Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Serge Prokofiev Archive, 1917-2012

Summary Information

Abstract

Serge Prokofiev (1891–1953) was a Russian and Soviet composer, pianist and conductor, and seminal figure in the history of twentieth-century music. The Serge Prokofiev Archive (SPA) contains 58 original music manuscripts and over 10,000 letters and documents primarily from 1918-1936, the years Prokofiev spent in the West. The SPA also includes an expansive collection of music manuscript copies, published scores, concert programs, scholarly books and articles, photographs, and audio and video material, making it the premier research collection for studying Prokofiev's life, work and legacy.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1721
Bib ID 10815449 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Prokofiev, Sergey, 1891-1953
Title Serge Prokofiev Archive, 1917-2012
Physical Description 294 linear feet (294 linear feet)
Language(s) English
Access

The Serge Prokofiev Foundation Archive is accessed by arrangement with the Project Archivist for the Prokofiev Archive, Natalia Ermolaev, email: ne99@columbia.edu; or the Performing Arts Curator, Jenny Lee, email: jbl100@columbia.edu; phone: 212-854-4048.

This collection is located on-site.

Arrangement

Arrangement

Material is arranged in ten series with several subseries. Series I: Music Manuscripts Subseries I.1: Original manuscripts; Subseries I.2: Photocopies; Subseries I.3: Microfilm copies; Subseries I.4: Digital copies; Series II: Personal Papers Subseries II.1: Personal and Business Correspondence; Subseries II.2: Financial material; Subseries II.3: Miscellaneous; Series III: Published Scores Subseries III.1: Prokofiev Collected Works, Belwin Mills; Subseries III.2: Prokofiev Collected Works, Soviet State Music Publishing House (Gosudarstvennoe Muzykal'noe Izdatel'stvo); Subseries III.3: Prokofiev works, Various publishers, Arranged by genre; Subseries III.4: Prokofiev works, Arrangements; Subseries III.5: Works by other composers; Subseries III.6: Oversize items; Subseries III.7: Duplicate items; Series IV: Concert Programs; Series V: Research Collection Subseries V.1: Books; Subseries V.2: Book Sections; Subseries V.3: General Periodicals: Articles and Issues; Subseries V.4: Three Oranges; Subseries V.5: Sovetskaya Muzyka; Subseries V.6: Opera; Series VI: Audio and Visual Material; Series VII: Photographs; Series VIII: Newspaper Clippings; Series IX: Family Papers Subseries IX.1: Lina Prokofiev Papers; Subseries IX.2: Oleg Prokofiev Papers; Series X: Other Collections Subseries X.1: Georgii Gorchakov Collection; Subseries X.2: Christopher Palmer Collection; Subseries X.3: Lázár Collection; Subseries X:4: Sir Edward Downes Collection; Subseries X.5: Noëlle Mann Collection

Description

Scope and Content

Serge Prokofiev (1891–1953) was a Russian and Soviet composer, pianist and conductor, and seminal figure in the history of twentieth-century music. The Serge Prokofiev Archive (SPA) contains 58 original music manuscripts and approximately 12,000 letters and documents primarily from 1918-1936, the years Prokofiev spent in the West. The SPA also includes an expansive collection of music manuscript copies, published scores, concert programs, scholarly books and articles, photographs, and audio and video material, making it the premier research collection for studying Prokofiev's life, work and legacy

Constituted in successive stages, this impressive collection was gathered by Prokofiev himself, members of his family, and individuals dedicated to the composer's oeuvre. The core consists of Prokofiev's compositions, writings and records from his prolonged stay in the West - mainly the United States, France, and Germany - from 1918 to 1936. It includes 58 manuscript scores, drafts, sketches and notes for works such as Symphony Nos. 3 and 4, his operas The Gambler and The Fiery Angel, the Concerto for Piano Nos. 4 and 5, the ballets Sur le Borysthène and Le Pas d'Acier, the Sonata for Two Violins and String Quartet No. 1. Prokofiev's personal and professional letters and documents from this period, totalling approximately 12,000 items, inlcude correspondence with conductors Albert Coates, Sir Henry Wood, Sergei Koussevitzky,Hermann Scherchen, and Ernest Ansermet; composers Igor Stravinsky and Nikolai Miaskovsky; directors Vsevolod Meyerhold and Alexander Tairov; Ballets Russes impresario Serge Diaghilev; and chess grandmaster Jose Capablanca. Prokofiev meticulously saved bills, accounts and legal papers concerning concerts in the United States, France, Italy, Spain, England, the Soviet Union, and Germany, as well as materials relating to the publication and copyright of his work.

