Highlights from the Ethnomusicology Archive: the Colin McPhee collection

Colin McPhee was a Canadian musicologist and composer (1900-1964).  He served as a faculty member of the UCLA Department of Music, teaching composition and ethnomusicology from 1960 until his death in 1964.

The Colin McPhee collection in the Ethnomusicology Archive consists of official documents, biographies, obituaries, correspondence (with Margaret Mead, Jaap Kunst, J.S. Brandt-Buys, Ernst Schlager, K.V. Ramachandran, Sidney and Henry Cowell and others), recipes, research materials, teaching materials, reviews, programs, field notes, travel materials, conference papers, magazines and clippings, published writings, gendings (compositions), music manuscripts, films, sound recordings, schematic drawings, drawings and other artwork, photographs, and "Music in Bali" materials.

Gambuh Ensemble

You can read Andy Toth's original introduction to the collection, written in 1975, here.


Gamelan Gong Kebyar

The complete finding aid for the collection is on the Online Archive of California (OAC).  Ask for Collection 1975.06 in the Archive.

Gambang Ensemble

To read a short biography of Colin McPhee, check out Grove Music Online.  


Gamelan Pelegongan of Kapal village

For a complete biography of McPhee, I suggest Carol Oja's book, Colin McPhee: composer in two worlds (now back in print and available from the University of Illinois Press).  The Archive holds the 1990 edition, call number ML410.M17 O4 1990.

Professor Oja donated the interviews/oral histories she used in creating the book to the Ethnomusicology Archive.  Interviewees include:  Sylvan Levin ; Oliver Daniel ; Sidney Cowell ; Minna Lederman ; Aaron Copland ; Louise Varese ; Ann Hull ; William Strickland ; Virgil Thomson ; Victor Carl ; Katherine Mershon ; Shirley Hawkins ; Lou Harrison ; Hugh Ross ; Beata Sauerlandt ; Janet McPhee ; Stuart Lawson ; Mantle Hood ; Eric Friedheim ; Wayan Rima ; I Made Bandem ; I Made Nyong Nyong ; I Made Lebah ; Made Gerindern ; Anak Agung Gede Mandera ; Andy Toth ; Oliver Daniel ; Katherine Mershon ; Rudhyar ; and Eamos.  The finding aid for this collection is here.  To listen to the recordings in the Archive, ask for Collection 2003.12.

Bamboo Angklung

UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections holds McPhee's musical manuscripts, ozalid reproductions, and published scores of orchestral, chamber, choral, and film music, including some sets of parts.  Their finding aid is also on the Online Archive of California.

Gamelan gong gede of Sulaan village, formerly of the court of Klungklung


To listen to O Bali: Colin McPhee and His Legacy (CBC, MVCD 1057) via Music Online, click here (and don't forget to download the liner notes).


I Gde Manik playing kendang (all the McPhee films are silent)


All photos © Colin McPhee, All Right Reserved. (For permission to use any McPhee images, contact the Archivists.)

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