William Russo Music and Personal Papers, 1920s-2002
Russo, William 1928-2003
Strayhorn, Billy (William Thomas) 1915-1967
Leonard, Herman 1923-2010
Ellington, Duke 1899-1974
Chicago Jazz Ensemble
53 cu. ft
Motion pictures (visual works)
Russo (1928-2003) was a renowned American jazz composer, arranger and founder of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble.
Papers and audiovisual materials documenting Russo's career in music. The collection includes Russo's original and published music scores, parts and arrangements; audiovisual materials including recordings of broadcasts of Russo's radio show, performances of Russo's compositions, including performances by Duke Ellington, and film and video recordings of Russo's productions in theater and opera; and personal papers such as correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, publicity files, contracts, etc. Among the most significant items in the collection are experimental jazz arrangements for Stan Kenton in the late 1940s-early 1950s, undated arrangements for Gerry Mulligan, Russo's original arrangement of Duke Ellington's Sacred Concert, scores to his first and second symphonies, and scores and libretti to several early rock operas. The photographs include images of persons such as Ellington, Kenton, and Billy Strayhorn, and photographs by jazz photographers Herman Leonard and William Claxton. 2007 addendum includes correspondence, mostly between Russo and his family; eighteen diaries for 1946-1967 (not all years are present) with sparse entries, some in Italian; and additional music manuscripts, parts, scores and libretti.
William Russo Music and Personal Papers, 1920s-2002, Archives Center, National Museum of American History