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Robert Strassburg Collection on Ernest Bloch

Identifier: MSS 0517

Scope and Content

Dr. Robert Strassburg's extensive research material (dating back to the late 1950s) on the career of Ernest Bloch (as well as his own career) is now housed in the Belknap Collection for the Performing Arts. This important collection of notes, articles, research sources, published and photocopied scores, drafts, galley proofs, photographs, correspondence with friends and family of Ernest Bloch and vinyl recordings was donated by Robert Strassburg's son, Dr. Marc Strassburg in October 2003. The Strassburg family chose the University of Florida, as the repository for this material, as a result of their contact with and respect for Dr. David Z. Kushner, the Head of Musicology and Music History in the University of Florida School of Music. Dr. Kushner is also a noted expert on the music of Ernest Bloch having published two respected works on the composer (ERNEST BLOCH: A GUIDE TO RESEARCH and THE ERNEST BLOCH COMPANION). Marc Strassburg wrote of Dr. Kushner: "...from your wonderful accomplishments and leading position as an academician in this area, I am positive that my father would be thrilled on my making this contact with you."

We are grateful to Dr. Marc Strassburg for his generosity and we thank Professor Kushner for his tireless negotiations during this transaction with the Strassburg family. Their efforts on behalf of the University of Florida resulted in a treasure trove of material for the Belknap Collection and the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections. The preservation of the work of Dr. Robert Strassburg provides invaluable material for future scholars and researchers at the University of Florida and we are proud to add this resource to the collections.

The collection is divided into 8 series:

STRASSBURG: PUBLISHED WORKS - Three copies of ERNEST BLOCH: VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS (Trident Shop, California State University, 1977) and ERNEST BLOCH: A BIOGRAPHICAL STUDY (Dissertation)

STRASSBURG: MISCELLANEOUS BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION - Includes correspondence, lecture notes, photographs, musical compositions, etc. relating to the life and career of Dr. Robert Strassburg - Filed alphabetically by subject.

STRASSBURG: ERNEST BLOCH RESEARCH MATERIAL AND SOURCES - Includes Ernest Bloch biographical material researched and gathered by Robert Strassburg in preparation for his various publications - Filed alphabetically by subject.

STRASSBURG: ERNEST BLOCH RESEARCH MATERIAL AND SOURCES: TRIBUTES AND CELEBRATIONS - Includes programs, heralds, articles and miscellaneous materials documenting the many tributes honoring Ernest Bloch during his lifetime and after his death in 1959 - Filed alphabetically by subject.

STRASSBURG: ERNEST BLOCH RESEARCH MATERIAL AND SOURCES: IMAGES, PHOTOGRAPHS and NEGATIVES - Includes Ernest Bloch publicity and private photos used by Robert Strassburg for ERNEST BLOCH: VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS - Filed alphabetically by subject.

STRASSBURG: PRE - PUBLICATION DRAFTS, GALLEY PROOFS and MISCELLANEOUS MATERIAL - Includes research notes, correspondence, drafts and galley proofs for Robert Strassburg's various Ernest Bloch publications - Filed chronologically.

STRASSBURG: ERNEST BLOCH RESEARCH MATERIAL AND SOURCES - MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS - Robert Strassburg's research notes, articles and sources on most of Ernest Bloch's compositions gathered in preparation for his many Ernest Bloch publications - Filed alphabetically by composition title.

STRASSBURG: ERNEST BLOCH RESEARCH MATERIAL AND SOURCES - 33 1/3 RPM RECORDINGS - Robert Strassburg's collection of recordings of Ernest Bloch compositions conducted and performed by Ernest Bloch and various artists - Filed alphabetically by artist.


  • Creation: 1880 - 2005



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Legendary cellist, Pablo Casals, called Ernest Bloch "the best composer of our time" and composer Alfredo Casella stated "..his art is one of grandeur and majesty which sometimes recalls the Moses of Michelangelo." High praise for one of the first distinguished European composers (others included Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Bartok) to make the United States his home in the early 1900s. Bloch's Jewish heritage was his greatest source of strength and creativity and was most visibly expressed during his "Jewish Cycle" of composition between 1912 and 1916. The music of the masters (Beethoven, Mahler and Debussy) was another great influence on the youthful Bloch, but he also demonstrated a neo-classical approach in his later quintets, quartets, suites, symphonies and especially in his EPIC RHAPSODY, AMERICA for orchestra, winner of the 1928 Musical America Prize. Bloch's compositions earned him world-wide acclaim, honors and awards, but his greatest and proudest accomplishment was the influence he had on his admirers and students including future composers Herbert Elwell, Randall Thompson, Roger Sessions and Robert Strassburg.

The life, career and scholarship of Dr. Robert Strassburg, in many ways, parallels that of Ernest Bloch. Strassburg always expressed a passion for music. He would play up to eight hours a day as a classically trained concert pianist, but he also devoted his life to composing, conducting, teaching (Professor Emeritus of Music at California State University) and writing. In 1950, Strassburg moved to Miami where he became a key contributor to the southern Florida music scene, writing over 40 documentary film scores. He founded the All Miami Youth Symphony Orchestra (now the Greater Miami Youth Symphony) in 1958. The Robert Strassburg Piano Concerto Competition is held each year to honor its founding director. In 1955, he was named Miami Composer of the Year. In addition to his personal musical accomplishments, Professor Strassburg is credited with being one of the world's leading authorities on the life and music of Ernest Bloch. His critically acclaimed biography, ERNEST BLOCH: VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS (Trident Shop, California State University, 1977) was a labor of love and music scholars consider this biography to be THE textbook on the works of Ernest Bloch.


6.97 Linear Feet (17 Boxes)

Language of Materials



Research material gathered by the noted educator, composer, conductor and musicologist, Dr. Robert Strassburg (1915-2003), focusing on the career and life of composer Ernest Bloch (1880-1959).


University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by Robert Strassburg's son, Dr. Marc Strassburg in October 2003. Supplemental material donated by Stewart and Estelle Kohn and Karin Kontny in 2005.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of selected items in the Robert Strassburg Collection on Ernest Bloch are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

A Guide to the Robert Strassburg Collection on Ernest Bloch
Finding aid created by Jim Liversidge
March 2004 (Updated September 2023)
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America