Karen Irvin audiotape collection, circa 1956-1973  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Irvin, Karen, 1910?-1999
Karen Irvin audiotape collection
circa 1956-1973 (inclusive)
5 boxes (120 - 7" sound reels, 55 - 5" sound reels, 1 - 4" sound reel, 1 - 3" sound reel, 19 sound cassettes, 1 phonodisc)
Collection Number
Collection of sound recordings for the Cornish Ballet performances and recitals, taught by Karen Irvin
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Access restricted: For terms of access, contact University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

Records stored off site; advance notice required for use.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Born in Hastings, Pennsylvania, ca. 1910, Karen Irvin moved with her family to Seattle, Washington at age 8. It was there that she began to study ballet with Caird Leslie, Lee Foley, and ultimately with Nellie Cornish of the Cornish School (now Cornish College of the Arts). She studied briefly in New York, then returned to the northwest where she opened a ballet studio in West Seattle. Irvin joined the Cornish faculty in 1945, and in 1952 she became head of the institution's dance department. Four years later, she co-founded Cornish Ballet -- an early contributor to the regional ballet movement -- with her longtime companion, Mea Hartman. Irvin headed the dance department at Cornish for 27 years, and was responsible for designing the college's dance degree program. She trained dancers for companies such as the Joffrey Ballet, Twyla Tharp Dance, the Pennsylvania Ballet, and National Ballet of Canada, and worked to raise Seattle's stature in the dance world. Miss Irvin died of heart failure on March 2, 1999, at the age of 89.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

Cornish College of the Arts is a fully accredited institution in the Denny Triangle and Capitol Hill neighborhoods of Seattle, Washington that offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance, Theater, Performance Production, Design, and Fine Art, as well as the Bachelor of Music degree. Today it is nationally recognized as a premier college for the visual and performing arts, and one of only three fully accredited private colleges in the entire nation dedicated to educating both performing and visual artists. Founded in 1914 as the Cornish School of Music, the name was changed a few years later, in 1920, to The Cornish School. In the 1950s, the name was lengthened to the Cornish School of Allied Arts; in 1977 it became the Cornish Institute of Allied Arts, and in 1986, the Cornish College of the Arts.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Karen Irvin Audiotape collection consists of sound recordings from Irvin's tenure with the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. These sound recodings appear to have been used for Cornish Ballet performances and recitals.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on copying, quotation, or publication. Contact University of Washington Libraries Special Collections for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
1 Audiotapes and recordings
19 sound cassettes, 14 - 7" sound reels, 7 - 5" sound reels, 1 - 4" sound reels, 1 - 3" sound reels, 1 phonodisc
Titles include: West of Moon, Spectrum, Patrie, Tristar-That's the Way it Goes, Tristar- TV's OK, Puttin' on the Ritz, Mask of the Red Death, and A Rememberance. Sound recordings of works by Bach, Massenet, Rossini, Satie, Prokofiev, Shostakovitch, and Brahms.
2 Audiotapes
48 - 5" sound reels
Titles include: Printemps, Theft of the Brooch, Swan Lake, Florendo, Mignon, En Avant, A Rememberance, Music D'art Album, Charades, Spectrum, and Satie Reeve. Sound recordings of works by Surinach, Massenet, Bach, Prokofveff, Schumann, Rodrigo, Webern
circa 1970
3 Audiotapes
34 - 7" sound reels
Titles include: La Patrie, Ah Fickle Fate, Lament, Noctorn, Improntu, Jubilation, and Rondo. Sound recordings of works by Bartok, Dvorak, Purcell, Shuman, Rameau, Reigger, and Mahler
circa 1970
4 Audiotapes
36 - 7" sound reels
Titles include: Mask of Red Death, Ah Fickle Fate, Theft of the Brooch, Aranjuez, A Rememberance, Circa, and Napoleonic Marches. Sound recordings of works by Rossini, Stravinsky, Mahler, Bach, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich
circa 1960-1970
5 Audiotapes
36 - 7" sound reels
Titles include: First Symphony 1959, Printemps, L'Etoile Filante, Lamentation, En Avant, Concertante #1, Salutation Time of Parting, Church of Reddemer Palm Sunday, and Lollipops Aus Wien. Sound recording of works by Bach, Godowksy, Roddenberg, Stravinsky, Mahler, Herbolsherimer, and Shostakovich.
circa 1970

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Ballets--Specimens
  • Dance accompaniment music--Specimens
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Sound recordings

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Moving Image Collections (University of Washington)
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)