Skip to main content

Phyllis Bryn-Julson papers

Identifier: PIMS-0100

Scope and Contents

This collection contains press materials relating to Phyllis Bryn-Julson, including performance programs and booklets from May 1964 to May 2004, press reviews from 1963 to 2005, promotional materials such as rehearsal itineraries, agency representation, newspaper and magazine articles, as well as oversized items including concert posters, newspaper articles, and award certificates. It contains opera libretti (mainly distributed by the Metropolitan Opera) as collected by Bryn-Julson; personal and professional correspondence, personal ephemera including photographs, miscellaneous recordings, composer information, and special event invitations and awards, production and career photographs, and reel-to-reels of Pas Moi by Heinz Holliger. The extensive music library of Bryn-Julson includes manuscript and facsimile scores of composers with whom she worked, including Pierre Boulez, David Del Tredici, Stephen Dickman, Jay Reise, and Frank Zappa. These scores and others in her collection contain Bryn-Julson's unique markings for performance.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1963-2005
  • Creation: 1882 - 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 is recognized as one of the most authoritative interpreters of vocal music of the 20th century. Born in North Dakota in 1945, she began studying the piano at age 3. She enrolled in Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., studying piano, organ, voice and violin. She received an honorary doctorate from Concordia in 1995. After attending the Tanglewood Summer Music Festival, she transferred to Syracuse University, studying voice with Helen Boatwright, completing her BM and MM degrees. During these college years, she made her debut with the Boston Symphony in Boston; Providence, R.I.; and Carnegie Hall in New York. She has sung with this orchestra and the New York Philharmonic dozens of times.

Bryn-Julson collaborated with Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble Intercontemporaine for much of her career, taking her to numerous festivals in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the former Soviet Union, and Japan. She has premiered works of many 20th-century composers, some of which were written for her. Included in this list are Boulez, Messiaen, Goehr, Kurtag, Holliger, Tavener, Rochberg, Del Tredici, Rorem, Carter, Babbitt, Birtwistle, Boone, Cage, Felciano, Wuorinen, Aperghis, and Penderecki.

Bryn-Julson gave performances of Kurtag's Kafka Fragments in New York at the Guggenheim Museum with Violaine Melançon, violinist. She took part in the Radical Past series in Los Angeles, giving four performances of the great works of Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Cathy Berberian, and Luciano Berio. She toured with the Peabody Trio throughout the United States and Canada, and recorded works of Samuel Adler for the Milken Foundation in Barcelona. She also toured with the Montreal Symphony, performing the award winning opera Il Prigioniero by Dallapiccola. Performances occurred at Carnegie Hall and in Montreal. Following this, she premiered the same work in Tokyo, where it was staged and televised. With Southwest Chamber Music Society, Bryn-Julson has performed and recorded the complete works of both Ernst Krenek and Mel Powell. In 2002, she premiered and recorded An American Decameron by Richard Felciano, commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation, and written for her and the Southwest Chamber Music Society.

Bryn-Julson has over 100 recordings to her credit, and her performance of Erwartung by Schönberg, with Simon Rattle conducting, won the 1995 best opera Gramophone Award. Her recording of the opera Il Prigioniero by Dallapiccola won the Prix du Monde. She has been nominated twice for Grammy awards; one for best opera recording (Erwartung), and best vocalist (Ligeti Vocal Works). She has received the Amphoion Award, The Dickinson College Arts Award, The Paul Hume Award, and the Catherine Filene Shouse Award. She was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame in 2000. She was the first musician to receive the United States--United Kingdom Bicentennial Exchange Arts Fellowship. She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Syracuse University, the Peabody Conservatory's Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Peabody Student Council Award for outstanding contribution to the Peabody community.

Bryn-Julson appeared with every major European and North American symphony orchestras under many of the leading conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Simon Rattle, Pierre Boulez, Leonard Slatkin, Leonard Bernstein, Claudio Abbado, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Gunther Schuller, and Erich Leinsdorf.

Bryn-Julson was a faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory from 1984 to 2017. She frequently performed with the Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center and with her husband, organist Donald Sutherland.


20 Cubic Feet (61 boxes)


Soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson taught at the Peabody Conservatory from 1984 to 2017 and is recognized as one of the most authoritative interpreters of vocal music of the 20th century. Her collection contains manuscript and facsimile scores by several notable composers with whom she worked, including Milton Babbitt, Pierre Boulez, Heinz Holliger, and David Del Tredici, as well as correspondence, programs, clippings, photographs, and other documents related to her career.


Collection arranged in seven series.

Series 1: Press Materials

Subseries A: Programs

Subseries B: Reviews

Subseries C: Promotional Materials

Subseries D: Oversized Items

Series 2: Opera Libretti

Series 3: Correspondence

Subseries A: Composers

Subseries B: Miscellaneous

Series 4: Ephemera

Series 5: Production/Career Photographs

Subseries A: Images

Subseries B: Scrapbooks

Series 6: Reel-to-reel tapes

Series 7: Music library

Subseries A: Composer Scores

Subseries B: Scores (Arranged by Composer)

Subseries C: Instrumental Scores

Subseries D: Sheet Music (Arranged by Title)

Subseries E: Song Albums (Arranged by Title)

Other Finding Aids

A PDF finding aid is available upon request. Please contact the Arthur Friedheim Library Archives for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposits by Bryn-Julson in 2005 and 2014 are on permanent loan to the Peabody Institute. Materials received in 1997 and 2016-2019 are gifts by Bryn-Julson.

Related Materials

Additional scores donated by Bryn-Julson, including manuscript scores by Babbitt and Del Tredici, can be located through the library catalog.

Other special collections that may contain materials on Bryn-Julson include the Theater Chamber Players records, the Donald Sutherland papers, and the Leon Fleisher papers. 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, and Rebecca Roose in 2016.

This collection is partially 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