Helen Oakley Dance, jazz producer

April 20, 2018

Helen Oakley Dance was a jazz producer, journalist and writer. To the general public, she is not as well-known as her husband, Stanley Dance, also a jazz journalist. Helen Oakley Dance produced early recordings for Duke Ellington, among others, and was the first jazz contributor to Downbeat magazine in the 1930s. She also served in the OSS from 1942-1945.

The Papers of Stanley Dance and Helen Oakley Dance are currently being processed at the Gilmore Music Library’s Special Collections. The Papers will be open for research this summer.

Alla Fox-trot (1920)

October 20, 2017


“Alla” is a fox-trot written by Indiana native Anita Owen (1874-1932), a successful composer of popular songs. While this song appears to reference “Allah”, it is really a dedication to Alla Nazimova, an openly gay Russian actress who immigrated to the U.S. in 1905. This piece of music belongs to the Loomis Temple of Music Collection, Misc. Ms. 55.

The musical life of an Iranian violinist and composer

February 23, 2017


Stephan Karam was a Christian Assyrian-Armenian violinist and composer, born in Iran in 1908. His daughter, Daisy Karam-Read, provided us with an account (see below), of the hardships her father endured as he pursued a career as a violinist in Europe, and then the United States. Interestingly, Karam studied with Paul Hindemith in the late 1940s. (The Gilmore Music Library holds Hindemith’s Papers.) In response to Hindemith urging him to compose, Karam wrote the “Symphonie Iranienne” in 1950.

Biography of Stephan Karam

J. Rosamond Johnson, “Negro Music and Vaudeville”

March 9, 2015

J. Rosamond Johnson (below, on right) was very active and successful in minstrelsy and vaudeville in the early 20th century. In a manuscript prepared for Variety magazine, he writes, “Thanks to Variety for space to say a word about the colored performer, the unique position he has held in the world of entertainment for more than a half century. When, with his slave songs, work songs, and “Darkey Pastimes” he was the source of amusement despite his hard trials with servile conditions on the  plantations of his own southland.” (MSS 21, Box 18 Folder 6).



Isidor Achron’s World Tour with Jascha Heifetz

January 23, 2013

In 1923, pianist Isidor Achron was contacted by the famous violinist, Jascha Heifetz, who offered him a position as his accompanist on a world tour. Here they are in South Africa, Japan, and Mexico.




Humoreskimo (a fox trot)

August 21, 2012

Humoreskimo (a fox trot)

published in 1928 by Sam Fox Publishing Company (Cleveland, Ohio)

J. Rosamond Johnson and “The Red Moon”

March 26, 2012

J. Rosamond Johnson

John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954), an African American composer and performer of vaudeville and musical theater. For the dignified portrayal of Native Americans in his musical, “The Red Moon”, Johnson was made sub-chief of an Iroquois tribe near Montreal, Quebec.

Rutini, Sei Sonate Per Cembalo

November 21, 2011

after 1774 c.f. Torrefranca

Inkle and Yarico

May 13, 2011

Inkle and Yarico is an English comic opera written by Samuel Arnold, and published in 1787. The opera takes place in Barbados (see Mark Howell’s detailed description below).

Les Indes Galantes

April 1, 2011




Les Indes Galantes” is an opéra-ballet composed by Jean-Philippe Rameau in 1735. It was quite popular, having been performed 64 times between 1735 and 1737. The opéra-ballet contained four entrées: 1. Le Turc généreux; 2. Les Incas du Pérou; 3. Les Fleurs; and 4. Les Sauvages. The theme of Les Indes Galantes” revolves around the universality of love.

Les Indes GalantesLes Indes Galantes