Old Dominion University Libraries

John Duffy Papers | Music Special Collections

By Klaira Batten and Jessica Mirasol

Collection Overview

Title: John Duffy PapersAdd to your cart.

Collection Identifier: DCR MG 15

Primary Creator: Duffy, John, 1928-

Extent: 44.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 01/24/2011

Biographical Note

John Duffy, considered "one of the great heroes of American music," has composed more than 300 works for symphony orchestra, opera, theater, television and film. He has received many awards for his contributions to music: two Emmys, an ASCAP award for special recognition in film and television music, a New York State Governor's Art Award, and the (New York City) Mayor's Award of Honor for Arts and Culture. He is also the recipient of the American Music Center's Founders' Award for Lifetime Achievement. As founder and president of Meet the Composer, an organization dedicated to the creation, performance, and recording of music by American composers, he initiated countless landmark programs to advance American music and to aid American composers.

John Duffy grew up in the Bronx, one of fourteen children of Irish immigrant parents. As a young man, he studied composition with noted composers Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, Luigi Dallapiccola, Solomon Rosowsky and Herbert Zipper concurrently with his career and early successes in the theater. He credits Rosowsky for insisting uncompromisingly on learning the craft of music and developing the discipline and patience necessary to the art.

His profound regard for language, its beauties and its powers, suited him ideally for his work in theater, television and film. He acquired a reputation early on as a first-class interpreter of ideas and emotion, a brilliant orchestrator, and a sensitive colleague.

Duffy's appointment, in his twenties, to the post of music director, composer and conductor of Shakespeare under the Stars, was the first in a succession of similar posts at the Guthrie Theater, the Long Wharf Theatre, and the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, and for NBC and ABC television in New York City. The culmination was his landmark music for the production of Macbeth at John Houseman's American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut.

He composed some of his notable theater scores for Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of The Ginger Man, Macbird, Mother Courage, Playboy of the Western World, and many Shakespeare plays, including his memorable collaboration with John Houseman.

Duffy also has composed distinguished concert music for a variety of commissions, among them: A Time for Remembrance (cantata for soprano, speaker and orchestra), commissioned by the U.S. Government to mark the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor; Symphony No. 1: Utah, commissioned by the Sierra Club to draw attention to preserving and protecting public lands in southern Utah; Freedom Overture, commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall; Concerto for Stan Getz and Concert Band; and the Emmy Award-winning score for the nine-hour PBS documentary, narrated by Abba Eban, "Heritage and the Jews."

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune call his music, "haunting, memorable, and brilliant." Recordings of his music appear on the CBS, Albany, L.A. TheatreWorks, and Koss labels. His most recent opera, Black Water, libretto by Joyce Carol Oates, premiered in Philadelphia in 2001, followed by performances in Los Angeles, Lincoln Center and Cooper Union Hall in New York City, as well as performances in Maine. Mark Swed, chief music critic for the L.A. Times, says, "…at some point the listener no longer feels like a bemused bystander, watching yet another episode of a Washington soap opera, and becomes caught up in a real opera of universal tragedy. The ending is devastating – an excellent tonic for the nightly news."

John lives in Camden, Maine. He is currently at work on a composition for string quartet with narration, based on writings of Mark Twain, commissioned by the Howard Hanson Institute of American Music at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, for the Ying Quartet. He has been featured on the television programs, CBS Sunday Morning and ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

Administrative Information

Repository: Music Special Collections

Access Restrictions: All materials are available for room use only.

Use Restrictions: Copyright has not been assigned to the University Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the University Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Acquisition Source: John Duffy

Acquisition Method: Gift

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Box Number [insert number], John Duffy Papers, Old Dominion University Libraries, F. Ludwig Diehn Composers Room, Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center, Norfolk, VA

Processing Information: Materials were processed by Brian Rinaldo, Klaira Batten, and Jessica Mirasol in 2011-2012.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Scores],
[Series 2: Sketchbooks, Exercises, Journals, & Reference Materials],
[Series 3: Publicity,Programs & Legal],
[Series 4: Composers' Instituite],
[Series 5: Education, Speeches, & Awards],
[Series 6: Contacts, Travel, Correspondence, & Personal Interest],
[Series 7: Recordings],
[Series 8: Photographs],
[All]

