Alexander Semmler Papers, 1914-1977
- Semmler, Alexander, 1900-1977
- The Alexander Semmler Papers contain music written by Alexander Semmler, both published and unpublished, as well as some of his notes and correspondence.
- 10.5 cubic ft.
- English and English German Spanish Italian
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Alexander Semmler Papers, 1914-1977. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Semmler Papers).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Performance of music from the Alexander Semmler Papers is by application only. If a performance is recorded or in some other manner documented, a copy must be provided to the Department of Special Collections and Archives. An invitation to all performances must be provided to Iliana Semmler or her designee.
- Scope and Content:
The collection consists primarily of music written by Alexander Semmler, both in print and in manuscript. Among the compositions are symphonic works, chamber music, and works for various instruments, including piano and voice. There are also sketches for later compositions and notebooks with melodic ideas, both titled and untitled. The papers also include music written by Mr. Semmler under the pseudonym of Ralph Sandor (or Zandor), which is more commercially oriented than those pieces signed in his own name. Much of the music in the collection has never been published.
Also included in the papers are certain items kept with his musical compositions by Alexander Semmler; these miscellanea are noted in the individual series scope notes. Materials are arranged within series either by opus number or alphabetically, if no opus number is present (Series 5 is an exception- please see its scope note for details). Some of the items include emendations tipped in or fastened with tape. Many bear markings or annotations in a hand other than Alexander Semmler's. These were not made by the processing archivist. When these markings included dates, those were included in the folder listing as approximate dates.
It should be noted that while there are multiple copies of most of the items in the Semmler Papers, these copies are often not identical, as many of the manuscripts have corrections or notations by the composer that vary from instance to instance. This is why the archivist elected to retain them. Due to the number of fragile and oversized items in the collection, materials pertaining to the same work may not be housed in the same physical location.
- Biographical / Historical:
Alexander Semmler was born in Dortmund, Germany, on 12 November 1900. He began composing music in adolescence and toured Europe and the United States as a pianist at the age of fifteen. He studied piano with Josef Pembaur and composition with Gustav Jenner, and later studied philosophy and musicology at the universities of Marburg, Berlin, and Munich. He emigrated to the United States as a young man and became an American citizen in 1930. Semmler worked as a pianist with the CBS Symphony and later as a staff conductor and composer at CBS, writing music both under his own name and under the pseudonym Ralph Sandor (or Zandor). He served as the American administrator for the Rudfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor (RIAS) in Berlin from 1951 to 1952. He was later invited to Mexico, where he was instrumental in organizing the Centro de Compositores Mexicanos. From 1955 until 1970, he was the New York music director for TRF Music, Inc. and Picture Scores, Inc. During that same time, he served as program director of the Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, N. Y. Semmler died in Kingston, N. Y., on 24 April 1977.
The information provided above was gleaned from the following sources, in addition to those found in the Alexander Semmler Papers themselves:
- Acquisition information:
This collection was donated by Dr. Iliana Semmler in January 2003.
The papers are arranged in seven series:
Materials arranged within series by opus number. Materials without an opus number arranged alphabetically by folder title.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2011 by Catherine Oliver.
Composers--United States--20th century
Amateur films--Songs and music
- Semmler, Alexander, 1900-1977
Pembaur, Josef, 1875-1950
Jenner, Gustav, 1865-1920
Brunetti-Pisano, August, 1870-1943
Knab, Armin, 1881-1951
Herrmann, Bernard, 1911-1975
Lear, Edward, 1812-1888
Machado, Antonio, 1812-1896
Cowell, Henry, 1897-1965
Burnet, Dana, 1888-1962
Castaneda, Daniel Perez, 1901-1980
Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc.
Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor (Berlin, Germany)
- Woodstock (N. Y.)