Boston area.

In 1977, Bacon left KMTI and founded the Kodály Center of America (KCA) to achieve very similar goals: to grow the Kodály concept in the U.S., to produce high-quality music teachers through academic programs, and to develop leaders to carry the Kodály method into the future. With guidance from several Hungarian master teachers, KCA developed an intensive master’s degree program affiliated with four colleges or universities, and a highly regarded summer certificate program based at Southeastern Massachusetts University (SMU). It partnered with the Boston Public Schools to conduct research and teach music, primarily in classes from kindergarten to sixth grade. KCA also produced choral octavos, video recordings, arrangements of folk songs, and other resources to support teaching and learning.

In 1991, due to space limitations and financial constraints, KCA merged its teacher-training program with the Kodály program of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and continued operations as an independent resource center. KMTI, which had relocated to Connecticut in 1980, merged its organization entirely with Capital University in 1993.

In 1995, KCA relocated to Providence, Rhode Island, and Denise Bacon retired as director. During the administration of Faith Knowles from 1995 to 1999, KCA developed courses for early childhood exposure to the Kodály method, produced several new publications and video recordings, led advanced refresher courses and workshops for educators, and collaborated with schools in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.

From 1999 until it was dissolved in 2013, KCA was primarily a historical organization under voluntary leadership. Its mission was to preserve and disseminate KCA archival materials and records to research institutions. It also circulated KCA resources and related Kodály materials for music education. Denise Bacon remained active in professional societies such as the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) and other music-related activities until shortly before her death in 2013.


This collection is PROCESSED. When KCA had to quickly vacate its rented office space in 1990, many of its administrative files were hastily removed and placed in boxes without regard for preserving their order. These were then moved to Denise Bacon’s house for several years, while she and some KCA volunteers tried to sort the materials and create an inventory. This work was only partially completed by the time KCA began transferring the materials to the University of Maryland in 2004. In the final shipments, made in 2013 and 2014 after Bacon’s death, it was apparent that original order was not maintained despite the best intentions of those colleagues who fulfilled her estate. For series of materials received in earlier shipments, SCPA has attempted to adhere to original order and to retain some of the series designations suggested by Denise Bacon. For materials in the final shipments, SCPA had to impose order during processing for many series and subseries. In all series, however, the documents within each folder are retained in their original order. Additional documentation about the contents of each shipment and Bacon’s intentions for the archives are retained in SCPA’s administrative files.

The bulk of materials from KMTI were collected by Denise Bacon during her tenure as director, from the organization’s founding in 1969 until her departure in 1977. Although KMTI continued to operate until 1993, few of its records after 1977 were transferred to Denise Bacon and the KCA records. Since Bacon considered KMTI and KCA to be, in effect, one institution with identical purposes, many series and individual files in the KCA records contain materials from both KMTI and KCA.

The collection is arranged in 13 series. An inventory is available below.

  1. KMTI Administration
  2. KCA Administration
  3. KMTI Communications
  4. KCA Communications
  5. KMTI/KCA Academic Programs
  6. KMTI/KCA Pedagogy
  7. Teaching and Learning Resources
  8. Research
  9. Press Clippings and Related Publicity
  10. Events and Ensembles
  11. Related Music Education Organizations
  12. Denise Bacon
  13. Photographs

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The KCA records were donated by Denise Bacon and acquired by the University of Maryland in multiple shipments: April 2004 and August 2005 from Denise Bacon; May 2013 from Adele Beggs; and June 2013 from Joel Slocum. The following shipments were made following Denise Bacon’s death in November 2013: January–April 2014 from Adele Beggs; August 2014 by Jerry Jaccard; September 2014 by Mary Epstein; and December 2014 and December 2015 from Joel Slocum.

Related Materials

More than 600 books, periodicals, and scores related to music education were removed from shipments of KCA materials and transferred to the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room. Notable publications include the Bulletin of the International Kodály Society, hundreds of pedagogical materials in English and Hungarian, several books about Zoltan Kodály, and a series of research articles published by the Kodály Seminar in Kecskemét, Hungary. Please consult the University of Maryland Libraries’ catalog. In addition to searching the library catalog using the subject terms listed below, researchers may wish to use “se:Kodaly Seminar” for conference papers published in Kecskemét. To narrow results to items held in the Lowens Special Collections Room, researchers may add “b8:UMB6” to their search query.

Additional material about Denise Bacon, especially about her dealings with Hungarian educators and officials, was donated to the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary. See: http://Kodá

Special Collections in Performing Arts also holds the archival records of the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME; formerly the Music Educators National Conference, MENC).

Kodály Center of America records
Matthew Testa, 2016. Minimal-level processing in 2012 by Sarah Lindblom.
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