Musical Biography
   First Lessons
   Music Studies
   Prolific and Successful
   Awards and Tributes
   Musician Friends
   Unfinished Work
Photo Archive


The archives of Oskar Morawetz now reside in the Music Division of the Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, K1A 0N4.
Below is a description of these items.

After more than 60 years as a professional musician, and over 40 years living in his Toronto home, Morawetz had amassed a huge inventory of articles of interest to the musical community, including not only material relating to his own musical career, but also musical items of general interest. A number of years ago, Morawetz entered into an agreement with the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa to make a bequest of all items related to his musical career. He made his first deposit with the library in 1972/73. On September 1, 2004, the bulk of Morawetz' remaining personal archives (letters, newspaper & magazine articles, photographs, printed music, audio recordings, video recordings, sketches, personal notes and diaries, and other personal items) were deposited with the National Library. The most recent deposit was made June 27, 2007 and comprised of all of his original composition manuscripts, as well as a few sketches.

For additional information, visit the Oskar Morawetz fonds on-line at the Library and Archives Canada's.


Items directly related to Morawetz' musical career


PRINT (music)
  • Pencil Sketches
    Morawetz began all his compositions with pencil sketches on manuscript paper. For more details on his creative process, see "Composer".
  • Revisions
    These are generally printed copies of his music with pencil marking corrections, ultimately intended for republication.

  • Manuscripts
    Morawetz completed his compositions using ink on transparency musical staff paper. These final original manuscripts were then copied to produce parts and eventual publications.

  • Printed music
    Published copies of Morawetz' music.


  •  LP records, reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes and CDs of Morawetz' music
    There are several hundred recordings of Morawetz' music. Some are commercial, but most are private recordings that Morawetz had made during the course of his career.
  • VHS videos
    There are several videos of performances of Morawetz' music:
    • Memorial to Martin Luther King televised performance from Victoria (1986)
    • Father William, in rehearsal (1989)
    • Dvořák Slavonic Dance and Humoresque transcriptions, performed in Prague (1993)
    • Performance of Harp Concerto in St. Petersburg, Russia (1997)
    • CBC Opening Night (2002): Performance of From the Diary of Anne Frank

    There are also several video documentaries about Oskar Morawetz, as well as a 1924 film with Morawetz as a young boy in Světlá, Czechoslovakia with his family.



Morawetz had an enormous collection of photographs. These include professional photographs taken of ancestors dating back as far the early 1800s, photographs taken by his amateur-photographer father, as well as many professional and non-professional photographs of well-known musicians, some of them autographed.

Morawetz' photographic collection also includes photographs of Morawetz alone or with other musicians, taken either professionally, or by Morawetz himself. Digital reproductions of these photographs appear throughout this web site. An index of Morawetz' photograph collection appears on the "Photo Archive" page.



During his almost 60 year composing career, Morawetz attempted to attend as many performances of his compositions as possible. He diligently kept and filed the programs and newspaper reviews from all of these concerts, and obtained them, where possible, whenever he could not attend. A list of known concert performances and quotes from these newspaper reviews appear in the His Music section, under the relevant composition name.

The Morawetz archives also contain feature articles from numerous magazine (e.g. MusiCanada, Canadian Composer, CBC Times, Fugue, Classical Music Magazine, SOCAN: Words and Music, ..etc..)



Morawetz kept and filed all letters that he received, as well as copies of important letters he mailed. His file includes correspondences with hundreds of musicians (conductors, singers, instrumentalists, composers), including Sir Adrian Boult, Zubin Mehta, George Szell, Rudolf Serkin, Glenn Gould. Morawetz also owned letters from Leoš Janáček, Josef Suk, Darius Milhaud and Liszt.

His collection also includes letters from important contacts he made relating to his music: former Prime minister Lester B. Pearson, the mother of past President J.F. Kennedy, the wife of late Martin Luther King, the father of Anne Frank, and the parents of Terry Fox.

The collection includes letters and telegram correspondence between family members during the second World War. Among these are three letters dated 1939-1940 from the former Canadian minister of immigration, F.C.Blair, who was the subject of the 1983 book None Is Too Many due to his restrictive immigration policies during the war, stating vehemently why Morawetz should not be allowed to enter into Canada. These letters can be viewed under "Escape" in The Person section.



Morawetz owned two pianos. His Steinway grand remains in the family.



The archives include many personal mementos such as Morawetz' Order of Ontario, Order of Canada, SOCAN and Juno awards, university degree certificates as well as honorary and award certificates, and various medals to accompany these honours. It also includes his wedding/house guest book, with entries from many well-known musicians who attended his wedding in 1958, and who visited his home in the following 30 years. See "Wedding" in the The Person section to view the wedding pages of his guest book.



Morawetz' father, Richard, was a successful businessman and well-respected in both his Czech homeland and his adopted country. Part of the Oskar Morawetz archives includes archival material relating to his father. This includes:

  • scrapbooks of newspaper clippings from Richard Morawetz' life in Canada
  • a scrapbook of posters from amateur plays which Richard directed or in which he acted while still living in his homeland
  • a scrapbook of lectures about his trips to England, Asia and North America from before the First Great War
  • negatives and prints from Richard's amateur photography career in Canada
  • enlarged, signed and matte framed pictures from two exhibitions of Richard's photography in 1943 and 1945
  • photographs and newspaper clippings relating to Richard's association with former Czech president, Thomas Masaryk, and his son, foreign minister Jan Masaryk
  • newspaper clippings and a speech made by Richard as a member of the ILO (International Labor Organization) and WLO (World Labor Organization)

See "Parentage" in the The Person section to read more about Richard Morawetz.


Morawetz archives of general interest to the musical community



During the course of his career, Morawetz met many well-known musicians, and had them autograph their photographs (occasionally with dedications). These include:



Morawetz had a large music library of musical scores, books about music, musicians and reference books. Some of these books and scores he had autographed by the composer or author. Some of the musicians who autographed his scores include:

  • Benjamin Britten: several scores, including Peter Grimes, also autographed by Peter Pears who premičred the opera.
  • Samuel Barber: autographed by the composer, with a dedication to Glenn Gould
  • Aaron Copland: several scores
  • Paul Hindemith: a couple books about composition
  • Zoltán Kodály: several scores
  • Bohuslav Martinu: Polní Mše with a dedication in Czech
  • Olivier Messiaen: L'Ascension with a dedication in French
  • Darius Milhaud: La Création du Monde with a dedication in French
  • Krzysztof Penderecki: several scores
  • Igor Stravinsky: several scores
  • Richard Wagner: Die Meistersinger, autographed by Friedlende Wagner, the composer's grand-daughter
  • William Walton: a couple scores



Morawetz came into the possession of the archives of the late Montreal soprano, Ruzena Herlinger. This collection includes the soprano's correspondence with Alban Berg and Anton Webern, annotated copies of her music, as well as press clippings, concert programs and periodicals about the singer's distinguished career.