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Frederick Werlé music manuscripts and papers

Identifier: MP-0019-01


Frederick Werlé (1910-1997) was a composer, music teacher, and a former dean of the Mannes College of Music. His papers primarily consist of reel-to-reel and LP audio recordings and original music manuscripts. Also present in the collection are newspaper clippings, published music scores, concert programs, correspondence and notes.


  • 1926-1996



11 Cubic Feet (14 boxes, 1 oversize folder)

47 1/4 inch Audio Tape

36 Analog Recordings (Vinyl LP discs)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection consists of documents relating to Frederick Werlé's life and career, including correspondence, photographs, press clippings, notes on music theory and composition, performance programs, and collected research on composer Franz Liszt, as well as manuscripts and manuscript copies of musical works written by Frederick Werlé, including piano arrangements, large ensemble pieces, choral and organ works, musical theater scores, and numerous solo piano pieces. There are also many incomplete and untitled musical sketches notated by Werlé, and some pieces by other composers known to Werlé. The collection also contains several analog LP and 1/4 inch audiotape recordings of performances of Frederick Werlé's works, some of which were performed by ensembles from Mannes College of Music, where Werlé was a faculty member and the school's dean from 1972 to 1973.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use, but no access copies of recordings are currently available. Researchers desiring access and willing to pay a digitization fee may do so upon consultation with The New School Archives. Please contact for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical Note

Frederick Werlé (1910-1997) was a composer, teacher, and a former dean of the Mannes College of Music. He studied piano with noted French composer and pianist Robert Casadesus, and composition with the renowned composer and teacher Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He also studied composition in Italy with Rosario Scalero. Werlé received a Bachelor of Science in music degree from Cincinnati Conservatory in 1933, a diploma in composition from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 1938, and a Master of Music degree from Eastman School of Music in 1939.

Werlé joined Mannes College of Music in 1953 as an administrative assistant and concert manager, having previously been a member of the piano and theory faculty of the Montclair State Teachers’ College (now Montclair State University) for two years and the head of the theory department at Greenwich House Music School for six years. He became a member of the Techniques of Music faculty at Mannes in 1956.

In 1964, Werlé was appointed assistant dean of Mannes College, and in 1966, associate dean. He briefly became Mannes College’s dean in 1972, and retired as dean in the spring of 1973 in order to devote more time to his composition classes and to serve as director of Mannes College’s Extension Division, the adult/non-degree music program. Werlé was the director of the Extension Division until 1976, during which time he created the division’s diploma program. He remained a member of the Mannes faculty until 1990.

Werlé was also a prolific composer, with several published works. He composed many pieces for solo piano, including Pastorale (1953), Toccata for Piano and Sonata Brevis (1956), and Vignettes: Ten Short Piano Pieces (1981). He also composed a variety of other works, such as Pickup: A Musical Vignette in One Act with a libretto by Maria Ehret (1957), Four Sketches for Brass (1967), and Passacaglia and Fugue for Organ (1980).

Werlé also published many educational works for student pianists, including The Color Wheel (1982), which includes piano pieces in all of the major and minor keys, each named for a different color, and Spelling at the Piano: Improvisations Based on the Music Alphabet (1997) which includes works composed of words spelled by the letter names of musical notes.

Werlé died in Southbury, Connecticut at the age of 87.


Copyright Office, The Library of Congress. Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third Series. Vol 11, Part 2, No. 1. Washington D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1957.

Course Catalogs. “Mannes College of Music.” 1953-1990. College of Performing Arts Course Catalog Collection. The New School Archives Digital Collections, New York, New York.

“Frederick Werlé, 87, Composer and Teacher.” The New York Times, May 25, 1997.

“Werlé, Frederick.” OCLC WorldCat Identities. Accessed May 14, 2020.

“Werlé Named Extension Director; Tcimpidis Succeeds Him as Dean.” Notes from Mannes 8, no. 1 (November 1973): 6.


Arranged alphabetically by subject in 3 series: 1. Personal papers; 2. Music manuscripts; 3. Recordings.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Sheryl Shakinovsky, a friend of Werlé, in two accessions. The first was delivered in 2014 to Mannes College of Music's Scherman Library and subsequently transferred to the New School Archives. The second was delivered in 2016 to the Archives by Sheryl Shakinovsky.

Guide to the Frederick Werlé music manuscripts and papers
Jason Adamo and New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • August 8, 2023: Jason Adamo added several manuscript scores to the collection from Mannes School of Music records.