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Conservatorio de Música Alfredo Levy collection

Identifier: MSS 443 large

Scope and Contents

The Conservatorio de Música Alfredo Levy collection (1880-1996) consists of the personal files of Cuban pianist and composer Alfredo Levy Nadal (1914-1999) and the music library of the Conservatorio de Música Alfredo Levy (active 1947-1962). The collection is comprised of correspondence, artifacts and ephemera, and approximately 1,000 manuscripts, first and very early editions, and printed musical scores. Notable correspondents include Gonzalo Roig, Joaquín Nin, Joaquín Nin-Culmell, Alejandro García Caturla, and Frank LaForge. Highlights of the musical collection include early editions by Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Henry Cowell, and works by significant Cuban and Latin American composers such as manuscripts by Ignacio Cervantes, José White, Ernesto Lecuona, and Gonzalo Roig; including music for Roig’s celebrated zarzuela, Cecilia Valdés, and lullaby, Canción de Cuna. Works by many women composers are found in the collection, including manuscripts attributed to Cuban composer María Matilde Alea and published music that had belonged to influential performers such as Cuban opera star Rosalía Chalía, Graciela de los Reyes, Carmen Levy, and Maria Toler. Some scores have hand-written dedications and ownership autographs, which, along with a variety of memorabilia and correspondence, reflect a vital and cosmopolitan period in Cuban musical history.


  • 1880-2000


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

The material is stored offsite in Remote Storage. Please contact Special Collections 3 working days in advance if you wish to use it.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the author of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States and international copyright laws. For photocopy and duplication requests, please contact MSU Libraries Special Collections.

Biographical / Historical

Alfredo Levy Nadal (1914-1999) was a Cuban composer and pianist. A dedicated teacher, Levy taught previously at Havana’s Conservatorio Hubert de Blanck and at the Escuela Vocacional José M. Valdés Rodríguez before founding the Conservatory bearing his name. As a pianist, he premiered works of important Cuban composers such as Joaquín Nin Castellanos and Joaquín Nin-Culmell, and accompanied some of the island’s most illustrious singers, including the Cuban sopranos Carmelina Santana Reyes and Iris Burguet, touring internationally with Burguet. Levy directed the chorus of the Teatro Musical de La Habana from 1970-1976, a period which saw the Cuban premiers of important international works at the Teatro. He lived in the home which had also been his conservatory until his death in 1999.


19.50 Linear Feet (56 boxes) ; Boxes 1-39, 56: 13x16.25x3; Boxes 40-46: 9.75x12.75x3; Box 47: 12.5x5x10; Boxes 48-55: 15x5x10

Language of Materials

Spanish; Castilian


This collection is organized into the following series and subseries: 1. Correspondence, Clippings, Programs, Emphemera, and Miscellany; 2. Music 2.1 Cuban Music 2.2 Other Musical scores and parts; 3 Books and other publications

Physical materials are housed according to storage and preservation considerations. Please observe location information within finding aid.

Custodial History

In 2000, this collection was purchased by Chicago-area collector, Gary Marks, from an acquaintance of Levy. In 2002, Dr. Ricardo Lorenz, MSU associate professor of music and chair of the music composition program, became aware of the collection and encouraged the acquisition of the collection by the MSU Libraries. Dr. Miriam Escudero, director of musical patrimony of the Office of the Historian of the city of Havana, Cuba, supported the acquisition to ensure its preservation and access. Subsequently, the collection was purchased from private collector Gary Marks for MSU Special Collections in May 2014.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was purchased from Gary Marks in May 2014.

Variant Title

Alfredo Levy Conservatory of Music collection

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lydia Tang, December 2015. Sources consulted in creating this finding aid include: Junttonen, Mary Black. "Michigan State University." Notes 71.3 (2015): 479+ and Zeter, Mary Jo, and Mary Black Junttonen. "Alfred Levy archive of Cuban music at Michigan State University." Fontes Artis Musicae 62.3 (2015): 277+.

Finding aid for the Conservatorio de Música Alfredo Levy collection
4 Published And Cataloged
Lydia Tang
December 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Multiple languages
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections Repository

MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48823 USA