Leslie Bassett Papers

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Leslie Bassett Papers

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Leslie Bassett Papers collection held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Leslie Bassett is a composer and professor of music at the University of Michigan. Bassett’s papers, consisting of correspondence, collected memorabilia, photographs, lectures, scrapbooks, and music, document his career as a composer and professor of music.

Leslie Bassett is a composer and professor of music at the University of Michigan. He was born in Hanford, California on January, 23, 1923 and was exposed to music when he first learned to play the piano as a child. In high school, he continued piano and also picked up the trombone. After a few semesters at Fresno State University, he served in World War II in the 13th Armored Division Band of the US Army as a trombonist, but also composed and arranged music.

He earned his Bachelor's degree from Fresno State University in 1947 and then received both his master's degree (1949) and his doctorate (1956) in music composition at the University of Michigan, studying under Ross Lee Finney. In 1950, he was a Fulbright Fellow, studying at the École Normale de Musique in Paris. Bassett began teaching at the University of Michigan in 1952, remaining there until he retired in 1991. While at the University of Michigan, he helped to found the Electronic Music Studio and also headed the Composition Department.

Bassett earned many prizes and awards for his composing and his teaching. Most notably, he won the Pulitzer Prize in Music for Variations for Orchestra in 1966 and in 1984 was named the Henry Russel Lecturer, "the highest honor to be awarded a senior faculty member and the first time that the lectureship had gone to a musician or artist." (Johnson, p.3).

He composed his music for a variety of different instruments and genres including music for orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber music, choral music, brass, solo voice, instrumental solos, organ, piano as well as electronic music.

Please note:

Copyright to his musical compositions is retained by Leslie Bassett; copyright to correspondence has been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

Access to digitized sound recordings may be limited to the reading room of the Bentley Historical Library, located on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan.

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