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Jean Eichelberger Ivey papers

Identifier: PIMS-0078

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Jean Eichelberger Ivey papers, approximately 1923-2005, contain Ivey's creative works, professional materials, and personal papers. Series 1 contains manuscript and printed musical scores of Ivey's compositions and includes sketches, drafts, and related notes. Series 2 contains text written or collected by Ivey, including academic notebooks, creative writing, professional articles, technical documentation, and personal notes. Series 3 contains personal and professional correspondence. Series 4 contains programs, clippings, and publicity related to Ivey's career as a composer and pianist. Series 5 contains professional and personal photographs. Series 6 contains diplomas and honorary documents. Series 7 consists of sound recordings of Ivey's music, experimental tapes, and recordings collected by Ivey.


  • Creation: approximately 1923-2005


Conditions Governing Access

The bulk of the collection is open for use at the Arthur Friedheim Library Archives of the Peabody Institute. Photographic negatives are unprocessed and therefore not available. 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.

Copyrights held by Ivey at the time of her death have been transferred to the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. All requests for permission to publish or perform Ivey's works must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library at

Biographical / Historical

Jean Eichelberger Ivey (1923-2010) was a composer, pianist, and the founder of the Peabody Conservatory Electronic Music Studio.

Born in 1923 to Joseph S. Eichelberger and Mary Elizabeth Pfeiffer, Jean B. Eichelberger Ivey attended high school at the Academy of Notre Dame in Washington, D.C. She then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1944 from Trinity College in Washington and a Master of Music in piano in 1946 from the Peabody Conservatory. She studied composition with Wayne Barlow at the Eastman School of Music, first during a 1948 summer session, and later while earning her Master of Music in composition in 1956. In the late 1940s and 1950s she taught music theory at Trinity College, the Peabody Conservatory, and the Catholic University of America. As a concert pianist, she gave recitals in Mexico in 1957-1958 and in Germany and Austria in 1958. While on tour, she met and married Fred Ivey, an American living in Germany. (Their marriage ended in divorce in 1974.) Upon returning to the United States and living in New Orleans and then Wichita, Kansas, Jean Ivey grew interested in electronic music, particularly after attending a lecture in 1963 by Milton Babbitt and Vladimir Ussachevsky. In 1964 she began a Doctor of Musical Arts program in composition, including studies in electronic music, at the University of Toronto and completed the degree in 1972.

At the 1967 Peabody Conservatory Summer Session, Ivey presented a workshop on electronic music, using her own tape recorders and borrowed equipment, for an audience of school music teachers. She then persuaded the Conservatory to purchase its own equipment and launch the Peabody Electronic Music Studio in 1969, the first such studio at a conservatory. Ivey directed the studio (later renamed the Computer Music Studio) and coordinated the electronic music composition program at Peabody until the early 1990s, earning tenure in 1976 and serving as an adviser to dozens of composers over the years. She published many articles on music and her experience establishing the studio, including her 1970 article for the Proceedings of the American Society of University Composers, "An Electronic Music Studio at a Conservatory." For most of her time as a professor at Peabody, Ivey commuted to Baltimore from her home in New York City. She retired in 1997.

As a composer, Ivey's early works were entirely acoustic and mostly tonal and neoclassical in style. Beginning in the 1960s she began to incorporate serialism and compose electronic music, most of which combined electronic sounds with live musicians. Pinball, a work of musique concrète for tape, was written in 1965 to accompany a short film by Wayne Sourbeer. A 1973 recording for Folkways Records, Music by Jean Eichelberger Ivey for Voices, Instruments, and Tape, features three works for electronics and live musicians, plus her Cortege for Charles Kent, a purely electronic piece that was the first to be composed in the Peabody Electronic Music Studio. Testament of Eve (1976), a monodrama for voice, orchestra, and tape, and The Birthmark (1981-1982), an opera, were set to Ivey's own texts. Other major works include her Hera, Hung from the Sky (1973) for mezzo-soprano, chamber ensemble, and tape; Sea-Change (1979) for orchestra and tape; Notes toward Time (1983) for mezzo-soprano, flute, and harp; and Voyager (1987) for cello and orchestra.

Ivey has been the subject of a half-hour television documentary (A Woman Is... a Composer, 1973) and two graduate studies: The Vocal Works of Jean Eichelberger Ivey by Rose Marie Muennich (Ph.D. dissertation, Michigan State University, 1983) and Jean Eichelberger Ivey: Current Research and Interviews with Former Colleagues and Students by Heather Woodworth (M.M. thesis, Peabody Conservatory, 2010). The approximately 25 recordings Woodworth digitized for her research portfolio are part of the Jean Eichelberger Ivey papers.


30 Cubic Feet (56 boxes and approximately 250 media items)

Language of Materials



Jean Eichelberger Ivey (1923-2010) was a composer, pianist, electronic musician, professor, and the founder of the Peabody Conservatory Electronic Music Studio, which she directed from 1969 until her retirement from Peabody in 1997. The Jean Eichelberger Ivey papers contain scores and recordings of Ivey's musical works, writings and notes by Ivey, personal and professional correspondence, programs and clippings, photographs, and other personal and professional papers.


The collection is arranged in seven series.

Series 1: Scores, approximately 1940-2000
Subseries 1.A: Songs
Subseries 1.B: Opera
Subseries 1.C: Choral music
Subseries 1.D: Chamber music
Subseries 1.E: Piano music
Subseries 1.F: Orchestral music
Subseries 1.G: Electronic music
Subseries 1.H: Musical sketches

Series 2: Writings and collected documentation, approximately 1932-2000
Subseries 2.A: Notebooks
Subseries 2.B: Poetry and short fiction
Subseries 2.C: School assignments and course notes
Subseries 2.D: Teaching materials
Subseries 2.E: Articles and collected research
Subseries 2.F: Technical manuals and programming notes
Subseries 2.G: Day planners

Series 3: Correspondence, approximately 1945-2000
Subseries 3.A: Personal
Subseries 3.B: Professional

Series 4: Programs, clippings, and publicity, 1940-1999
Subseries A: Programs
Subseries B: Clippings and publicity

Series 5: Photographs, approximately 1923-2005

Series 6: Diplomas and honors, approximately 1928-1988

Series 7: Sound and moving image recordings, 1954-2000

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Access to recordings on outdated media is subject to the physical condition of the items and the library's ability to support playback. Contact the Arthur Friedheim Library Archives at for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Geoffrey Wright, Ivey's attorney in fact. Materials were placed on deposit in the Friedheim Library in 2000. Ownership was transferred to the library in 2019.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copies of many recordings in series 7 are available at in the Jean Eichelberger Ivey and Peabody Electronic Music streaming collection at

Related Materials

Published scores and commercial recordings of Ivey's music can be found in the library catalog.

Processing Information

The collection is mostly processed. Series 3 and 4 are minimally processed. Photographic negatives in series 5 are unprocessed.

Processed by Andrea Copland (2017-2018), Esther Witbeck (2018-2019), Matt Testa (2018-2020), and multiple archives staff members (approximately 2000-2016).

Audiovisual digitization processing by Laura Carskadden and Matt Testa, 2021-2022. Audiovisual digitization by Heather Woodworth in 2009-2010 and by George Blood LP in 2021.

Guide to the Jean Eichelberger Ivey papers
Matt Testa
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Digitization and enhanced description of audiovisual resources in series 7 was supported by a Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

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