Edna Phillips Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Subject Terms

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 1

Box 2

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Finding Aid for Edna Phillips Papers, 1930-1970 | The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

By Noah Lenstra

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Collection Overview

Title: Edna Phillips Papers, 1930-1970Add to your cart.

ID: 12/9/122

Primary Creator: Phillips, Edna (1907-2003)

Extent: 0.5 cubic feet

Arrangement: Unarranged

Date Acquired: 01/15/2004

Subjects: Compositions-Music, Harps

Formats/Genres: Sound Recordings

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Consists of published and unpublished music that was either played by or commissioned by Edna Phillips during  her career as a harpist between 1930 and 1970. Many of the pieces include Phillips' hand-written performance annotations. The collection also includes the October 12, 1945 sound recording of Phillips performing Paul White's "Sea Chanty" with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the conductor, Eugene Ormandy.

Biographical Note

Edna Phillips (January 7, 1907 - December 2, 2003) was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, and became first woman to occupy a principal position with a major American symphony when she joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as first harp in 1930. At the age of seventeen she began studying harp with Florence Wightman in 1924, and three years later enrolled as a piano and harp student at the Curtis Institute of Music in the fall of 1927.  The following year she began her private studies with Carlos Salzedo who taught harp at Curtis and was one of Wightman's teachers.  In 1929 Phillips joined the Philadelphia Orchestra shortly after graduation from Curtis at the age of 22.

Phillips began teaching harp at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music in 1933 and remain with that instituion until 1972 when she retired.  Concerned with the meagerness of solo music repertoire for harp, she commissioned numerious  works for harp from such composers as Harl McDonald, Paul White, Alberto Ginastera, Nicolai Berezowsky, Ernst Krenek, and Erno von Dohnanyi.  Her most famous commission was Ginastera's Concerto for Harp which was premiered by Nicanor Zabaleta and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1965.

Phillips married Samuel Rosenbaum, a prominent attorney and board member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, in 1933.  However she never changed her professional name and was always referred to as "Miss Phillips" throughout the remainder of her career.

Subject/Index Terms


Administrative Information

Repository: The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Acquisition Source: Joan Solaun, Phillips' daughter, Urbana, Illinois

Acquisition Method: Gift

Box and Folder Listing

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[Box 1],
[Box 2],

Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Ray Green, Rhapsody for Harp and Orchestra, July 25, 1950Add to your cart.
Based on the Appalachian mountain ballad "You got to cross that lonesome valley." Contains: 1)Score with conductor's markings (66 pp) and 2) Solo harp part (ink manuscript, 16 pp) with markings by Edna Phillips
Folder 2: Ami Maayani, Two Madrigals for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, and harp, April 1969Add to your cart.
Score (23 pp) with annotation on last page "New York, April 1969."
Folder 3: Paul White, Sea Chanty Quintet, 1941Add to your cart.
Pencil manuscript score.
Folder 4: Paul White, Sea Chanty, Sound recording (two 78 discs), October 24, 1945Add to your cart.
Columbia Masterworks mx-259. Edna Phillips - harp, with Alexander Hilsberg and Sol Ruden, violins; Samuel Roens, viola; Samuel Mayes, cello; and Anton Torello, bass. Recorded under the direction of Eugene Ormandy.
Folder 5: Alexei Haieff, Eclogue 'La Nouvelle Heloise' for Harp and String Orchestra, 1963Add to your cart.
Published score and parts with hand-written annotations
Folder 6: Salvador Bacarisse, Concierto para Arpa e instrumentos de viento, op. 92, undatedAdd to your cart.
Parts with annotation "dedicated to Edna Phillips"

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[Box 1],
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