Gilbert Ross Papers: 1911-1975
Summary Information
Title: Gilbert Ross Papers
Creator: Ross, Gilbert, 1903-
Inclusive dates: 1911-1975
Extent: 5 linear feet
Abstract:
Professor of music at the University of Michigan, and founder and first violinist with the Stanley Quartet. Correspondence relating to music and musical performance and to his career at the University of Michigan; publications; photographs; scrapbooks containing clippings, programs, correspondence, and an occasional photograph; files relating to his violin performances and work with the Stanley Quartet.
Call number: 85378 Aa 2
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: Susan Avery

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was donated by Gilbert Ross (Donor No. 5720) in February 1976.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., Gilbert Ross Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

Gilbert Ross was an internationally recognized violinist who served as professor of music and first violinist of the Stanley Quartet at the University of Michigan from 1942 until his retirement in 1970.

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1903, Ross was raised in Madison, Wisconsin where his father was a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin. His early musical studies were at the Wisconsin School of Music and the Chicago Musical College. In 1917, at the age of 13, he was awarded the College's Diamond Medal for the Preparatory Department in recognition of his great talent. His principal violin instruction came under the great masters Leon Sametini in Chicago, and later under Leopold Auer in New York.

During the 1922-1923 season Ross toured Germany making his solo debut with the Berlin Philharmonic. Upon his return to the United States in 1923 he presented a debut recital at Town Hall in New York, and in 1925 he performed his London debut. During the coming years he appeared in concerts throughout the United States and Canada performing both as an orchestral soloist and in solo recitals.

Professor Ross' teaching experience began at Cornell University in 1931 as assistant professor of music. From 1935 to 1942 he served as associate professor of music at Smith College. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1942 where he remained until his retirement in 1970. In the summer of 1936, Ross taught at the University of Wisconsin and in the summer of 1960 he taught at Yale University.

While at the University of Michigan, Ross served as a strong proponent of revitalizing the string program and establishing a string quartet in residence. It was under Gilbert Ross' encouragement that the Stanley Quartet was established in 1949. The quartet was named by the Board of Regents in honor of Albert A. Stanley, a leader in the early musical life of Ann Arbor and professor and director of the School of Music from 1889 until his retirement in 1922. The Stanley Quartet was one of the earliest of the ensembles in residence established at schools of music in the United States.

Ross was a member of the quartet from its inception until his retirement in 1970. The membership of the quartet was very stable during Ross' tenure with the group. Gustave Rosseels of Brussels became second violinist in 1951, Robert Courte of Brussels became violist in 1957. Oliver Edel was the group's original cellist, replaced by Jerome Jelinek, a graduate of the University of Michigan, in 1961.

One of the primary functions of the Stanley Quartet was the presentation of new music. Annual commissions of chamber music began in 1949 with prominent composers of the twentieth century comprising the list. The Stanley Quartet gave first performances of over twenty-five works composed by such noteworthy composers as Walter Piston, Quincy Porter, Darius Milhaud, Elliot Carter, and George Crumb. In 1958, the quartet toured South America as part of the United States' International Cultural Program.

Ross' strong commitments to teaching and performance led to his being awarded the Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award in 1957. His dedication to promoting string instrument education and performance, both on an individual basis and through the Stanley Quartet, was a dominant force in building the string program at the University of Michigan School of Music.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Gilbert Ross papers serve to document Ross' growth and development as a violinist, as well as the growth and development of the Stanley Quartet. With the exception of the alphabetical correspondence files the collection is in chronological order, wherever feasible. Some overlap of dates exists in the clippings files as well as the scrapbooks. The papers are arranged in eight series reflecting the various events and activities in Ross' life. These include: Correspondence, Teaching Career, Publications, Violin Performance, Stanley Quartet, Photographs, Scrapbooks and Notebooks, and Printed Music.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Music -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Musicians -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Musicians.
  • Violins.
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Stanley Quartet.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
  • University of Michigan. School of Music.
  • Smith College. String Quartet -- 1937.
  • Stanley Quartet.
  • University of Michigan. Symphony Orchestra -- 1943.
  • Auer, Leopold, 1845-1930.
  • Bassett, Leslie, 1923-
  • Creston, Paul, 1906-1985.
  • Crumb, George.
  • Finney, Ross Lee, 1906-1997.
  • Haas, Karl.
  • Heifetz, Jascha, 1901-1987.
  • Hermann, Emil.
  • Piston, Walter, 1894-1976.
  • Porter, Quincy, 1897-1966.
  • Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968.
  • Szigeti, Joseph, 1892-1973.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Correspondence 1922-1971 [series]

