Collection 54 - University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio tape collection

Identity area

Reference code



University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio tape collection


  • 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

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

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.

Archival history

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

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Script of material

Language and script notes

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Finding aids

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.

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Notes area

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Description control area

Description identifier

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Rules and/or conventions used

Dates of creation revision deletion

Last revised December 13, 2021. RS.




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