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Eastman School of Music Archives
Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections
Sibley Music Library
Eastman School of Music
University of Rochester

Processed by Laura Mayes Schweibacher, Fall 2004–Winter 2005
Revised by Gail E. Lowther, May 2021




Shelf location: A3B 1,1–1,6; 2,3
Extent: 24 linear feet

Biographical Sketch

Although her repertoire encompassed works from the entire historical spectrum of Western classical music, Jan DeGaetani (1933–1989) achieved worldwide prominence as an interpreter of twentieth-century vocal music. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School, where she was a scholarship student of Sergius Kagen. Over the course of her career, DeGaetani appeared as soloist with such ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphonietta, New York Pro Musica, the Waverly consort, the Fine Arts Quartet, the American and New York Brass Quintet, and the Aspen Festival orchestra. George Crumb, Jacob Druckman, Peter Maxwell Davies, Gyorgy Ligeti, and Pierre Boulez all composed important works for Jan DeGaetani.

In addition to her activities as a performer, DeGaetani taught voice at various institutions including the Juilliard School, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Eastman School of Music (1973–89). While at Eastman, DeGaetani won the school’s most prestigious accolades for her teaching, including appointment as a Kilbourn Professor and receipt of the Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Ms. DeGaetani’s husband, the oboist Philip West, was professor of chamber music at Eastman and founder-director of the Eastman InterMusica ensemble. A memorial tribute to DeGaetani, presented in New York under the aegis of the Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music, featured such performers as Pamela Coburn, Renee Fleming, Stephen Oosting, William Sharp, Lucy Shelton, Dawn Upshaw, Gilbert Kalish, Paul O’Dette, Murry Sidlin, Leo Smit, Robert Spillman, Michael Webster, and Philip West.


The Jan DeGaetani Collection was a gift to the Sibley Music Library from Professor Philip West, husband of the late Professor DeGaetani.

Scope and content

The Jan DeGaetani Collection is comprised of five distinct components: (1) her working library; (2) her collection of vocal chamber music (maintained separately); (3) her personal papers; (4) a collection of recordings; and (5) a later accession of scores, papers, and recordings (including several commercial LPs).

The present collection, namely her Music Library, comprises Ms. DeGaetani’s personal performing collection, containing scores of oratorios and other choral works, symphonic works, operas, and songs. (N.B. A separate collection of vocal chamber music has been processed separately and maintained as a discrete collection; see the Jan DeGaetani Vocal Chamber Music Collection.) The music is generously annotated with performance markings, and in many cases, the items bear annotations that transmit the professor’s personal insights or preferences regarding interpretation. In addition to standard repertory, the collection includes works composed expressly for Ms. DeGaetani by colleagues, students, and admirers.

Restrictions on use

The collection donor, the late Professor Philip West, placed no restrictions on the use of the materials of the Jan DeGaetani Collection. Reproduction of its contents will, however, be provided to patrons only in accordance with the provisions of the United States Copyright Law (1976) and its revisions.


As mentioned, the present collection is one of five separately processed collections associated with Jan DeGaetani. Of these, the most closely related to the present collection is the Jan DeGaetani Vocal Chamber Music Collection, which encompasses Ms. DeGaetani’s performing library of vocal chamber music totalling more than 400 items. In addition, the Sibley Music Library possesses a collection of Ms. DeGaetani’s personal and professional papers; a collection of recordings; and a final, smaller accession of scores, recordings, and papers relating to Ms. DeGaetani’s career. To recognize the distinct provenance of each body of material, each has been processed as a separate collection.

Moreover, RTWSC houses the papers of several other performing faculty members, including other former professors from Eastman’s vocal department. Of particular interest are the papers of Tom Paul, a colleague, frequent collaborator, and close friend of Jan DeGaetani; in fact, among Paul’s papers is a file of documents relating to Jan DeGaetani, consisting of programs and press clippings from her performances, obituaries, programs from memorial concerts, two photographs, and drafts of Paul’s eulogy for Ms. DeGaetani. Separately, the Leonard Treash Collection contains a large corpus of opera scores preserving the longtime ESM opera director’s interpretive markings. The Josephine Antoine Collection preserves the papers of another noted soprano who preceded Ms. DeGaetani on the Eastman faculty. Additional collections preserve the papers of Ms. DeGaetani’s Eastman colleagues in other divisions, including the violinist John Celentano and the harpist Eileen Malone. Finally, the department houses the manuscripts of several composers who are represented in Ms. DeGaetani’s music library; accordingly, the collections of Samuel Adler, Warren Benson, Sydney Hodkinson, John La Montaine, and Alec Wilder may also be of interest.


