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The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Records


The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra originally formed in 1912, under the direction of C. D. Lusk. The outbreak of WWI caused the Orchestra to temporarily disband in 1917. The Orchestra was re-founded by original member Brooks Morris in 1925. Morris served as Music Director and Conductor until 1943, when WWII forced the orchestra to disband once again. In 1957, Morris restarted the Orchestra again, with Robert Hull as Music Director and Conductor. That same year, the Symphony League of Fort Worth was formed.

Ezra Rachlin took over as Music Director and Conductor from 1965 - 1971. In 1972, John Giordano was appointed Music Director and Conductor, a position he held for 27 years. Giordano was an integral part in forming the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra (formerly the Texas Little Symphony), which performed at Carnegie Hall in 1980. Since then, tours have included Mexico in 1981, China in 1983, and Spain in 1990. In 2008, the Symphony made its own debut at Carnegie Hall. Miguel Harth-Bedoya was appointed Music Director in 2000, a position he holds today.


The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Records were donated on March 19, 2008, by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association and Melinda W. Hayden.

Scope and Contents Note

The collection is comprised of programs, marketing materials, photographs, negatives, slides, audio/visual recordings, clippings and scrapbooks. The materials date from 1866 - 2007, and measure 50.08 linear feet (142). The collection contains three record groups: Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Records, Norwood Dixon Papers and Brooks Morris Papers. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Records have been divided into nine series: Board of Directors, Marketing, Tours/Events, Programs, Photographs, Audio/Visual, Scrapbooks, Clippings and Oversize.

  • Board of Directors Series (1980 - 1997): Agendas, minutes, bylaws and master agreements. Most of the materials in this series were housed in binders labeled “Important Records”. These have been removed from their binders for preservation reasons. The folders contain materials from the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee.
  • Marketing Series (1947 - 2002): Advertisements, brochures, invitations, fliers, program inserts, press releases and artist files. Materials relate to the marketing practices of the symphony, from advertising rate cards and contracts to examples of promotional materials, and files on guests artists which include resumes and photographs to be used in publications. The bulk of the photographs were kept together and can be found in the Photographs series.
  • Tours/Events Series (1925 - 2003): Planning materials, clippings, photographs and advertisements from various Symphony events. Significant events include Oktoberfest and tours to Spain and China.
  • Programs Series (1916 - 2002): Programs from Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra performances including regular season concerts and other events such as accompanying the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet. Programs from other various other groups are also included as well as programs from the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The programs are arranged in chronological order by year. Additional programs may be found in the Norwood Dixon Papers and Brooks Morris Papers.
  • Photographs Series (1957 - 1998): Photographs, slides and negatives from various concerts, tours, and promotional campaigns. Materials are arranged in three subseries: General, People, and Slides and are arranged in alphabetical order.
  • Audio/Visual Series (1975 - 2004): Various forms of audio/visual recordings featuring recordings of Symphony performances, commercial recordings and other events. The library does not have the equipment to play the majority of the formats of the recordings.
  • Scrapbooks Series (1959 - 1982): 15 scrapbooks containing mostly clippings and photographs. Scrapbooks have been arranged by date.
  • Clippings Series (1957 - 2007): Newspaper clippings and magazine articles focusing on the symphony. Most clippings were originally kept in notebooks by season; these have been removed from their binders. The Symphony also produced plastic comb bound books titled, Did You See Us in the News?? These contain clippings of the symphony and have been unbound for preservation concerns. The materials have been arranged alphabetically in date order.
  • Oversize Series (1939 - 2000): Mostly signs, posters and photographs including a telegram from President Ronald Reagan, two of Ezra Rachlin’s batons and a poster advertising Ella Fitzgerald’s performance with the Symphony.
  • Norwood Dixon Papers (1912 - 1996): Materials collected or created by Norwood Dixon. The materials have been divided into three series: Orchestra Materials, Programs and Publications. As a writer for fine arts in the Fort Worth area, much of the material relates to research for his publications as well as several of his published works. Also included are programs, A Handel on Norwood signed musical manuscript and a Stradivarius Certificate of Authentication.
  • Brooks Morris Papers (1866 - 1992): The materials focus on Brooks Morris’s involvement in music in the Fort Worth area, including the All-City Senior Orchestra and Chorus and the Youth Orchestra of Greater Fort Worth and has been divided into four series: Biographical, Photographs, Programs, and Oversize.


Archives Collections:

  • Fort Worth Symphony Programs

Vertical Files:

  • Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra – Miscellaneous 785.06
  • Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra – Programs 785.06
  • Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra – (by year) 785.06
  • Cliburn, Van 92

Return to Archival Collections

Last updated: Oct. 20, 2014