Fine Arts Quartet. 

Records, 1910-1989.

UWM Manuscript Collection 30

6 cubic ft. (5 record center cartons, 2 oversize scrapbooks, 2 oversize folders, 1 oversize box and 1 archives box)



ABSTRACT:  Records (mainly 1940-80) of a fine arts quartet documenting its concerts and management, and also containing personal papers of its leader, Leonard Sorkin. The general records of the quartet include reviews of FAQ concerts and feature stories on the FAQ and its members (1948-81); and programs of FAQ concerts and promotional materials (1940-86) which thoroughly document the locales of concerts and choices of music. The FAQ's management and financial records (1945-89) document the financial and management history of the quartet, including activities with recording companies, as well as Leonard Sorkin's role as leader of the group. Also contains the personal papers of Leonard Sorkin, including two scrapbooks (1930-44) and soloist programs (1930-84) concerning his life before he formed the quartet and also recount some of the events that led to the founding of the group. They also document the contacts he made with other musicians before and during World War II.

ACCESS RESTRICTIONS: There are no access restrictions on the materials, and the collection is open to all members of the public in accordance with state law. However, the researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of this collection (Wisconsin Statutes 19.21-19.39).


SCOPE AND CONTENT: Records (mainly 1940-80) of a fine arts quartet documenting its concerts and management, and also containing personal papers of its leader, Leonard Sorkin. The general records of the quartet are found in Series 1. Sorkin's personal papers are found in Series 2.

Series 1 contains almost all of the collection. It includes clippings from American and European newspapers and magazines (1948-81) which are reviews of FAQ concerts and feature stories on the FAQ and its members. Programs of FAQ concerts (1940-86) thoroughly document the locales of concerts and choices of music. The promotional materials (1949-82) consist of press releases and handbills about the quartet as a whole and its individual members. There is also one oversized box of concert posters. The FAQ's management and financial records (1945-89) document the financial and management history of the quartet as well as Leonard Sorkin's role as leader of the group. Of particular importance is the 1969-79 file on the European tour which documents how the FAQ arranged its European tours. The correspondence folder from 1945-80, 1989 documents communications with fans, as well as arrangements for concerts in the United States. There are financial records, correspondence, and contracts with record companies such as Concertapes Concert Disc (1962-66) and Vox Productions, Inc. (1966-78) and management companies such as Colbert Artists Management (1960-66) and Melvin Kaplan, Inc. (1970-80). There is also a folder documenting the effort of New York Review Presentations to represent the FAQ (1968-69). There are few records after 1983 due to Leonard Sorkin's retirement. The scrapbooks contain feature stories and reviews similar to the reviews of FAQ concerts and feature stories on the FAQ and its members. The one exception is a scrapbook containing a narrative history of the first year of the quartet written in the second year of the FAQ's history.

Series 2 contains the personal papers of Leonard Sorkin. There are two scrapbooks (1930-44) and a subseries of soloist programs (1930-84) which document his life before he formed the quartet and also recount some of the events that led to the founding of the group. They also document the contacts he made with other musicians before and during World War II.


ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY: The FAQ first performed in 1940 in Chicago with Leonard Sorkin on 1st violin, Ben Senescu on 2nd violin, Sheppard Lehnhoff on viola, and George Sopkin on cello. They had planned and formed the FAQ in 1939 while they were members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. World War II prevented them from maintaining a regular performance schedule. The FAQ become a continuing organization in 1946.

Sorkin, who trained under Mischa Mischakoff, was the guiding force behind the FAQ. In 1939, he was a member of the 1st violin section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sorkin studied in Chicago with Daniel Saidenberg and in Switzerland with Emmanuel Fauermann. The collection does not document the background of the other two founders. Senescu did not stay with the quartet after World War II. Joseph Stepansky took his place sometime before 1946. In 1952, Lehnhoff returned to the Chicago Symphony and was replaced by Irving Ilmer, who left in 1962, to be replaced by Bernard Zaslav. Zaslav studied at the Julliard School of Music. He retired in 1980 and was replaced by Jerry Horner, who was a violinist with the Dallas and Pittsburgh Symphonies. Joseph Stepansky returned to the Chicago Symphony in 1954 and was replaced by Abram Loft. Loft had studied with Herbert Ditteler in New York and received a Ph.D. in musicology from Columbia University. Laurence Shapiro replaced Loft about 1980. Sopkin retired in 1979 and was replaced by Wolfgang Laufer. In 1983, Sorkin retired and became founding director of the Institute of Chamber Music at UWM. Leonard Sorkin died 7 June 1985.