The Jan De Gaetani Collection has been organized into two major sub-groups: the library and correspondence. These are further divided into series, and sub-series as described below.


Ms. De Gaetani maintained an extensive music library of vocal works representing diverse genres, historical periods, and instrumentations. This library contains published scores and performance sets, facsimiles of published scores and parts (often containing layers of performance markings), and MS repro scores and parts. The sub-group is organized into seven main series according to genre/instrumentation, and an eighth series (oversized scores) was created for ease of filing. As described below, series 4 and 5, which contain songs and song collections from before 1960 (Series 4) and after 1960 (Series 5), are further subdivided according to the language (e.g., French, Italian, English, etc.). It is presumed that this somewhat idiosyncratic organization preserves Ms. De Gaetani’s original arrangement.

Series 1: Oratorios, Masses and Cantatas
This series consists of published vocal scores arranged alphabetically by composer and then alphabetically by title.

Series 2: Symphonies and Ballets
This series consists of published vocal and miniature orchestral scores arranged alphabetically by composer.

Series 3: Operas
This series consists of published vocal scores arranged alphabetically by composer. (N.B. Individual numbers from operas, including performance photocopies, are included in Series 4.)

Series 4: Songs and Song Collections, Pre-1960
Sub-series A: Solo songs
This sub-series is comprised of works for solo voice and piano as well as a few works for solo voice, piano, and obbligato instrument. Published scores (including single imprints and song collections) and performance photocopies (i.e., photocopies from a published score with performance markings) are present. Within this sub-series, the individual works have been divided by language in the following order: French, Italian, English, German and other languages; the latter contains works in Hungarian, Russian, Norwegian, and Spanish). Within each grouping, the scores are arranged alphabetically by composer and then alphabetically by title.

Sub-sub-series 1: French solo songs

Sub-sub-series 2: Italian solo songs

Sub-sub-series 3: English solo songs

Sub-sub-series 4: German solo songs

Sub-sub-series 5: Songs in other languages

Sub-series B: Multivoice Works
This sub-series contains published vocal duets (including performance photocopies) as well as one collection of Brahms’s waltzes for four voices (Liebeslieder und Neue Liebeslieder). The works are arranged alphabetically by composer.

Sub-series C: Vocalises
This sub-series, which embraces one folder, consists of 20 single, published imprints of vocalises from the series Répertoire Moderne des Vocalises-Etudes (edited by E. Hettich; published by Alphonse Leduc). The imprints are filed alphabetically by composer surname.

Series 5: Late 20th Century Songs, 1960s-1980s
This series consists of published and unpublished music for solo voice and piano; a few works with small instrumental ensemble accompaniments are also included in this series. The works have been divided into two sub-series according to the language of the text, as indicated below. Many of the works in this series were written for JDG. Within each sub-series, the works are arranged alphabetically by composer and title.

Sub-series A: Works in English

Sub-series B: Works in Other Languages
The works in this sub-series feature texts in French, German, Greek, and Italian.

Series 6: Performance Copies as Filed
Among Ms. DeGaetani’s music library were 14 manila folders labeled “performance copies” that contained photocopies of individual songs from a variety of published and manuscript sources. The folder labels and accompanying notes suggest that many of the folders preserve scores intended for discrete recital programs or recording projects. The works represented in this series are primarily songs for solo voice and piano; five folders contain duets for two voices with piano.

Ms. DeGaetani’s original folder labels have been preserved in the current folder headings, and the contents of the folders have been preserved in their original order.

Series 7: Chamber and Symphonic Scores
This series consists of published and unpublished full scores for voice(s) and instrumental ensemble. The works are arranged alphabetically by composer and then alphabetically by title.

Series 8: Instrumental Works
This series is comprised of two scores: Farewell to Stromness and Yesnaby Ground (a solo piano piece by Peter Maxwell Davies) and Epitaffio (a solo guitar piece by Rudy Shackelford). Both scores are inscribed to Ms. DeGaetani by the respective composer.

Series 9: Oversized Scores
This is not a discrete series but rather was created for ease of filing to accommodate scores whose oversized dimensions require special housing considerations. This series consists primarily of oversized chamber and symphonic scores that otherwise would have been accounted for within series 7 (Chamber and Symphonic Scores).


This series consists of one box containing the programs from the JDG Tribute Concerts (Columbia University, 1992) and one box containing the official correspondence for Eastman School of Music’s Pi Kappa Lambda Chapter for the years 1966–70, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980 through 1984, and 1986–1988. Also present is one folder of correspondence and related documents pertaining to Ms. DeGaetani’s Nonesuch American Songs project.