When Prokofiev returned to Moscow in 1936, he took only those papers and manuscripts he judged necessary for his life in the Soviet Union. Everything else was left in the care of close Parisian friends and his publisher, Édition Russe de Musique. Most of this material was eventually deposited at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Paris, where it remained until 2013.

In the 1970s, Lina Prokofiev, the composer's first wife, left the Soviet Union and settled in the West. In the years that followed she devoted considerable energy to tracking down the composer's personal effects and papers and to promoting his legacy. She was able to access, and make photo and microfilm copies of, the Prokofiev material at the BnF. In 1983, she created The Serge Prokofiev Foundation. After Mme. Prokofiev's death in 1989, the musicologist Noëlle Mann continued this work, and in 1994 established the Serge Prokofiev Archive (SPA) at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

For nearly two decades, the SPA at Goldsmiths served as the authoritative research collection on Prokofiev in the West. It contained the copies of the Prokofiev materials at the BnF, as well as copies of other Prokofiev manuscripts, letters, photographs, and documents held in other repositories. The SPA gathered a vast collection of published material on Prokofiev, including some 500 scores (including many rare and first editions), nearly 500 concert programs, and over 400 books (mainly in English and Russian, but also in French and German), periodicals and articles on Prokofiev. The audiovisual collection contains almost 800 audio recordings on CD, LP and cassette, and 65 video/DVD recordings.

The Goldsmiths SPA also acquired archival material from the composer's family and devoted supporters. Lina Prokofiev donated her own personal archive, which includes materials gathered for a planned biography of her husband. Oleg Prokofiev, their younger son, donated material relating to his own work and to his father's music. Smaller archival collections added to the SPA archive include: the Georgii Gorchakov Collection, the Christopher Palmer Collection, the Lázár Collection, the Sir Edward Downes Collection, the Noëlle Mann Collection, and the Reberg Collection.

In 2013, the original Prokofiev material from the BnF and the Goldsmiths SPA were brought together to form one coherent collection, currently on deposit at the Rare Books and Manuscript Library at Columbia University.

The website of the Serge Prokofiev Foundation, www.sprkfv.net, contains further information about the life and works of the composer and the Archive. There is also information about the journal of the Prokofiev Foundation, Three Oranges, including some sample full-text articles, and information regarding subscriptions.

  • Series I: Music Manuscripts

    This series contains complete works, drafts, sketches, and notes for Prokofiev's musical works: 58 original manuscripts, 153 photocopies, 105 microfilm, and 57 digital items. The material is dated as early as 1899 and as late as 1953, with some items containing annotations added after Prokofiev's death.

    The music manuscripts have been thoroughly cataloged to provide information about format, genre, material features, and provenance. Terms include:

    Document type: divides manuscripts based on whether they consist of notated music or text.

    Format: describes the technology used to produce each item as well as its stage of publication (i.e manuscript, typescript, publication).

    Genre: categorizes the musical works themselves (i.e opera, ballet, motion picture music, incidental music, orchestral music, songs with orchestra, symphony, choruses with orchestra, band music, chamber music, instrumental music, songs, piano music).

    Content type: if notated music, describes the way the work is scored: full score, short score, short score with instrumental annotations, piano score, piano score with instrumental annotations, arrangement, original workings, vocal score. If text, divides items into categories: libretto, screenplay, concert program, catalog, notes.

    Part: describes the completeness of each item (i.e. complete, part, fragment, unknown, various).

    Version: describes the stage of creative production shown in each manuscript (i.e. sketch, final, draft).

  • Series II: Personal Papers

    This series contains approximately 12,000 items, mostly personal and professional correspondence, as well as financial records, notes, and miscellaneous documents. Most items are dated from Prokofiev's years living and traveling in Western Europe and America.

  • Series III: Published Scores

    This series contains all published Prokofiev works in various editions, including the collected editions of his works published by Belwin Mills and the Soviet State Music Publishing House. The series also houses twenty-five (25) first editions or otherwise rare scores (dating from 1923 onwards), including the vocal score first edition of Love for Three Oranges, signed and annotated by Prokofiev.

    Terms include:

    Content type: describes the way the work is scored: full score, short score, piano score, vocal score, miniature score, part(s), arrangement.

    Genre: categorizes the musical works themselves (i.e opera, ballet, motion picture music, incidental music, orchestral music, songs with orchestra, symphony, choruses with orchestra, band music, chamber music, instrumental music, songs, piano music).

