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The Seymour Shifrin Papers

Call Number: MSS 36

Scope and Contents

The Seymour Shifrin Papers contain sketches, manuscript scores, and published editions of Shifrin's musical compositions, including orchestral works, chamber music, keyboard pieces, choral music, and songs. The Papers also hold autograph manuscripts of Roger Sessions' sonatas for unaccompanied violin and for piano. Seymour and Miriam Shifrin's correspondence includes letters to and from performers, composers, publishers, musical organizations, and family members. Shifrin's life and work are further documented by: programs; newspaper and magazine clippings; papers, addresses, and essays written by Shifrin; photographs; and musical instruments.


  • 1940-1982 (inclusive)


Language of Materials

Materials chiefly in English.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

The Seymour Shifrin 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 Seymour Shifrin Papers were established in the Music Library of Yale University by Miriam L. Shifrin in 1982.


In 9 series as follows: I. Music. II. Correspondence. III. Programs. IV. Clippings. V. Writings. VI. Biographical material. VII. Manuscripts given to Shifrin by Roger Sessions. VIII. Miscellaneous items. IX. Musical instruments.


26 Linear Feet (35 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 additional materials by and about the American composer and educator Seymour Shifrin (1926-1979)

Biographical / Historical

Seymour Jack Shifrin was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 28, 1926. After graduating from the New York High School of Music and Art, he studied privately with the composer William Schuman, and then attended Columbia University, where he received the BA and the MA in 1947 and 1949, respectively. His principal composition teacher at Columbia was Otto Luening. Shifrin taught at Columbia in 1949-1950 and at the City College of New York in 1950-51. The next year, he studied in Paris with Darius Milhaud. In 1952 he was appointed to the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where he remained until 1966, when he became a professor at Brandeis University.

Shifrin's works have been performed by many prominent ensembles and soloists, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Juilliard, Fine Arts, and Galimir Quartets, and Alfred Brendel, Stephen Bishop, Bethany Beardslee, and Jan de Gaetani. He received numerous honors, including the Boston Symphony's Horblit Award, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Koussevitzky, Guggenheim, and Fulbright foundations.

Seymour Shifrin died in Boston on September 26, 1979, at the age of 53.

Register to The Seymour Shifrin Papers
Edited Full Draft
Compiled by Sandra Wehner
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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