- 1949-1988, predominant 1959-1979 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
27 boxes of audio reels + 5 film reels + 2 card catalogues + 50 cm of textual records
Name of creator
By the late 1950s, Electronic Music had become an accepted academic discipline. It opened new areas of musical experience and extended the modern musicians' traditional range of taste. It created an awareness of the perimeters of musical performance and composition to an extent that was impossible until the techniques and equipment of Electronic Music were developed. In order to make available the results and benefits of the research and instruction in this area, Dr. Arnold Walter, in his capacity as Director, established in May of 1959 the Electronic Music Studio (UTEMS) as an integral and permanent division within the Music Faculty of the University of Toronto. Dr. Hugh Le Caine, of the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa, was the technical advisor who maintained a dominant role in the technical development of new equipment and studio techniques. The original staff consisted of Dr. Arnold Walter, Professor Harvey Olnick, and Professor Myron Schaeffer.
UTEMS was the second university studio in North America. It followed the creation of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in 1958. The New York studio was funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The initial proposal suggested a consortium that was to include the University of Toronto studio, but Rockefeller apparently intervened and rejected the plan.
The Electronic Music Studio of the University of Toronto was initially housed in an old house on Division Street, near Spadina and College—now the site of the CAMH building—pending completion of the new Edward Johnson Memorial Faculty of Music Building.
Myron Schaeffer was hired in 1958 to teach musicology and to develop the Electronic Music Studio. Correspondence from 1957-58 indicates that musicologist Harvey Olnick (an American, coming to the faculty via Columbia-Princeton) made enquiries about equipment purchases for the studio.
Following Schaeffer's death in 1965, Professor Gustav Ciamaga became the director of the studio. While Ciamaga was Dean of the Faculty of Music in the mid 80s, the position was passed to Professor Dennis Patrick. Since 2019, UTEMS has been under the direction of Professor Eliot Britton.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Tapes transferred to the Music Library with from the University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio (UTEMS). The transfer (A2020-05) also included some personal papers of Gustav Ciamaga and Myron Schaeffer, which had been left in the Studio. The administrative records of UTEMS are held at the University of Toronto Archives. Research materials and manuals deposited by Dennis Patrick (A2021-13).
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Collection consists of electronic music compositions created at the University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio (UTEMS) and copies of tapes made at other electronic music studios around the world. The collection includes the two original card-catalogue indices for the tape collection, organized by tape number and by composer, and accompanying reports and manuals used in the studio.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Collection consists of two series: (A) Tape collection; (B) Accompanying research materials and manuals.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Uploaded finding aid
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Streaming copies of some tapes available. For digital copies of other tapes, contact the Music Library.
Related units of description
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Dates of creation revision deletion
Last revised December 13, 2021. RS.