John Davison Papers: Additions, 1939-1999 HC.Coll.839.1
Scope and Contents
The first series, "John Davison Materials," is divided into four sub-series: "Scores," "Recordings and Electronic Media," "Publications about Music," and "Personal Materials."
The "Scores" sub-series is comprised of drafts, manuscripts, and publications of approximately 45 compositions.
The "Recordings and Electronic Media" sub-series includes recordings of some of John Davison's compositions, as well as copies of computer files of his music. These are in the following formats: records, cassettes, compact discs (CDs), floppy disks, and one zip disk.
The "Publications about Music" sub-series includes concert programs and reviews of John Davison's work, ordered chronologically 1939-2000. Materials from the Contemporary Music Project and from the Robert Burns Project, which John Davison completed with John Ashmead and Shoshona Shay are included. In addition, there is a Catalogue of Works compiled by John Davison for his own compositions.
The "Personal Materials" subseries is comprised of items created and collected by Davison, and include school materials, essays and speeches, awards, and correspondence. His school materials include his diploma from the University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music. His essays and speeches include memoria for Alfred Swan, William Reese, and John Ashmead; descriptions and hopes for the Haverford Music Department; and essays written for courses at the Eastman School of Music. His collected correspondence is ordered chronologically, and spans 1948-1999, and includes both personal and professional correspondence.
The second series, "Materials by Others," includes items produced by friends, family, and colleagues, and collected by John Davison. Within the series are nine sub-series: "Music," "Writings," "Vince Roark," "Guy Davenport," "Student Compositions," "Recordings," "Family," "Photographs," and "Miscellaneous Publications."
The sub-series "Music" contains music composed by colleagues of John Davison's, as well as a number of works by Orlando Gibbons. "Writings" includes essays and poetry by friends and colleagues of John Davison's. Vince Roark's work consists of writings and drawings of geometric sculptures. Guy Davenport's work consists of essays, poetry, and drawings. More of both Roark's and Davenport's work may be found in the "Correspondence" sub-series.
The sub-series "Student Compositions" consists of recordings on reel-to-reel tapes of concerts of student compositions, 1972-1979. The "Recordings" sub-series includes an LP recording of the Haverford Glee Club from 1959, as well as other records.
The "Family" sub-series includes genealogical trees created by John Davison and a collection of writings by Walter S. and Eloise Hollett Davison, John Davison's parents.
The "Photographs" sub-series contains photographs of John Davison's family members before his birth, of his friends and colleagues, and of John Davison himself from birth to adulthood. These include a scrapbook he put together as a young boy, and formal portraits of him as a professor at Haverford College.
- Ashmead, John, 1917-1992 (Person)
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Biographical / Historical
In 1959, after obtaining his doctorate, Davison began teaching at Haverford College as the Ruth Marshall Magill Professor of Music. He continued to teach at Haverford until his death in 1999, and saved his students’ compositions throughout this period.
A prolific composer, “Davison's idiom is rooted in the great Western classic-romantic tradition with Baroque, Renaissance, jazz, modernist, and folk elements mixing in at times,” (Dram). He wrote for trumpet, trombone, piano, horn, and violin, in addition to less traditional instruments such as koto, cimbalom and bagpipe. His “compositions are published and recorded [and] have won awards and received numerous performances,” (Catherine Nardiello, Pianist). Among orchestras playing his compositions have been the Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the Susquehanna Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra. The Chestnut Brass Company recorded his Brass Quintet on their CD "Pastime with Good Company," and Albany Records issued an all-Davison CD (Haverford website).
In addition to his composing and teaching, Davison also co-authored a book about the songs of Robert Burns with John Ashmead. Davison also kept a sketchbook, where he drew figures occasionally used for concert programs and posters.
Catherine Nardiello, Pianist. Record (Box 118).
DRAM. “Music of John Davison.” http://www.dramonline.org/albums/music-of-john-davison/notes (accessed October 1, 2009).
Haverford College Music Faculty Website, “In Memoriam” http://www.haverford.edu/musc/faculty/davison.html (accessed December 9th, 2009).
38 Linear Feet (61 boxes)
- John Davison Papers: Additions, 1939-1999
- Elizabeth Peters
- April, 2013
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
Find It at the Library
Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library
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