Music at Columbia: The First 100 Years

The Alice M. Ditson Fund > Béla Bartók

Alice M. Ditson Fund, Research Award

Photograph of Béla Bartók, 1940

Columbia University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library


The Alice M. Ditson Fund presented its first research award to Béla Bartók. As he wrote to his dear friend, fellow composer and ethnomusicologist, Zoltan Kodaly on December 8, 1941, as translated by Victor Bator, and printed in the program of the 1955 Columbia concert in his honor:

"They (Columbia University) left it to me to pick the job I wanted to do. I chose the taking down and editing of the Parry Collection. — I do my work in one of the annex-buildings of Columbia University, in the phonogramm-archive of Dr. Herzog. The equipment is excellent. It feels almost as if I continued my work at home in my Academy of Science office, yet under different circumstances. Even the surroundings are of the same kind of "noble" dignity. Evenings, when I pass through the campus, it is as if I walked on one of the great historic "Commons" of a European city, right and left Greek (neo-classic) impressive edifices, — farther away, distant silhouettes of gothic churches. In the evening-twililght it is not so obvious that they are but imitations."


Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. East / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5153 /