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The Armin Loos Papers

Call Number: MSS 20

Scope and Contents

The Armin Loos Papers contain sketches, manuscript scores, and published editions of Loos's musical compositions, including orchestral music, chamber works, keyboard pieces, songs, and choral music. The correspondence includes letters to and from Loos and family members, composers, conductors, and musical organizations. Loos's life and work are further documented by: programs and program notes; newspaper clippings; writings by and about Loos; photographs; and miscellaneous items.


  • 1918-1979 (inclusive)


Language of Materials

Materials chiefly in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers by appointment. There are no restricted materials in the collection. Please contact the Special Collections staff to schedule an appointment.

Some of the materials may be stored at the Library's off-campus shelving facility, so researchers should allow at least two business days to have the appropriate boxes paged.

Conditions Governing Use

The Armin Loos Papers are the physical property of the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University. Copyrights belong to the composers and authors, or their legal heirs and assigns.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Armin Loos Papers were established in the Music Library of Yale University by Elizabeth Loos in 1975.


Arranged in 16 series as follows: I. Correspondence. II. Programs and program notes. III. Newspaper clippings. IV. Biographical and analytical notes. V. Published book by Armin Loos. VI. Items relating to the Armin Loos Memorial Fund. VII. Lecture notes by Loos. VIII. School papers. IX. Photographs. X. Diary and travel notes. XI. Poetry and prose. XII. Miscellaneous cards, certificates, etc. XIII. Lists of musical works by Loos. XIV. Musical works by Loos. XV. Musical works copied or arranged by Loos. XVI. Sound Recordings.


6 Linear Feet (12 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Music, correspondence and other papers, photographs, and miscellaneous items by and about the German-American composer Armin Loos (1904-1971)

Biographical / Historical

Mathias Jacob Friedrich Armin Loos, known as Armin, was born in Darmstadt, Germany, on February 20, 1904. Loos's father was a prominent bank director in Dresden and wanted his son to pursue a career in finance. Therefore Armin's education included a degree in jurisprudence from the University of Dresden as well as studies at the Universities of Berlin and Geneva. In the fall of 1924 he studied at the École Supériere de Commerce in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and in the fall of 1926 he attended a 12-week course at Pitman's School (a business school) in London. His musical training included composition lessons with Paul Buttner in Dresden.

In 1928 Loos came to the United States after a tour of Europe. He was to prepare for a career in banking and arrived with recommendations from German bankers in hand. It was in this year that he published a book in Germany entitled The First Mortgage Gold-Bond of the German Mortgage Banks. In spite of these accomplishments Loos decided to remain in New York, marry, and devote his time to composing. Here Loos taught himself the 12-tone system, and in 1938 he won second prize in a W.P.A.-sponsored choral competition in which William Schuman received first prize, David Diamond third, and Elliott Carter fifth. He became a U.S. citizen in 1940.

The Depression made it impossible for Loos to earn a living as a composer, and in 1940 he went to New Britain, Connecticut, to work in his father-in-law's store, Bloomberg's Curtain Shop. He retired in 1962 after his second heart attack and devoted himself to music until his death on March 23, 1971. He composed many works during this period, and revised many older ones. Loos's enthusiasm and talent were far-reaching. He gave music lectures in his home from 1963 to 1970, and wrote program notes for the New Britain Symphony Orchestra.

Unfortunately, Loos heard only a few of his pieces performed. Many of his works have been performed since his death, thanks to the efforts of his widow, Elizabeth Loos. An Armin Loos Memorial Fund was established to promote the performance of his works. Loos's Aquarius '70 was performed by the Berkshire Music Center Orchestra, conducted by Gunther Schuller on August 16, 1979. His Sonata for Violin and Piano (1971) was performed by members of the Composer's Guild for Performance at Columbia University on April 12, 1979.

Register to The Armin Loos Papers
Edited Full Draft
Compiled by Adrienne Nesnow
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Music Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Gilmore Music Library Repository

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