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Special Collections 2010/8/16

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

Processed by Thomas J. Mueller, 2012-14;
Jacek Blaszkiewicz, summer 2015;
and Austin Thomas Richey, fall 2015;
Revised by David Peter Coppen, winter-spring 2017






Shelf location: (boxes 1-72) C3B 12,6 : 14,7; (box 73) M3A 7,4
Physical extent: 45 linear feet

Biographical Sketch

Organist Mario Salvador, A.B., Mus.M., Mus.D., A.A.G.O., was born on August 13th, 1917 in San Pedro Da Macoris, Dominican Republic. At the age of ten he gave his first public organ concert at Kimball Hall in Chicago. In 1931, aged fourteen, he was sent to Rome for studies in organ and theory at the Pontifical School of Sacred Music; there he also studied piano under Boccacini, a pupil of Liszt. He received the Licentiate Degree in both organ and Gregorian Chant from the Pontifical School in 1933.

Returning to the United States, the young completed his academic education at Loyola University (Chicago), graduating as an honors student in 1940. During his Loyola University enrollment he continued his musical studies at the American Conservatory of Music (Chicago), where he studied under such instructors as Frank VanDusen, Leo Sowerby, and Wilhelm Middelschulte, and eventually received his Master of Music in both organ and composition. Ultimately, he pursued doctoral studies at the Université de Montréal, where he was awarded the Doctorate in Music summa cum laude in 1949.

In 1940 he was appointed organist and choir director of the St. Louis Cathedral, originally called the St. Louis New Cathedral (with address at 4431 Lindell Boulevard; and later known as the Cathedral-Basilica), successor cathedral to the Basilica of St. Louis, King of St. Louis (also known as the Old Cathedral, with address at 209 Walnut Street). His musical-liturgical duties at the Cathedral were interrupted by World War II, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force, serving from 1942 until 1946. In 1945 he was sent with the Army University Training Command to teach in Florence, Italy, where he also gave a series of organ recitals at the Santa Croce Basilica. He returned to the St. Louis Cathedral after his Army discharge in 1946, remaining there until his retirement in 1992, and holding the title of Organist Emeritus thereafter. His many years of service in St. Louis included presiding over regular series of organ and choral concerts at the Cathedral. One of his signature achievements as organist-choir director was the founding of the Pontifical Boys Choir of St. Louis (128 voices altogether), which supplemented the Cathedral’s regular choirs of men and boys on special occasions.

Significantly, Dr. Salvador lent his expertise to the designing of the new Kilgen Liturgical Organ at the St. Louis Cathedral. He gave the dedicatory recital on the new organ on October 13th, 1949, and later directed the re-dedication concert for the newly rebuilt organ on July 26th, 1984.  On the Kilgen organ he recorded for the “Historical Series” of the Gregorian Institute of America.

In early 1954 he made two concert tours of South America.  At home in the U.S., he performed extensively in the Midwest on a regular basis, and also performed in many other cities across the U.S., including New York City; Buffalo, New York; Tucson, Arizona; Shreveport, Louisiana; Lexington, Kentucky; Knoxville, Tennessee; Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas; Mobile, Alabama; and Philadelphia, Miami, and Los Angeles. He was commissioned to give dedicatory recitals on numerous new instruments. His vast concert repertory embraced the music of composers across several centuries, from Frescobaldi to Camil van Hulse. His favored recital format was a line-up of many single-movement works of varying periods and styles, eschewing renditions of multi-movement works in their entirety.

In addition to his roles as concert organist, cathedral organist, choir director, Dr. Salvador composed numerous works—for organ, for choir, and for orchestra. He taught at Fontbonne College (St. Louis) and at Webster University (St. Louis), and also served as music director of the Sacred Heart Program in St. Louis. In his capacity as an educator, he wrote two books: A Method of Organ Playing (1949), and Textbook on Harmony (1950).

In addition to receiving numerous awards for his performing, teaching, and composing, Dr. Salvador was appropriately recognized for his devoted service to the Roman Catholic Church and to the Archdiocese of St. Louis. In 1960 he received the Bene Merenti Medal from Pope John XXIII in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Church music. In 1978 he was made a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, the oldest lay organization in the Roman Catholic Church. In 1990 he was presented with the Order of St. Louis King Award for his service to the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He was cited in Who’s Who of Music and in Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans, and was named a fellow of the International Biographical Association.

In celebration of his 80th birthday, Dr. Salvador gave a recital at St. Anne Church in Rochester, New York on September 19th, 1997.

