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Mario di Bonaventura papers and music scores

Identifier: di Bonaventura

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of personal and professional correspondence, notes and other papers, programs, sound recordings, marked conducting scores, published scores and books (many with autograph inscriptions) and music manuscript scores in di Bonaventura’s possession. A small collection of materials related to Italian composer Luciana Berio are also found within in this collection.

di Bonaventura had professional relationships and personal friendships with and championed the music of many of the leading figures of twentieth-century classical music including Milhaud, Zoltán Kodály, Hans Werner Henze, Luigi Dallapiccola, Witold Lutosławski, and György Ligeti. He commissioned Ligeti’s piano concerto and premiered it with the Wiener Philharmoniker in 1986 with his brother Anthony as soloist. He was especially close with Italian composer, Luciano Berio (1925-2003) and Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983). di Bonaventura also promoted and frequently programmed the music of American composer and composition teacher, Walter Piston.

Each of the aforementioned composers are represented through correspondence (Series 1) and both published and manuscript scores (Series 2, 4) within this collection.


  • 1872 - 2010
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 1990


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.

Biographical / Historical

Mario di Bonaventura (1924-2017) is a distinguished American conductor, composer, music educator, music publisher and arts administrator. He is the brother of acclaimed American concert pianist and teacher, Anthony di Bonaventura (1929-2012) and violinist, teacher and music critic Sam di Bonaventura (1921-1998). He studied composition with Nadia Boulanger (1947-1953) who became the godmother of his son Lorenzo, and with whom he remained close friends throughout his life. He studied conducting at the Salzburg Mozarteum and with Igor Markevitch and piano accompaniment at the Paris Conservatoire. Among his many awards, he won the Lili Boulanger Memorial Prize for composition in 1953.

Mario di Bonaventura championed new music throughout his illustrious career and commissioned many new works by leading composers. He appeared frequently as a guest conductor before ensembles across the United States, Europe and Russia. He served as director of the Ft. Lauderdale Symphony Orchestra (1959-1962) where he commissioned Darius Milhaud’s ninth symphony and premiered it in 1960. He left Ft. Lauderdale to teach at Dartmouth College (1962-1974) where he served as the first music director for the Hopkins Center for the Arts and founded the Music Programs for the Congregation of the Arts at Dartmouth (1963-1970). The Dartmouth program featured composer residencies, commissioned works and world-premieres from prominent twentieth-century composers. He went on to serve as vice-president and director of publications at G. Schirmer/ Associated Music Publishers in New York (1974-1979) and briefly served as the director of the Boston University School of Music (1980-1982) where his brother, Anthony (1929-2012) had long taught.


30.00 Linear Feet

52 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Mario di Bonaventura papers and scores collection consists of correspondence, notes and other papers, programs, sound recordings, marked conducting scores, published scores and books, and music manuscript scores in di Bonaventura’s possession. A small collection of materials related to Italian composer Luciana Berio are also found within this collection.


The collection is arranged into ten series with eight sub-series as follows:

Series 1: Correspondence – arranged alphabetically by correspondent, then chronologically.

Series 2: Published scores – divided into Sub-series 1: Full-size scores; Sub-series 2: Miniature/ study and choral scores.

Series 3: Marked scores – scores, published or copies believed to be published, bearing conductor's or other performance markings.

Series 4: Music manuscripts – manuscripts of musical works in Mario di Bonaventura’s possession.

Series 5: Notes and notebooks – divided into Sub-series 1: Subject folders and other notes; Sub-series 2: Notebooks (which were originally contained in three-ring binders)

Series 6: Programs – divided into Sub-series 1: Music programs conducted or coordinated by Mario di Bonaventura; Sub-series 2: Music programs not conducted or coordinated by Mario di Bonaventura (presumably programs attended by Mario di Bonaventura or sent to him by composers or others); Sub-series 3: Theatre programs (presumably programs attended by Mario di Bonaventura or sent to him by composers or others); Sub-series 4: Festival and conference programs

Series 7: Sound recordings – of Mario di Bonaventura's performances and commerical recordings in his possession.

Series 8: Poster, photographs and other artefacts and posters –including various photographs, concert and festival posters, an autograph album, twenty of Arthur Fiedler's batons and an unidentified transparency roll of lecture notes.

Series 9: Books - published books in di Bonaventura's library

Series 10: Materials by or related to Luciano Berio and Cathy Berberian (in the possession of Mario di Bonaventura)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was acquired by the Northwestern University Music Library from Mario di Bonaventura in 2010.

Related Materials

Dartmouth College's Rauner Special Collections Library maintains a collection of di Bonaventura's papers dating from 1962-1972 during his tenure as the Director of Music at the Hopkins Center and the "Congregation of the Arts" festivals. A finding aid for this collection is available at:

Separated Materials

A small collection of music notebooks by Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera in di Bonaventura's possession were given to the Northwestern University Music Library with the rest of di Bonaventura's papers and scores. These notebooks have been separated into their own collection: the Alberto Ginastera notebooks.

Materials Specific Details

Duplicates of published scores without inscriptions or unique markings were discarded. di Bonaventura's notebooks were originally contained in three-ring binders which were over-stuffed and damaging the pages. The notebooks were un-bound and kept in original order. Folders have been used to maintain tabbed divisions, or in the case of the subject notebooks, each document has been folded as an access aid to researchers and the original order of this notebook is not condusive to research.

Processing Information

The bulk of the collection which forms Series 2-10 were processed by Alan Akers in 2017. Series 1 was previously processed by Morris S. Levy with subsequent additions made in 2017 when additional correspondence was located within the unprocessed materials.

Finding aid written by Alan Akers, December 2017.

Guide to the Mario Di Bonaventura papers and music scores
Alan Akers
December 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Library Details

Part of the Music Library Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US