    Please note that the SPA at Columbia cannot create copies of published works under copyright without written consent of the publisher

  • Series IV: Concert Programs

    607 programs for concerts, operas, ballets and other performances where Sergei Prokofiev's music was performed throughout the world

  • Series V: Research Collection

    This series contains a rich collection secondary scholarly literature related to Serge Prokofiev, his musical or cultural context, and his influence on the history of music. It contains a total of 1,281 items: books, book sections, journal issues, and various types of articles. Special subseries are devoted to "Three Oranges," the journal published by the Serge Prokofiev Foundation from 2001-2016, "Sovetskaya muzyka" (Soviet Music), the main musicologial publication in the Soviet Union from 1933-1991, and "Opera," a monthly British magazine devoted to covering all things related to opera. Languages included are Russian, English, German, French, Japanese, Czech, Italian, Arabic, Dutch, and Norwegian.

    Please note that the SPA at Columbia cannot create copies of published works under copyright without written consent of the publisher

  • Series VI: Audio-Visual Collection

    This series contains pproximately 940 recordings on audio tape, CD, DVD, LP, video tape and in digital format. Included are rare recordings of Prokofiev playing his works, published recordings of Prokofiev's music, interviews, and documentaries.

    Please note that the SPA at Columbia cannot create copies of published works under copyright without written consent of the publisher

  • Series VII: Photographs

    Approximately 600 images from the Prokofiev family photograph collection, covering 1891-1953. Includes the Reberg collection (1900-1920), containing 17 original photographs of Prokofiev. Includes a small number of digital images of productions of Prokofiev's operas, ballets.

  • Series X: Other Collections

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

The Serge Prokofiev Foundation Archive is accessed by arrangement with the Project Archivist for the Prokofiev Archive, Natalia Ermolaev, email: ne99@columbia.edu; or the Performing Arts Curator, Jenny Lee, email: jbl100@columbia.edu; phone: 212-854-4048.

This collection is located on-site.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Serge Prokofiev Archive; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Accrual

Additions are expected

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

The collection is being processed by Natalia Ermolaev, with assistance from Velia Ivanova, Michael Ossorgin, Jennifer Goslee, Vera Senina, Julia Khait, Milica Ilicic, Mark Saccomano, Rachael Lee, and input from Rita McAllister.

Finding aid written by Natalia Ermolaev, 2015-2017

Revision Description

2015-02-24 xml document instance created by Adrien Hilton

2019-03-29 Data adjusted to fit schema necessary for ArchivesSpace import kws

2019-03-29 Series numbers prepended to each box kws

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Scores (documents for music) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Composers -- Soviet Union Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Prokofiev, Sergey, 1891-1953 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Serge Prokofiev was born in Sontsovka, in the Ukraine, in 1891. He played the piano and composed from an early age, and studied with Reinhold Gliere in the summers of 1902 and 1903. He attended the St Petersburg Conservatory from 1904 to 1914, and studied composition, conducting and piano, though his overwhelming desire to develop his own style often brought him into conflict with his teachers. He played his first public performance on 18 December 1908 in St Petersburg at one of the 'Evenings of Contemporary Music', premiered his first full compositions, and graduated in 1914, having won the coveted Anton Rubinstein Prize for the best student pianist. Following his graduation, Prokofiev travelled widely, performing his compositions in Paris, London and the USA. He composed in a wide range of musical genres, including symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets and film music, though the modern nature of his music often led to censure on the part of the music press of the time. He moved to Paris permanently in 1923, after his marriage to Lina Codina. Tours of Soviet Russia in 1927, 1929 and 1932 contributed towards Prokofiev's decision to return to his homeland permanently in 1936, joined by his wife and two children. He developed an intense interest in writing scores for film, beginning with Lieutenant Kizhe in 1933, and for the theatrical stage - Peter and the Wolf was written in 1936 and performed by the State Children's Theatre. He also composed ballets such as Romeo and Juliet, premiered in 1938. Though Prokofiev initially conformed to Soviet ideology, the limitations imposed upon his artistic freedom proved stifling, and he was soon forbidden permission to tour outside the Soviet Union. Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, all senior cultural figures were evacuated from Moscow, including Prokofiev, whose wife and children were left behind for the duration of the war. Lina Prokofiev, being Spanish by birth, was later arrested (1948) and sent to a labour camp for 8 years. In the same year her marriage to Prokofiev was annulled by the state, after which Prokofiev married Mira Mendelson. His composition remained prolific, and the works created during the War proved to be some of his most successful, notably War and Peace, Cinderella, and his Fifth Symphony. Suffering from increasing ill-health, Prokofiev died on 5 March 1953 and was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.