Fonds 11 - Udo Kasemets fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Udo Kasemets fonds


  • 1947-2011 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4.2 m of textual records + 44 audio reels + 15 audio cassettes (37 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Udo Kasemets, composer, pianist and writer, was born in Tallinn, Estonia, November 16, 1919, and emigrated to Canada in 1951, becoming a leader in the experimental avant-garde in music in Toronto. He passed away on January 19, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario.

Kasemets trained at the Tallinn Conservatory and the Stuttgart Academy of Music, as well as the Kranichstein Institute for New Music in Darmstadt, where he encountered Ernst Krenek, Edgard Varèse and Hermann Scherchen. In 1962-1963, Kasemets organized the first new music series in Toronto, "Men, Minds and Music," followed by the establishment of the Isaacs Gallery Mixed Media Concerts in 1965. In 1968, he directed the first Toronto Festival of Arts and Technology entitled "SightSoundSystems." In 1971, he joined the Faculty of the Department of Experimental Art at the Ontario College of Art, where he taught until his retirement in 1987.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Materials donated by Udo Kasemets and Susan Layard.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of sketches, drafts, and texts for Udo Kasemets’s compositions, including scores prior to 1960 that use conventional media, and those after 1960, which consists of multi-purpose scores, combination scores, and theatre pieces. The fonds also contains programs and press notices for performances by Udo Kasemets and of his works; correspondence with many American avant-garde musicians; and Kasemets’s projects and notes from his time teaching at the Ontario College of Art.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


The Udo Kasemets fonds consists of three accruals by the composer (1990, 1996, and 1998), and one by Susan Layard (2014). Where known, the date of accrual is indicated at the file-level. No further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The original order that the material was presented in has been maintained.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

No restrictions of access. Archival records may be viewed in the Olnick Rare Book Room at the University of Toronto Music Library.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is retained by the artist.

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Notes area


Previously titled "Archives Collection 11: Udo Kasemets." Reference code (11) removed from the title of the collection July 30, 2019.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entire finding aid reviewed August 2019.




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