SC 1995.17

Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections
Sibley Music Library

prepared by
Erica Ann Zumsteg, Jeffrey Zeigler, and Andrus Madsen
Winter 1996






Location: M1A 8,1 – M1B 3,4
56 linear feet


Biographical Sketch

Malcolm Frager was born in St. Louis on January 15, 1935 (according to a typescript autobiography by Frager) and died June 20, 1991 (Berkshire Eagle Friday June 21, 1991). Frager began studying piano at six and debuted with the St. Louis Symphony when only ten years old. When fourteen, he moved to New York City and began study with Carl Friedberg. He became an internationally recognized pianist after winning the Leventritt Award in 1959 and first prize in the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Competition in 1960. Frager pursued an extremely active career around the world and was particularly popular in Europe and the former Soviet Union. In addition to his concert activities, he was also a very active scholar, concerned with the historical study of the piano repertoire, particularly Robert Schumann. In 1967 he rediscovered the manuscript of the original version of Schumann’s piano concerto and in 1978 discovered a cache of manuscript of eighteenth and nineteenth century composers, thought to have been lost during World War II. Frager was also very active as a judge in music competitions and served on the visiting committee of Eastman School of Music.



The collection represents documents generated by Malcolm Frager during the course of his performance career as well as the music library that he compiled. This portion of the Frager library includes only those items identified as of significant historical value. The remainder of the library consists of contemporary scores, has been inventoried separately, and is scheduled for gradual integration in the library’s circulating collection. The library was acquired in 1992 from Morag Frager, the widow of Malcolm Frager.


Scope and Content

The collection represents a superb documentation of the career of a major twentieth-century concert artist. It contains two broad types of materials. The first embraces personal papers relating to Frager’s life and concert career, including programs, reviews, interviews, business contracts and correspondence, research papers, and other related materials. The second group of materials constitutes the early musical editions from Frager’s private library. There are approximately 1,000 items, including many first and rare editions. The music is primarily from the late eighteenth and nineteenth century and for solo piano, but many chamber and orchestral works are also present. The collection is particularly strong in Schumann, Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart. The personal papers provide researchers with material for the detailed study of “business” side of a career as a performing artist. The library presents an extensive body of materials for the study of nineteenth- century piano repertoire and especially for the study of textual traditions in music editing.


Restrictions and Use

No restrictions have been placed on the use of these materials.



The special collections department of Sibley Music Library possesses extensive holdings of piano music cataloged within its rare books collection. It also possesses the Friedrich Kuhlau Collection, the Carl Czerny Collection, and the E. Maude Wilson Collection. The latter is collection of over 200 volumes of nineteenth-century piano music containing approximately 2500 individual works. The collection has been briefly, but not completely, inventoried at the time of this writing, but is available for use.




The Malcolm Frager Collection has been organized into two major sub-groups: personal papers and the library. These are further divided into series, and sub-series as described below.

Sub-Group 1: Personal Papers

Series 1: Programs

This represents an extensive collection of programs of recitals and concerts in which Frager performed. They extend from the later 1950’s up to 1990. The arrangement here has retained Frager’s ordering by year.

Series 2: Publicity
The publicity materials are subdivided into two sub-series:

sub-series A: Reviews
This includes reviews of Frager’s performances from his earliest professional career till its end. Frager’s original arrangement, geographical, is retained.
sub-series B: Interviews
This includes interviews of and articles on Frager beginning in his childhood in 1944. These materials were mostly accumulated together by Frager, but not arranged by him. They have been arranged chronologically here.

Series 3: Business Papers

sub-series A: Contracts
Included here are the contracts that Frager negotiated for his performances. The original chronological ordering is retained.
sub-series B: Financial Records
This embraces the multifarious financial records, excluding performance contracts, relating to Frager’s performance career. The original ordering is retained, which is alphabetical by the name of the agency and then chronological.

Series 4: Correspondence

The correspondence covers Frager’s professional, personal, and research activities and contacts. Frager did not organize his correspondence. It has been drawn together and arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent.

Series 5: Competitions

Frager served as an adjudicator of many competitions and festivals. Papers relating to these have been drawn together here and arranged alphabetically by name. Also included here are some materials relating to the 1960 Queen Elizabeth of Belgium competition, which Frager won.

Series 6: Biographical

sub-series A: Scrapbooks
During his early career Frager kept scrapbooks of materials relating to his activities. These materials are large duplicated in the programs and publicity series. The scrapbooks have been arranged chronologically.
sub-series B: Personal Documents
These are materials relating mainly to the youth and education of Frager. They are arranged by broad type.
sub-series C: Photographs
The photographs pertain mainly to Frager’s performance career, and most were for publicity purposes. They cover 1959 to 1993 and are arranged chronologically.
sub-series D: Artifacts
This embraces some three dimensional objects contained in the collection.

Series 7: Recordings

This represents a small number of recordings of Frager’s performances, almost exclusively from his very early career. Also included are some recordings by other artists. When possible they have been arranged chronologically.

Series 8: Research Papers

sub-series A: Articles
This is a small collection of articles of various types that were collected by Frager, mostly in connection with his research of pieces he was performing. They have been arranged alphabetically by title.
sub-series B: Schumann Research
This embraces materials, music and notes, relating to Frager’s performing edition of the Schumann piano concerto.
sub-series C: Mozart Research
This embraces materials relating to Frager’s work on the Mozart piano concertos.
sub-series D: Tschaikowsky Research
This embraces materials relating to Frager’s work on the Tschaikowsky piano concertos.
sub-series E: Weber Research
This embraces materials relating to Frager’s work on the Weber piano concerto.
sub-series F: L. van Beethoven Research
This embraces materials relating to Frager’s work on the Beethoven piano concertos.
sub-series G: C.P.E. Bach Research
This embraces materials relating to Frager’s work on C.P.E. Bach concertos.
sub-series H: Carl Friedberg Research
This represents a small collection of music relating to Frager’s studies with Carl Friedberg.
sub-series I: Inscribed Music
This represents a small collection of musical publications that were inscribed by the composer to Malcolm Frager. They have been arranged alphabetically by composer.
sub-series J: Reproductions
This represents a small collection of reproductions for various musical works. They have been arranged alphabetically by composer.

Dealers Catalogs

This series includes a random variety of catalogs from antiquarian dealers with whom Frager dealt in the course of acquiring his library.

Oversize Box

This is not a distinct series but indicates the location of various items too large for housing with their respective series. Separation forms have been filed in the location from which items have been removed.


Sub-Group 2: Library

Series 1: Single imprints

This series includes Frager’s library of music not contained within a binders collection. The items are first arranged alphabetically by composer and then by their catalog or Opus number if they have one. Please note that the last folder in this series contains an unidentified Passion service, possibly of Slavic origin, that was printed in 1721.

Series 2: Binders Collections

This series contains the binders collections from Frager’s library. Each of the first 41 volumes contain only the works of individual composers. Therefore, the first part of this series is arranged alphabetically by composer. The remainder of the series is not arranged in any particular order.

Series 3: Manuscripts

This represents a small collection of manuscripts. They are not arranged in any particular order.