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New York Harp Ensemble collection

Identifier: MSS 7766

Scope and Contents

The collection contains concert programs, correspondence, photographs, press clippings, ensemble arrangements, and books associated with the New York Harp Ensemble (NYHE). Earliest materials are from 1954, but a majority are from 1970 to 1997, the years of the NYHE's existence. There are also videos and audiocassettes related to Aristid von Würtzler, the director of the New York Harp Ensemble. Materials were collected mainly by Aristid von Würtzler while directing the Ensemble and arranged by his wife Barbara von Wützler before donation to Brigham Young University.


  • approximately 1904-2005


Language of Materials

Materials in English with some materials in Hungarian, French, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Dutch.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the New York Harp Ensemble collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Administrative History

The New York Harp Ensemble (1970-1997) toured the world performing the arrangements and original compositions of its creator, Aristid von Würtzler.

In 1969, Aristid von Würtzler organized the first international harp competition in the United States, at the Hartford College of music. Harpists from twenty-two different countries came to participate. The event was so well received that Aristid wanted it to continue, and in 1970, he created the New York Harp Ensemble (NYHE). For a period of twenty-seven years, the NYHE played together and traveled throughout the world. They played concerts in every state, with the exception of Alaska, and visited fifty-three different countries. They had the privilege to play for dignitaries and royalty, including four different U.S. presidents (Carter, Regan/Bush, and twice for Clinton). The Ensemble also made over twenty recordings. Throughout the twenty-seven years of the Ensemble, only Barbara and Aristid were regular members. There were usually four members at a time, adding up to a total of fourteen different harpists throughout the years. But because they were only paid for the concerts, the members had to find other things to do for a living. And with the rigorous travel schedules, it was hard for some of the members to commit because of their families and children. Because of this, Aristid took on many roles, whether it was as conductor, arranger, or soloist. The Ensemble usually played from Aristid's original harp transcriptions and had daily three-hour rehearsals. All of the music was copyrighted by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), but nothing was ever published because Aristid wanted the music to be exclusive to the Ensemble and wanted to ensure that his music was only played at a professional level. One hundred seventy-six different composers are represented in the music Aristid created and most are arranged for four harps. With Aristid von Würtzler's death in 1997, the New York Harp Ensemble also died. The Ensemble played a few memorial concerts, but that was the end. Aristid's influence and vision of the ensemble was what had held it together throughout the years.


53 boxes (26.5 linear ft.)


Arranged into six series: 1. New York Harp Ensemble concert season literature, 1958-1999. 2. New York Harp Ensemble correspondence, 1954-1996. 3. New York Harp Ensemble photographs, undated. 4. New York Harp Ensemble press clippings, 1956-1993. 5. New York Harp Ensemble ensemble arrangements, undated. 6. New York Harp Ensemble videocassettes and audiocassettes, circa 1982-1994.

The original order of the collection has been retained. Items in the series are spread throughout the collection.

Custodial History

Materials were collected by Aristid von Wützler. After his death in 1997, they were in the possession of his wife, Barbara von Würtzler, who donated the collection in 2005.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Barbara von Würtzler; June 2005.


Prominent Harpists, (Section IV.a.i. International Harp Collection Development Policy January 2011).

Processing Information

Processed; Lynzi Phillips; March 2011.

  • ASCAP Biographical Dictionary
Register of the New York Harp Ensemble collection
Lynzi Phillips
2011 March 2
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States