Dr. Salvador and his wife Isabelle Branham Salvador had three children: Patricia Ann Duffy, Charles L. Salvador (1947-2006), and Joseph E. Salvador. Dr. Salvador passed away at home in St. Louis on July 29th, 1999, aged 82, and was survived by his wife Isabelle, their three children and five grandchildren, and his three sisters and one brother. Mrs. Salvador passed away in 2013. Throughout their marriage Mrs. Salvador had played an active role in managing and promoting her husband’s concert career.


The Mario Salvador Collection was the generous gift of the Salvador family, rendered by Mrs. Isabelle Branham Salvador, and personally delivered to the Sibley Music Library by Joseph E. Salvador in 2010. Additional items were delivered to the Library in 2012 by Mrs. Salvador and her grandson, Joseph E. Salvador, Jr.; and further items were sent to the library by Joseph Salvador in 2015.

Scope and Content

The Mario Salvador Collection constitutes a large collection containing extensive amounts of published sheet music for organ, for piano, for chorus, and for instrumental ensembles; photographs, correspondence, and other personal papers; a large collection of books from Dr. Salvador’s personal library; and many documents reflecting Salvador’s professional career as a church musician, organ recitalist, and educator.

The collection’s most extensive single area is the large amount of published organ music that Salvador amassed during his professional career as a church musician and recitalist. The collection includes holdings of bibliographically rare items and collections; the collection’s particular strengths include European music (especially Dutch, German, Austrian, and Italian) of the inter-war period; German pedagogical works of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; several out-of-print works by Mexican composers, and various out-of-print works by American and Canadian composers, such as Seth Bingham, Leo Sowerby, and Eric De Lamarter.

A second significant area of interest are the documents, photographs, concert programs, manuscripts of original compositions, publicity and press clippings, and correspondence pertaining to Dr. Salvador’s service at the Cathedral (now Cathedral-Basilica) of St. Louis in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. His five decades’ service as the Director of Music encompassed numerous significant events, including the installation of a new organ, the implementation of vernacular liturgy in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, the founding of a significant Christmas concert series, and several major diocesan events, such as the installations of new Bishops, Archbishops, and Cardinals. A special component here is a gathering of documents with focus on the Cathedral and, in particular, on the Cathedral’s Kilgen organ, which Dr. Salvador helped to design.

A third area of interest pertains to Dr. Salvador’s performing career; in particular, a large sequence of concert programs from dating the 1930s through the 1990s has been preserved. In many instances, the performing scores used at specific concerts can be identified in the body of published organ music, potentially assisting in linking particular registration schemes in the scores with specific recital performances.

The collection also richly portrays the human side of this accomplished professional: his family life, his ardent Catholic faith, his dedication to his congregation and to his students, and his contributions to civic and community life in the city of St. Louis.


There are no restrictions on access to the collection. Concerning reproductions in whatever format, the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law and its revisions do attend all requests for reproductions of collection material. In particular, the surviving family members of the late Dr. Salvador continue to hold copyright over his unpublished manuscripts. The written permission of all copyright holders must be obtained before RTWSC will grant reproductions.


Other prominent organistic holdings within RTWSC are the collections of Eastman School faculty members Russell Saunders (1921-1992) and Michael D. Farris (1956-1999). RTWSC also holds a small collection of pedagogical papers of ESM faculty member Harold Gleason (1892-1980). Shortly after the gift of the Mario Salvador Collection, RTWSC also received the Rolande Falcinelli Archive, comprising the papers of composer-pedagogue-performer Rolande Falcinelli (1920-2006). Among RTWSC’s celebrated collection of rare exemplars are first editions and/or other early editions of musical works and/or original writings by J. S. Bach, J. C. Bach, Georg Muffat, and Girolamo Diruta.


The Mario Salvador Collection has been subdivided into four broad sub-groups, which are further subdivided into the series and sub-series described below


This sub-group constitutes the greater part of Dr. Salvador’s working library of published music, subdivided into nine series based on performing forces and format. (Certain unmarked copies of non-organ repertory were catalogued separately and collated with the Sibley Music Library’s open stacks.) A tenth series has been created around the presentation copies of works of other composers that were sent to Dr. Salvador. The holdings of the ten series have been arranged as indicated below:

Series 1: Works for solo organ by individual composers

Arranged alphabetically by composer surname. Further, the works of more prolific composers—those being Alexandre Guilmant, Sigfrid Karg-Elert, Flor Peeters, Max Reger, Charles Tournemire, Camil Van Hulse, Louis Vierne, and Charles-Marie Widor—are arranged in order by their respective opus numbers.

