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Edward Aldwell papers

Identifier: MP-0001-01


Edward Aldwell (1938-2006) was an American pianist, music theorist, teacher, and recitalist. The Edward Aldwell papers consist of Aldwell’s course notes and files. Included in the collection are curricula, Schenkerian analyses, notes on a textbook he co-authored, and records pertaining to administrative matters at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Mannes School of Music.


  • 1969-2006



2.6 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection contains the teaching and lecture notes and files of concert pianist Edward Aldwell, who taught piano and music theory courses at both Mannes School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music between 1971 and 2006. A series of course materials contains notes from his courses in Bach piano performance, Form for Pianists, Harmony and Voice Leading (the text of which he co-authored), Schenkerian Analysis, and Species Counterpoint. Series pertaining to Curtis Institute of Music and Mannes School of Music contain administrative documents related to his teaching at those schools. Notes on specific lectures he delivered are contained in the lecture notes series, and a notebooks series includes several notebooks containing mostly Schenkerian analyses made by Aldwell of various musical works during his career. Numerous additional Schenkerian diagrams in Aldwell’s own hand that he created for the works of various composers, especially Johann Sebastian Bach, of whom he was a noted interpreter, form the bulk of materials for his classes in Schenkerian theory. Aldwell also created analyses of musical form for works he taught in his Bach and Form for Pianists courses which may be found in the collection.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use. Some files are restricted for a period of time in accordance with The New School Archives’ confidentiality policy, including student records, files with faculty and personnel information, and other sensitive university records. Please contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Biographical Note

Edward Aldwell (born January 20, 1938, Portland, Oregon – died May 28, 2006, Valhalla, New York) was an American pianist, music scholar, teacher and recitalist. He studied at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and later received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School, graduating in 1966. As a pianist, he was a noted interpreter of the music of Bach, and published recordings of The Well Tempered Klavier, Books I and II, The Goldberg Variations, The Art of Fugue, and Bach’s French Suites. His concert recitals, also featuring Bach’s piano music, were acclaimed by critics and audiences.

Aldwell was also a music theorist and a teacher and practitioner of Schenkerian analysis. He co-authored, with Carl Schachter, a standard text on music theory and analysis, Harmony and Voice Leading (1979). He was a faculty member of Mannes School of Music from 1969, teaching both piano and music theory, and also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia from 1971. He was a member of both schools' faculties until his death in 2006 in Valhalla, New York. After Aldwell's death, his estate contributed $1.5 million to the Mannes School of Music, the largest gift to that point in the school's history, to establish the Edward Aldwell Professorship in Techniques of Music.

References 2019. “Edward Aldwell Bio.” Edward Aldwell Institute. Accessed March 16, 2020.

"Edward Aldwell Honored." Mannes News 11, no. 2 (Summer 2007): 10-11.

Miller, Stephen. 2006. “Edward Aldwell, 68, Master of Bach Keyboard.” The New York Sun. Last modified May 31, 2006. accessed March 16, 2020.

Oron, Aryeh. 2012. “Edward Aldwell - Bach's Instrumental Works - Discography.” Last modified April 2012. Accessed March 16, 2020.

Wakin, Daniel, 2006. “Edward Aldwell, 68, Pianist and Teacher of Music Theory, Is Dead.” New York Times. Last modified June 3, 2006. Accessed March 16, 2020.


Materials are organized into 5 series: 1. Course materials, 2. Curtis Institute of Music, 3. Lecture Notes, 4. Mannes School of Music, 5. Notebooks. Within the first four series, materials are arranged alphabetically by subject, except for course notes on Species Counterpoint, which are partially arranged numerically by species, from first to fifth. In Series 5, dated notebooks are arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

Collection formerly housed in the Harry Scherman Library of Mannes College the New School for Music, formerly Mannes College of Music. No known accession record exists.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from Harry Scherman Library of the Mannes School of Music to The New School Archives and Special Collections, 2015.

Related Materials

The New School Archives holds the International Schenker Symposium records (MA.03.02.01), which includes details on the activities of the Mannes School of Music in the area of Schenker studies.

Processing Information

This collection was minimally processed and arranged by Harry Scherman Library staff and subsequently cataloged in a local Integrated Library System (ILS) with a different extent than the current one. New School Archives and Special Collections archivists retained folder titles as they appear to be Aldwell's own titles; titles were only altered for clarity. Additionally, archivists re-arranged the collection, resulting in fewer series and the elimination of a series titled, "Miscellaneous."

Materials that could be determined to relate to specific courses taught at Curtis Institute of Music or Mannes School of Music were grouped into those series, while general course materials were organized by course subject.

Guide to the Edward Aldwell collection
Jason Adamo and New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
March 29, 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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