The Correspondence series, which spans the dates 1922-1971, offers much of musical interest. Included are letters from composers Paul Creston, George Crumb, Walter Piston, Quincy Porter and Ross Lee Finney. Extensive correspondence from violin master Leopold Auer as well as correspondence from violinists Jascha Heifitz and Joseph Szigeti and author Upton Sinclair is also included. The topics discussed in this series range from comments on premiere performances of several composer's works to violin performance practices. One folder contains correspondence with rare violin dealer Emil Hermann and documents Ross' purchase of the 1705 "Joset" Stradivarius violin. This folder serves to show how the violin market changed over a thirty-year time span.

University of Michigan correspondence includes School of Music Dean Earl V. Moore from 1941 to 1964 and his successor James B. Wallace from 1950 to 1969. This correspondence provides insights into the music school's interest in the development of its string program and support of Ross. A consequent folder documents Ross' initial resignation submitted in 1964 and dissatisfaction with the music school's direction under Wallace's leadership. This resignation was eventually withdrawn by Ross.

Box   1  
A-D
Box   1  
E-H
Box   1  
J-L
Box   1  
M-P
Box   1  
S-Z
Box   1  
American String Teachers 1964-1965
Box   1  
Allen P. Britton 1962-1971
Box   1  
College Music Society 1969-1970
Box   1  
Oliver Edel 1950-1960
Box   1  
Emil Hermann 1924-1954
Box   1  
Letters of Introduction 1938-1970
Box   1  
Earl V. Moore 1941-1964
Box   1  
James B. Wallace 1950-1969
 
Teaching Career [series]

The Teaching Career series has folders regarding Ross' appointments and resignations from Cornell University and Smith College. University of Michigan materials include correspondence concerning his academic appointment, resignation, and retirement. Also included are materials from various committees Ross served on and reports on music education written by Ross. In addition, one folder documents Ross' appointment at the University of Wisconsin, and two include his appointment at Yale as well as his ensemble course outlines.

Box   1  
Cornell University 1931, 1935
Box   1  
Smith College 1935, 1943
 
University of Michigan
Box   1  
Academic appointment 1937-1970
Box   1  
Committee correspondence 1944-1966
Box   1  
Committee reports 1954
Box   1  
School of Music committees 1962-1966
 
Reports
Box   1  
Doctoral Programs in Musical Performance undated
Box   1  
Extra-Curricular Activities and Services 1946-1968
Box   1  
String Instrument Teaching undated
Box   1  
Resignation 1956-1968
Box   1  
Retirement 1970-1971
Box   1  
Sabbaticals 1960-1966
Box   1  
University of Wisconsin 1936
 
Yale University
Box   1  
Summer Teaching Correspondence 1959-1960
Box   1  
Ensemble Course Notes Summer 1960
 
Publications [series]

Included in the Publications series are articles written by Ross from 1937 to 1975 which, with the exception of one in Travel, appeared in music journals. The content of these articles relates to string instrument teaching.

Box   1  
"The Adequacy of Violin Instruction in High School" 1937
Box   1  
"Teaching Stringed Instruments" Etude March 1944
Box   1  
"Teaching Stringed Instruments" Etude April 1944
Box   1  
"Which Edition of La Folia?" Repertoire October 1951
Box   1  
"The American Folk Tune in Contemporary Violin Music" Repertoire November, 1951
Box   1  
"Pergolisi via Strawinsky" Repertoire January, 1952
Box   1  
"Purpose of a String Quartet" 1953, 1954
Box   1  
Notes December 1955

(reviewer)

Box   1  
"Molawi-Portrait of a Lake" Travel November, 1970
Box   1  
"The Auer Mystique" Michigan Quarterly Review Summer 1975
Box   1  
"Creative Artists at Work" undated
 
Violin Performance [series]

The Violin Performance series includes Performance and Repertory Lists and contains a thirty-two page listing of works performed by Ross in public concerts. This series also includes recital programs and clippings of reviews of Ross' performances prior to his arrival at the University of Michigan.

