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Hugo Weisgall Oral History

Identifier: SCA-0074

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of four interviews with Hugo Weisgall between 1980-1981. These phone conversations were carried out by Laura Leon as part of her research for her dissertation at the Teacher's College, Columbia University. The dissertation was titled "A Study, Analysis, and Performance of the Songs and Song Cycles for Voice and Piano by Hugo Weisgall".


  • 1981-07-07 - 1982-01-10


Conditions Governing Access

Digital files will be shared upon request for private study, scholarship, and research. Researchers must first fill out a digital reproduction request form. Please email for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproductions may be provided to users to support research and scholarship. However, collection use is subject to all copyright laws. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Biographical / Historical

Hugo Weisgall was a conductor and composer known primarily for his contributions to opera, vocal music composition and his large-scale cycle songs reflecting Judaic and western literature themes. Born in Ivančice, Moravia, on October 13, 1912, he emigrated with his parents to Baltimore in 1920. Weisgall studied at the Peabody Institute and the Curtis Institute of Music, eventually earning a Ph.D. in German literature at Johns Hopkins University. During World War II, he served as an assistant military attaché to General S. Patton during World War II. After the war, Weisgall founded and directed the Chamber Society of Baltimore and the Hilltop Opera Company. Along with teaching at Johns Hopkins University, the Juilliard School and being involved with instructional outreach programs at Lincoln Center, Weisgall also joined the Queens College faculty in 1961—brought in by Leo Kraft—and retired in 1983 as Distinguished Professor of Music. His greatest ongoing project, and dearest to his heart, was his forty-four-year involvement with the Jewish Theological seminary. Weisgall died in Great Neck, Long Island, on March 11, 1997.

Biographical / Historical

Laura Leon is a pianist recognized for her performances and recordings of a wide array of American composers, including Peter Schickele, Eric Ewazen, Leo Kraft, Hugo Weisgall, William Bolcom, Steven Rosenhaus, Norman Dello Joio, Morton Gould, and Mark Isham.

She is a Queens College Alumnus and graduated with her BA in Music in 1976 and her Masters in Piano Performances in 1978. She met Hugo Weisgall on campus at Queens College and subsequently interviewed him for her dissertation at the Teacher's College, Columbia University.


26 Digital Files (Four interviews: Interview 1 is comprised of 6 digital files; Interview 2 is comprised of 10 digital files; Interview 3 is comprised of 6 digital files; Interview 4 is comprised of 4 digital files.) ; Duration of Interview 1: 00:56:00 Duration of Interview 2: 01:13:00 Duration of Interview 3: 01:14:00 Duration of Interview 4: 00:44:00

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to Queens College by Laura Leon and Jonathan M. Weisgall in May, 2019.

Related Materials

The Hugo Weisgall Papers at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts includes scores, libretti, posters, correspondence, clippings, programs, writings on music, financial documents and photographs:


Hugo Weisgall Oral History
In Progress
Kuba Pieczarski
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Repository Details

Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Special Collections and Archives Repository

Queens College Library, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us