Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Robert Commanday Papers 985.016
985.016  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (126.59 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Overview
 
Table of contents What's This?
Description
Robert Commanday (1922-2015) was educated at The Juilliard School of Music, Harvard University, and the University of California; he conducted and taught at Ithaca (NY) College, the University of Illinois, and at UC Berkeley. In 1964, he became the music and dance critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, a position he held from 1964-1993. Following his retirement from the San Francisco Chronicle, in 1998 he founded San Francisco Classical Voice (SFCV), a pioneering online resource for its time that would serve as a model for similar sites across the United States. Commanday also has a direct affiliation to the Museum of Performance + Design as he served as a strong advocate for the Museum (then known as the Archives of the Performing Arts) and its founder Russell Hartley since the 1970s and served on the Museum's Board of Trustees from 1982-2001. The collection primarily focuses on Robert Commanday's nearly thirty year career as the music and dance critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. The collection includes Commanday's articles, original notes, correspondence, research, and collected ephemera. The Papers have been arranged into the following series: Articles and Press Clippings, Reference Materials and Working Documents, and Photographic Materials.
Background
Robert Commanday was born on June 18, 1922 in Yonkers, NY. Commanday was educated at The Juilliard School of Music, Harvard University, and the University of California; he conducted and taught at Ithaca (NY) College, the University of Illinois, and at UC Berkeley. Following his graduation from Harvard, Commanday enlisted in the Army early in 1943, trained as a crypt analytic translator of encoded Japanese to serve in that capacity. After the war, he started his career as a choral conductor working with the Univeristy of California Glee Club, a role he held for almost 14 years. In 1964, he became the music and dance critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, a position he held until 1993. During that time, Commanday served as president of the Music Critics Association of North America twice; received the Deems Taylor Award for Music Criticism, the John Swett Award, and was honored as citizen of the year by the Il Cenacolo society and the Harvard Club of San Francisco. Following his retirement from the San Francisco Chronicle, out of concern about local newspapers' lack of addressing various musical activity in the San Francisco Bay Area, in 1998 he founded the San Francisco Classical Voice (SFCV). Funded by Gordon Getty, SFCV was a pioneering online resource for its time that would serve as a model for similar sites across the United States. Commanday also has a direct link to the Museum of Performance + Design as he served as a strong advocate for Russell Hartley and the Museum (then known as the Archives of the Performing Arts) since the 1970s. He also served on the Board of Trustees from 1982 to 2001. Commanday passed away on September 3, 2015 in his home in Oakland, California.
Extent
9.5 Linear feet 9 cartons, 1 document case
Restrictions
Museum of Performance + Design holds property rights. Copyright of all original works by Robert Commanday belong to his heirs. Copyright of photographs and collected materials belong to their respective creators.
Availability
This collection is open to researchers.