Harris, Roy. (1898–1979) [Diamond, David. (1915–2005)]
Typed Letter Signed and Original Telegram to DAVID DIAMOND
Two items of correspondence from the American composer Roy Harris to fellow composer David Diamond: one typed letter signed (April 21, 1936; 1 p. on letterhead of Westminster Choir School) telling Harris that "your original ink entry has been found and will be given to Benditski this week"; and one telegram (May 18, 1936): "Reserving tickets for you for entire festival sorry for misunderstanding." Both with the original envelopes. Fine. Letter 8.5 x 11 inches (21.5 x 28 cm), telegram 8 x 6.5 inches (20.5 x 16.5 cm).
In the late 1920's, Roy Harris was one of the many young Americans who received their final musical grooming in the masterclasses of Nadia Boulanger (as did Diamond a few years later.) In 1934, his Symphony ‘1933’ became the first American symphony to be commercially recorded. It was his Symphony No. 3, however, first performed by Serge Koussevitsky in 1939, which proved to be the composer's biggest breakthrough and made him practically a household name. During the 1930s Harris taught at Mills College, Westminster Choir College (1934–1938) and the Juilliard School of Music.
From the collection of David Diamond, considered one of the preeminent American composers of his generation. He enjoyed wide success in the 1940's and 1950's, before the serial and modernist trends largely pushed him into the shadows. The New York Times described him as "part of what some considered a forgotten generation of great American symphonists, including Howard Hanson, Roy Harris, William Schuman, Walter Piston and Peter Mennin."