Series 2: Collections of works for solo organ by multiple composer

Arranged alphabetically by title—that is, by the first principal keyword of each title, omitting consideration of definite and indefinite articles)

Series 3: Collections of works for solo organ by multiple composers

This series is comprised of volumes that all belong to one particular publication series; they have been arranged in numeric order by volume number.

Series 4: Organ methods and pedagogical works

Arranged alphabetically by author surname.

Series 5: Self-prepared editions of organ repertory

Arranged alphabetically by composer surname.

Series 6: Binder’s collections of organ repertory

There are 15 collections in all; owing to their highly individual selection of content, no specific order has been imposed.

Series 7: Works for organ with other instruments

Arranged alphabetically by composer surname.

Series 8: Works for organ with orchestra

Three items in all; arranged alphabetically by composer surname.

Series 9: Works for solo piano

Arranged alphabetically by composer surname.

Series 10: Presentation copies of works by other composers

Arranged alphabetically by composer surname.


This sub-group is comprised of original compositions in manuscript and in publication, together with Dr. Salvador’s transcriptions and arrangements of music by other composers. The holdings of Series 1-3 are in manuscript; Series 4 accounts for published works. The subdivision into series was imposed after the collection had been received.

Series 1: Liturgical music in manuscript

The holdings of Series 1 are subdivided according to intended use, whether for the Mass or for some other liturgical occasion, or else not liturgical.

Sub-series A: Propers of the Mass
This sub-series is subdivided into seven sub sub-series following the order of the Mass, as follows:
(i) Agnus Dei; (ii) Gloria; (iii) Responsorial Psalms; (iv) Alleluias and/or Gospel Acclamations; (v) Sanctus; (vi) Agnus Dei; and (vii) Acclamations.

Sub-series B: Mass settings for specific occasions
Settings of the complete Mass which were intended for some specific occasion; they are arranged in alphabetical order by their given titles.

Sub-series C: Other choral/vocal settings
That is, settings of other liturgical movements not functionally associated with the celebration of the Mass; they are arranged in alphabetical order by their given titles.

Series 2: Other sacred music (non-liturgical) in manuscript

That is, sacred music in manuscript that is not functionally a part of the liturgy, whether song, carol, and/or anthem; these works (five altogether) are arranged alphabetically by their given titles.

Series 3: Instrumental works in manuscript

Arranged alphabetically by their given titles.

Series 4: Published works

Arranged alphabetically by title.


 Dr. Salvador’s extensive library of monographs and pamphlets has been arranged in eleven series based on broadly established thematic areas; the arrangement was imposed after receipt of the collection. The items within each series are herein cited in alphabetical order by author surname or title.  

Series 1: Liturgical music books

Series 2: Organ methods

Series 3: Literature on Roman Catholicism

Series 4: Hymnals; Books on singing and religion

Series 5: Literature on Roman Catholic theology

Series 6: Music reference

Series 7: Music history; Piano methods; Catholicism; Who’s Who

Series 8: French language and literature; Latin language

Series 9: Church music

Series 10: Science, history, and culture

Series 11: Music history


This sub-group comprises an extensive body of Dr. Salvador’s professional and personal papers, subdivided into the seven series listed below. Arrangement within each series has been imposed as indicated.

Series 1: Publicity and press clippings

The publicity materials have not been deliberately arranged. The press clippings have been arranged chronologically.

Series 2: Diplomas, Degrees, Certificates, Recognitions, and Memorials

Altogether, these documents commemorate milestones achievements in educational attainment, professional recognition, and life milestones; for the most part, they have been arranged chronologically.

Series 3: Documents pertaining to the St. Louis Cathedral and its organ

These documents have not been deliberately arranged.

Series 4: Personal papers, correspondence, and original writings

For the most part, these documents have been arranged chronologically.

Series 5: Concerts programs

Arranged chronologically.

Series 6: Photographs

This series constitutes a wealth of photographic coverage—not only of Dr. Salvador’s career, but in addition, of the life of the Salvador family life over the years. Overall, the photographs have been subdivided into five sub-series based on their respective dimensions, but apart from that physical consideration intended for ease of filing, no attempt has been made to impose a thematic arrangement on the holdings.

Series 7: Sound recordings

No deliberate order imposed; this series embodies a sampling of the commercial albums from the Salvador family collection, reflecting organ music and other music, together with content of Church significance; six items feature Dr. Salvador as organist and/or conductor).