From its founding, the FAQ was successful. Between 1946-54 it appeared on Sunday morning broadcasts on the ABC network. The FAQ appeared five times on the Today Show between 1955 and 1958 and in 1960, on the Ed Sullivan Show. Between 1951-54, it was the Visiting Quartet at Northwestern University. In 1958, the FAQ went on its first European tour and returned to Europe in 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1969-70, and each year between 1975 and 1980. On a visit to London in 1966, the members of the quartet made six broadcasts for the BBC and appeared at Royal Festival Hall. In 1967, the FAQ took a Far East tour under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Bangkok, Australia and New Zealand.

Throughout its history the FAQ played the standard repertoire of quartets as well as award-winning modern pieces by composer Karel Husa and classic twentieth century quartets by Shostakovich, Bartok and Wuorinen. The quartet recorded extensively. About 1958, the FAQ began its own recording company, Concertapes Concert Discs.


COLLECTION CITATION: This collection should be cited as:

Fine Arts Quartet. Records, 1910-1989. UWM Manuscript Collection 30. University Manuscript Collection. Archives. UWM Libraries. University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee.


ACQUISITION:  Aviva Sorkin donated the majority of the collection on 4 November 1985 and other portions before 1989.


PROCESSING:  Mike Klawitter, Stanley Mallach, Mark Shelstad, Timothy Spindler, Mark Vargas, and John Wynstra processed the collection between March and December 1992 at the Milwaukee Urban Archives. Mark Vargas added the materials in box 7 to the collection in May 1994.


SEPARATIONS: John Wynstra separated 17 cubic feet of music scores which were cataloged and incorporated into the Music Collection in March-April 1992. The Archives staff separated several cubic feet of religious, music and economics books during processing and transferred them to the Acquisitions Department in August 1992.



MARC RECORD SEARCH TERMS: The following terms were used in the online bibliographic MARC record to this collection:

UWM MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION 30.
1. General Records.
BOX FOLDER
Berkowitz, Ralph, 1967-1969 1 1
Biographies, Fine Arts Quartet Members 1 2
British Broadcasting Company, 1965-1971 1 3
Career Summaries 7  
Colbert Artists Management, 1960-1966 1 4
Composers, 1971-1980 1 5
Concert Reviews, 1941-1949 1 6
Concert Reviews, 1950-1959 1 7
Concert Reviews, 1960-1964 1 8
Concert Reviews, 1965-1970 1 9
Concert Reviews, 1971-1974 2 1
Concert Reviews, 1975-1979 2 2
Concert Reviews, 1980-1985 2 3
Concert Reviews, Undated 2 4
Concert Tour, Europe, 1965 2 5
Concert Tour, Europe, 1969-1970 2 6
Concert Tour, Europe, 1975 2 7
Concert Tour, Europe, 1976 2 8
Concert Tour, Europe, 1977 2 9
Concert Tour, Europe, 1978-1979 2 10
Itineraries, 1958-1980 2 11
Tax Records, 1959-1962 2 12
Concert Tour, Latin America, 1965 2 13
Concertapes Concert Disc, Financial Statements, 1962-1966 2 14
Concertapes Concert Disc, Photographs, Undated 2 15
Contracts, Performance, 1954-1979 2 16
Correspondence, 1945-1959 2 17
Correspondence, 1960-1969 2 18
Correspondence, 1970-1975 2 19
Correspondence, 1976-1980, 1989 2 20
Decca Records, 1966-1968 2 21
Features, 1948-1985 2 23
Features, Undated 2 24
Financial Records, 1971-1979 2 25
Fine Arts (Quartet) Music Foundation, 1969-1978 2 26
Fine Arts Quartet, Scrapbooks, 1946-1949 [NOTE: Oversize]    
Fine Arts Quartet, Scrapbooks, 1958-1959 5  
Fine Arts Quartet, Scrapbooks, 1961-1962 5  
Fine Arts Quartet, Scrapbooks, 1962-1966 5  
Fine Arts Quartet, Scrapbooks, 1966-1971 6  
Fine Arts Quartet, Scrapbooks, 1971-1975 6  
Fine Arts Quartet, Scrapbooks, 1975-1977 6  
Fine Arts Quartet, Narrative History, 1946-1947 [NOTE: Oversize]    
Four Score Television Series, 1961 2 27
Gasparo (Recording Company), 1980 2 28
Gravina, Peter, 1973-1974 2 29
History of Fine Arts Quartet, 1951-1976 2 30
Honors and Awards, 1954-1970, Undated 2 31
Husa, Karel, 1963-1971 2 32
Ilmer, Irving, 1969-1970 2 33
Melvin Kaplan, Inc., 1970-1978 2 34
Moravian Music Foundation, 1966-1970 2 35
New York Review Presentations, 1968-1969 2 36
Photographs, Undated 2 37-39
Photographs, Undated, Oversize 7  
Programs, 1940-1946 2 40
Programs, 1947 2 41
Programs, 1948 2 42
Programs, 1949 2 43
Programs, 1950 3 1
Programs, 1951 3 2
Programs, 1952 3 3
Programs, 1953 3 4
Programs, 1954 3 5
Programs, 1955 3 6
Programs, 1956 3 7
Programs, 1957 3 8
Programs, 1958 3 9
Programs, 1959 3 10
Programs, 1960 3 11-12
Programs, 1961 3 13
Programs, 1962 3 14-15
Programs, 1963 3 16
Programs, 1964 3 17-18
Programs, 1965 3 19
Programs, 1966 3 20
Programs, 1967 3 21
Programs, 1968 3 22
Programs, 1969 3 23
Programs, 1970 3 24
Programs, 1971 3 25
Programs, 1972 3 26-27
Programs, 1973 3 28
Programs, 1974 4 1
Programs, 1975 4 3-4
Programs, 1976 4 5-6
Programs, 1977 4 7-8
Programs, 1978 4 9
Programs, 1979 4 10
Programs, 1980 4 11
Programs, 1981 4 12
Programs, 1982-1986 4 13
Programs, Undated 4 14
Promotional Material, 1949-1959 4 15
Promotional Material, 1960-1969 4 16
Promotional Material, 1970-1979 4 17
Promotional Material, 1980-1982 4 18
Promotional Material, Undated 4 19
Concert Posters, 1962-1980 [NOTE: In Oversize Folders 1-2]    
Record Reviews, 1981, Undated 4 20
Record Royalties, 1963-1981 4 21
Samtida Musik, 1968-1970 4 22
United States Cultural Exchange, 1966-1967 4 23
UWM Friends of Music, 1981-1988 4 24
UWM Friends of Music, Leonard Sorkin Violin Scholarship, 1982-1983 4 25
Viola Search, 1980 4 26
Vox Productions, Inc., 1966-1978 4 27
Webcor (Recording Company), 1954 4 28
Wilfred Van Wyck, Ltd., 1970-1972 4 29

UWM MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION 30.
2. Leonard Sorkin Papers.
BOX FOLDER
Biographical Materials, Undated 4 30
Dolnick, Max A., 1910-1928 4 31
Memorials, 1985 4 32
Newspaper Clippings, 1938-1952 4 33
Personal Correspondence, 1931-1985 4 34
Plaques and Certificates 7  
Scrapbook, 1930-1942 5  
Scrapbook, 1943-1944 5  
Soloist Programs, 1930-1984 4 35
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1979-1981 4 36

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