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Phyllis Bryn-Julson papers

Identifier: PIMS-0100

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Phyllis Bryn-Julson papers, 1880-2019 (bulk: 1964-2016), contain materials mostly related to Bryn-Julson's singing career.

Series 1 contains publicity materials relating to Bryn-Julson, including concert programs and booklets from 1964 to 2004, press reviews from 1963 to 2005, and rehearsal itineraries, agency representation, and reviews and other clippings from newspapers and magazines.

Series 2 contains opera libretti, mainly distributed by the Metropolitan Opera, as collected by Bryn-Julson.

Series 3 contains personal and professional correspondence, including letters from well-known contemporary composers such as Pierre Boulez, David Del Tredici, and Ned Rorem.

Series 4 contains subject files and ephemera about Bryn-Julson and some of her musical collaborators.

Series 5 contains photographs and photo albums, including publicity portraits and performance photos.

Series 6 contains two reel-to-reel audiotapes of Pas Moi by Heinz Holliger as used in performance by Bryn-Julson at the work's premiere in 1980.

Series 7 contains musical scores from Bryn-Julson's library, many with performance markings. These include manuscript and facsimile scores of composers with whom she worked, including Pierre Boulez, David Del Tredici, Stephen Dickman, Jay Reise, and Frank Zappa. The series also contains Bryn-Julson's collection of popular sheet music.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1963-2005
  • Creation: 1880 - 2019


Language of Materials

The bulk of the materials are in English, but some clippings and texts set to music are in European languages such as French, German, Italian, and Russian.

Conditions Governing Access

Processed materials are open for use at the Arthur Friedheim Library Archives of the Peabody Institute. Unprocessed materials may be made available upon request. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or perform materials in this collection must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library.

Biographical / Historical

Phyllis Bryn-Julson (b. 1945) is an American soprano known for her performances and recordings of 20th-century vocal music. She studied music at Concordia College in Minnesota from 1963 to 1965, participated in the Tanglewood Summer Festival from 1964 to 1967, and transferred to Syracuse University, where she studied voice with Helen Boatwright and earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees. While pursuing her degrees, Bryn-Julson made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1965 with the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble and performed as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra beginning in 1966.

Bryn-Julson’s expansive vocal range and precise sense of pitch helped her become a leading interpreter of modern vocal music. Over the course of her career, Bryn-Julson premiered works written specifically for her by dozens of contemporary composers, including Pierre Boulez, David Del Tredici, Stephen Dickman, Richard Felciano, Heinz Holliger, György Ligeti, Philip Rhodes, Ned Rorem, and Charles Wuorinen. For more than four decades, Bryn-Julson performed at least 50 times a year, appearing in recitals or as a soloist with many major symphony orchestras of North America and Europe. She was also known for her performances of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, which she performed with multiple ensembles, including the Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center.

Bryn-Julson taught voice at the University of Maryland, College Park, from 1971 to 1984, and at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University from 1984 to her retirement in 2017. She and her husband, organist Donald S. Sutherland, received the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Heritage Award in 2017 for their teaching and service. Bryn-Julson and Sutherland were also long-time contributors to the music program at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland.


22 Cubic Feet (64 boxes, 2 reels, and 1 oversize folder)


Soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson taught at the Peabody Institute from 1984 to 2017 and is known for her performances and recordings of 20th-century vocal music. The Phyllis Bryn-Julson papers contain programs, photographs, and other publicity materials from her singing career, correspondence with composers and other musicians, and scores of vocal music with Bryn-Julson's performance markings.


Collection arranged in seven series.

Series 1: Programs and publicity
Series 2: Opera libretti
Series 3: Correspondence
Series 4: Subject files and ephemera
Series 5: Photographs
Series 6: "Pas moi" recordings
Series 7: Scores

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The items contained in series 6 are reel-to-reel audiotapes that exhibit signs of mold. Therefore, access to these items may be limited depending on the physical condition of each item, as well as the department's ability to support the playback of recordings stored on outdated media. Please contact for more information.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed inventory for series 1 and 7 is available upon request. Please contact the Arthur Friedheim Library Archives at

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials received in 1997, 2005, and 2016-2019 are gifts by Bryn-Julson. Deposit by Bryn-Julson and Donald Sutherland in 2014 is on permanent loan to the Peabody Institute.

Related Materials

Additional scores donated by Bryn-Julson, including manuscript scores by Milton Babbitt and David Del Tredici, can be located through the library catalog. Commercial recordings of Bryn-Julson can be found through the library catalog.

Other special collections that contain materials related to Bryn-Julson include the Theater Chamber Players records (PIMS.0070), the Donald Sutherland papers (PIMS.0136), and the Leon Fleisher papers (PIMS.0081). The Peabody Institute sound and video recordings (PIRG.13.01) contain several recordings of Bryn-Julson in performance at the Peabody Institute.

Processing Information

Processed by Elizabeth Schaaf in 2005; Sean Doyle, Rebecca Roose, and Jennifer Ottervik in 2016; and Carlos Meyers and Matt Testa in 2023. This collection is processed.



Guide to the Phyllis Bryn-Julson papers
Matt Testa
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA