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David Van Vactor Music Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MS-1942

The David Van Vactor Music Collection contains the personal collection of music scores and teaching materials from David Van Vactor's career as a flutist and conductor, most notably from his time as the conductor of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (1947-1972) and professor at the University of Tennessee (1947-1976). This collection, which is divided into three series, contains his own works as well as his library of works by other composers, both published and handwritten, audio tapes of rehearsals and concerts, correspondence letters, articles and programs, and other papers.

Series I: Van Vactor compositions, arrangements, personal articles, and notes, 1926-1984, undated -- Contains David Van Vactor's own compositions and original scores, arrangements of other composers' works, sketches, correspondence and personal notes, articles, programs, and other papers relating to his career as a teacher as well as his personal life.

Subseries A: M001-M132, Original scores/manuscripts, 1926-1984, undated -- Original scores and manuscripts composed by David Van Vactor, both handwritten and published.

Subseries B: Oversize original scores/manuscripts, 1969-1980, undated -- Oversize original scores and manuscripts composed by David Van Vactor, handwritten and photocopies.

Subseries C: M133-M157, Arrangements of works by other composers, 1934, undated -- Handwritten arrangements of scores by other composers.

Subseries D: M158-M174, Instrumental arrangements of songs, 1934 March 24-25, undated -- Handwritten sketches and scores of arrangements of songs by other composers.

Subseries E: M171-174, Education, writing contests, sketches, 1928-1981, undated -- Sketches, teaching materials, and writing contests from David Van Vactor's career.

Subseries F: Van Vactor conductor copies of works performed, 1933-1982 -- Copies of works with performance notes written in them.

Subseries G: Scores of other composers - former students or with personal notes, 1920-1981 -- Works by other composers that are unpublished or have personal notes written in them.

Subseries H: Articles, correspondence, reviews, programs, 1935-1996 -- Newspaper articles and reviews, concert programs, letters and correspondence, and related papers.

Series II: Personal collection of published scores and manuscripts by other composers, books, magazines, 1890-2007 -- Contains David Van Vactor's personal collection of published scores, books, and serials as well as manuscripts and copies of other composers' work.

Subseries A: Ink scores, copies of other composers' work, 1925-1984 -- Ink scores, parts, and photocopies of other composers' works, arranged alphabetically by composer.

Subseries B: Serials, 1930-1952 -- Music journals and magazines containing published pieces by other composers.

Subseries C: Published collections, etudes, 1906-1978, undated -- Contains published collections of multiple pieces as well as etude works, mainly written for flute.

Subseries D: Published scores, 1862-1982, undated -- Van Vactor’s personal collection of published scores often contain the composer’s markings for performance or conducting, arranged alphabetically.

Subseries E: Books, repertoire catalogs, 1922-1993 -- Published books and repertoire catalogs, including David Van Vactor's own catalog.

Series III: Audio, 1942-1979 -- Contains audio reels and recordings of concerts and rehearsals conducted by David Van Vactor, arranged in ascending numerical order, four copies of copyrighted recordings of Symphony #5 sent by Roger Rhodes, and two catalogs.

Subseries A: VV001-VV785 Audio reels, 1942-1979 -- Reel-to-reel recordings of rehearsals, concerts, and broadcasts performed by band, orchestra, chorus, small groups, and soloists.

Subseries B: Roger Rhodes recordings, 1978-2006, undated -- Four copies of recordings of Symphony #5 from 1978-1980 sent by Roger Rhodes as well as two copies of "Episodes - Jesus Christ" by David Van Vactor performed by the Knoxville Choral Society and Orchestra in 2006.

Subseries C: Van Vactor audio catalog records, 1960, undated -- Van Vactor's index card file catalog and catalog journal for his recorded concerts.

Dates

  • 1890-1994

Language

Most of the material in this collection is in English. Some text and notation in Spanish, Italian, French, Latin, and German.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

56 Linear Feet

Abstract

The David Van Vactor Music Collection contains the personal collection of music scores and teaching materials from David Van Vactor's career as a flutist and conductor, most notably from his time as the conductor of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (1947-1972) and professor at the University of Tennessee (1947-1976). This collection, which is divided into three series, contains his own works as well as his library of works by other composers, both published and handwritten, audio tapes of rehearsals and concerts, correspondence letters, articles and programs, and other papers.

Biographical/Historical Note

David Van Vactor was born to Daniel Ellsworth and Mathilda (Fenstermacher) Van Vactor in Plymouth, Indiana on May 8, 1906. He completed three years of pre-medical education at Northwestern University before transferring to the School of Music, where he earned his BA (1928) and MA (1935) degrees. Additionally, he studied in Europe at the Wiener Akademie in Austria (1929), and at L'Ecole Normale in Paris (1931). In 1932, Van Vactor began his professional music career as a flutist with the Chicago Symphony, where he remained for thirteen years. During his time with the Chicago Symphony, Van Vactor served as the Symphony's Assistant Conductor in 1933 and 1934 and earned the Frederick Stock Scholarship in conducting in 1939. Stock then mentored him until Stock's death in 1942. During this time, Van Vactor also taught theory and conducted the chamber orchestra at his alma mater, Northwestern University, from 1936-1943.

In 1943, Van Vactor moved to Kansas City, where he worked as the assistant conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra and as the Head of the Department of Theory and Composition in the Conservatory of Music until 1947. Van Vactor also undertook several tours to South America with the sponsorship of United States Department of State and the League of Composers during this time. He made one tour as part of a woodwind quintet (1941) and two others as the visiting conductor of the Rio de Janeiro Orchestra (1945) and Santiago de Chile Orchestra (1946). He also served as a visiting professor at Chile University during the 1945-1946 school year, where he had a profound impact on many young composers.

Van Vactor came to Knoxville in 1947 to conduct the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, where he remained until his retirement 25 years later. That same year, he also founded the University of Tennessee's Fine Arts Department (now the School of Music) where he taught until 1976. During his time in Knoxville, Van Vactor composed several original pieces and received a Fulbright grant in 1957 to study comparative reactions of school children to educational concerts. "Every Child May Hear," a book by David Van Vactor and Katherine D. Moore (The University of Tennessee Press, 1960), describes the findings of this project. Among his many awards, Van Vactor was named "Composer Laureate of Tennessee" by the State Legislature in 1975 and was named Professor Emeritus of Composition and Flute at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville upon his retirement. Van Vactor died in Los Angeles, California on March 24, 1994. He was survived by his wife, Virginia (Landreth) Van Vactor (1911-1995), and two children, Raven Harwood (nee Adriaen Virginia) and David Landreth Van Vactor.

Arrangement

The arrangement currently consists of 34 flat boxes of scores and handwritten manuscripts, 28 boxes of audio recorded reels, (56 linear feet of undescribed material). The current arrangement follows the David Van Vactor Collection Catalog (1993) put together by music librarians. However, one box of oversize manuscripts is not in the preceding order. Duplicates of published scores will be returned to the music library for processing and circulation. Several other accessions will be merged into the collection.

The original arrangement was maintained and materials that were published or acquired after the catalog was completed in 1993 have been added in where appropriate. Series I includes manuscripts and published scores. Series II includes scores and manuscripts of other composers. Series III includes performance recordings.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480