Box   1  
Performance and Repertory Lists
Box   1  
Recital Programs 1923-1956
 
Clippings and Reviews
Box   1  
Germany 1922-1923
Box   1  
1923-1938
Box   1  
1923-1948
 
Stanley Quartet [series]

The Stanley Quartet material dates from 1942 to 1970 and includes Ross' initial proposal for the establishment of a quartet in residence as well as the Board of Regent's authorization for its establishment. Correspondence for the Stanley Quartet includes radio broadcaster Karl Haas and University of Michigan composer Leslie Bassett. The clippings and programs included document the quartet from its inception as well as a tour of South America taken in 1958 under the auspices of the International Cultural Program of the United States.

Box   2  
Brochures, Biographical Information
Box   2  
Founding: Proposals, Related Correspondence 1942-1966
 
Correspondence
Box   2  
1949-1960
Box   2  
1961-1972
Box   2  
South American Tour 1956-1960
Box   2  
Annual Reports 1952/53-1969/70
Box   2  
Repertoire Lists, Commissioned Works Lists 1949-1970
 
Programs
Box   2  
1949-1970
Box   2  
South American Tour 1958
 
Clippings
Box   2  
Founding 1949-1954
Box   2  
1949-1970
Box   2  
South American Tour 1958
Box   2  
Concert Reviews 1946-1968
Box   2  
Record Reviews 1953-1960
 
Photographs [series]

Three folders of Photographs include photos of Ross ranging from the Chicago Musical College class in 1917, professional photos at various stages in Ross' career, and a series of more casual photos taken in 1958. The Stanley Quartet photographs include professional and rehearsal photos.

Box   2  
Gilbert Ross 1917-1963 (2 folders)
Box   2  
Stanley Quartet 1949-1968
 
Scrapbooks and Notebooks [series]

The Scrapbooks and Notebooks were compiled by Ross during his lifetime. Personal scrapbooks date from 1911 and include Ross' first performances as a child. They span the time until his earliest associations with the University of Michigan and contain programs, clippings, correspondence, and occasional photographs. The scrapbook dated 1925-1931 includes a letter from legendary violinist Leopold Auer. The Stanley Quartet scrapbooks are similar in content to the Ross scrapbooks focusing on programs, clippings, and correspondence. Binders containing programs dating from Ross' earliest performances at Smith College through his final performance with the Stanley Quartet in 1970 are labeled as to their contents and dates.

Box   2  
1911-1922

(photographs also included)

Box   2  
Germany 1922-1923

(much German language material)

Box   3  
1923-1928
Box   3  
1925-1931
Box   3  
1929-1936
Box   3  
Smith College 1936-1940
Box   3  
Smith College, University of Michigan 1941-1946
 
Stanley Quartet Scrapbooks
Box   4  
1946-1952
Box   4  
1953-1957
Box   4  
1957-1962
Box   4  
1962-1970
Box   4  
1968-1970
Box   5  
Spiral Bound Notebook: programs of performances at Smith and Amherst 1935-1941
 
Looseleaf Notebooks: Performances under auspices of University of Michigan
Box   5  
Solo recitals 1942-1967
Box   5  
Orchestral soloist and conductor 1944-1968
Box   5  
Stanley Quartet. 1949-1970 (3 volumes)
 
Printed Music [series]

Printed Music in the Ross Collection primarily reflects his work in editing music for the violin. The editions included here, with the exception of orchestral arrangements, include the scores and parts.

 
Violin and Piano editions edited by Gilbert Ross
Box   5  
Boccherini: Concerto No.3 in G Major
Box   5  
Brahms: Intermezzo (Scotch Cradle Song)
Box   5  
Granados: Anoranza
Box   5  
Granados: La Maja y el Ruisenor
Box   5  
Mozart: Two Easy Minuets
Box   5  
Rameau: Dances from the Operas and Ballets
Box   5  
Scarlatti: Sonata
Box   5  
Schubert: Two Easy Minuets
Box   5  
Tartini: Concerto in D Major
 
Violin and Orchestra editions edited by Gilbert Ross
Box   5  
Tartini: Concerto in A Minor
Box   5  
Tartini: Concerto in F Major
 
Multiple Violin editions edited by Gilbert Ross
Box   5  
Reger: Folk Song, Op. 37, No. 2