Gardner Jencks papers
- Jencks, Gardner, 1907-1989 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
9.02 Cubic Feet (26 medium flat boxes, 1 oversize flat box)
Biographical / Historical
Jencks moved back to Baltimore in 1934 and attended the Peabody Conservatory beginning in 1937, earning an Artist Diploma in 1940 in both piano and composition. He gave two well-received piano recitals in New York in 1941 and 1942, but the war interrupted his career as a concert pianist.
From the 1940s until his death in 1989, Jencks wrote hundreds of sonatas and other pieces for piano, none of which was published. Jencks would perform his pieces privately for well-known composers including Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, Carl Ruggles, and Roger Sessions. His music drew on twelve-tone technique, the music of Webern and Cowell, and Jencks's own "dissonant chord theory." Pianist Marcia Mikulak worked with Jencks in 1979-1980, performing and recording some of his music.