Series 1: ScoresAdd to your cart.
Musical pieces by John Duffy; includes rough drafts, featuring hand notation, as well as final copies of finished scores suitable for conducting. Many of the pieces also have sheet music.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: A Time of RememberanceAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: A Time for RememberanceAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: A Time For Rememberance: A PeaceCantataAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Children's Suite for Violin and ViolaAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Clarinet ConcertoAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Clarinet ConcertoAdd to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Concerto for Jazz Artist & Concert BandAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Concerto for Saxophone & Concert BandAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Concerto for Saxophone, String Quartet, & Double BassAdd to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Eve of Adam: An Opera for Young MusiciansAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Everyman Go GoAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Fanfare for Shipbuilders & Pride of VirginiaAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Freedom OvertureAdd to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: HamletAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Indian SpiritsAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Indian SpiritsAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: InterdependenceAdd to your cart.
also contains electronic copy of score on cd-rom
Folder 5: InterdependenceAdd to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Joyful Noise: Wedding Music for Meg & ChrisAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Midsummer Night's DreamAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Mohammad AliAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Mohammad AliAdd to your cart.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Mohammad AliAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Mohammad AliAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Mohammad AliAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Mohammad AliAdd to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 1: NocturnaAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Ode to MaineAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Poets of Love and Protest: Dramatic OratoriesAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Preludes and Dance CanzoinaAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Ready, Set, GoAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Richard IIAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Sword & LyreAdd to your cart.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Sword &  LyreAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Sword & LyreAdd to your cart.
Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Symphony No. 1 UtahAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Taming of the ShrewAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Testament: For Chorus & Concert BandAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: PastoralAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Job Corp FilmAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Falstaff, Henry VIII Part IIAdd to your cart.
Box 12Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Thanksgiving Hymn & Fuguing Tune for OrchestraAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: The Final Battle for LoveAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Three Jewish Portraits for Chamber OrchestraAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Toccata & Fugue for Piccolo & PercussionAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Two Jewish DancesAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Unity for Chorus & OrchestraAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Variations for French Horn, Violin, Viola, & CelloAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: We Want Mark TwainAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Two Portraits for Piano: of People & Places in UtahAdd to your cart.
Box 13Add to your cart.
Folder 1: We Want Mark TwainAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: We Want Mark TwainAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: We Want Mark TwainAdd to your cart.
Box 14Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Antiquity of Freedom for Chorus & NarratorAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: BlackwaterAdd to your cart.
Box 15Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Concerto for Saxophone & Concert BandAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Concerto for Saxophone & PianoAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Concerto for Saxophone, String Quartet, & Double BassAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Concerto for Saxophone, String Quartet, & Double BassAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Declaration for InterdependenceAdd to your cart.
Box 16Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Before the World Was MadeAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Enough Is EnoughAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Heritage SuiteAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Heritage SuiteAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Heritage SuiteAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Heritage SuiteAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Heritage SuiteAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: I Love You, GoodbyeAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Love Me To SleepAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: My Life AloneAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: My Song is My Spirit Together With YoursAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Poverty Doesn't PayAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Play Some MoreAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Style (Doin Its Easy)Add to your cart.
Folder 15: TestamentAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: The Cat & the Sea: A Ballet for Young Dances & StudentsAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: The OuselcockAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: Time ChangesAdd to your cart.
Folder 19: Variations for Violin, Viola, & CelloAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: We Want Mark TwainAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: We Will Be DifferentAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: CD-ROM Scores, 10/30/2007Add to your cart.
John Duffy composistions as of 30 October 2007 in Sibelius PDF form
Box 17Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Heritage Suite, Part I OVERSIZEAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Heritage: Fanfare and Chorals (Vellum) OVERSIZEAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Heritage Suite, Part II OVERSIZEAdd to your cart.
Box 18Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Heritage Suite OVERSIZEAdd to your cart.
also contains pdf score on cd-rom
Folder 2: Heritage Suite OVERSIZEAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Scores],
[Series 2: Sketchbooks, Exercises, Journals, & Reference Materials],
[Series 3: Publicity,Programs & Legal],
[Series 4: Composers' Instituite],
[Series 5: Education, Speeches, & Awards],
[Series 6: Contacts, Travel, Correspondence, & Personal Interest],
[Series 7: Recordings],
[Series 8: Photographs],
[All]

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