Fonds UBCA-ARC-1401 - Elliot Weisgarber fonds

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Elliot Weisgarber fonds

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  • Multiple media

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Physical description

6.86 m of textual records and other materials.

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Biographical history

Clarinetist, composer and ethnomusicologist Elliot Weisgarber (December 5, 1919 - December 31, 2001) was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He studied clarinet and composition at the Eastman School of Music where he earned his Bachelor and Masters degrees in music as well as a Performer's Certificate in clarinet. Following his graduation in 1943, Weisgarber spent one year teaching at Colby Junior College in New Hampshire before moving on to a sixteen-year career at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina. In 1960, he was invited to join the faculty of the newly-formed music department at the University of British Columbia. Weisgarber's relocation to the west coast helped nourish his well-developed interest in Asian cultures and he spent a great deal of time in Japan studying the classical music of that country and, in particular, developing expertise in shakuhachi (vertical bamboo flute) playing. He retired from UBC in 1984. Weisgarber established the music publishing firm Elliot Weisgarber Associates in 1994 with his daughter Karen Suzanne Smithson and remained active as a composer until his death. When he died in 2001 at the age of 82, Weisgarber had created a catalogue of 450 compositions including chamber music, songs, orchestral works and scores for film, radio and television.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of audio recordings of Weisgarber compositions or performances (1957-1999); musical scores, drafts and sketches (1941-1996); and research materials generated or accumulated by Weisgarber in the preparation of an unpublished biography of Aurelio Giorni, a manuscript entitled “Flute Music of Zen,” and an article "The Honkyoku of the Kinko-Ryu: Some Principles of its Organization" (1968). It also consists of family and personal records, including correspondence, fictitious and biographical writings and journals written by Elliot, Beth, and their family.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Received by the University Archives in several accessions (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022) from Bethiah Weisgarber and Karen Smithson.


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Location of originals

Photographs have been assigned series UBC 188.1/.

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Restrictions on access

File 54-7 is restricted until 2050

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Physical description

Includes 89 audio tapes and reel-to-reel, 20 phonograph records (33's, 45's and 78's), 1 film (16 mm), 305 photographic prints, and 141 photographic negatives.

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