Academic journal article Notes

Harry L. Kownatsky, Formerly Curator of the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music

Academic journal article Notes

Harry L. Kownatsky, Formerly Curator of the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music

Article excerpt

Harry L. Kownatsky, formerly curator of the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music housed in the Free Library of Philadelphia, died 23 June 2003 in Philadelphia, one day before his eighty-ninth birthday. Except for his military service during World War II, Harry was a career-long staff member at the Free Library and the Fleisher Collection. During the war, he was a member of the United States Naval Reserve and served with the Marines in the South Pacific.

When he graduated from high school, Harry had difficulty finding work because of the Depression. A friend told him about the U.S. Works Project Administration (WPA) copying project at the Fleisher Collection, where he was hired and trained to be a copyist. He worked under composer/conductor Arthur Cohn to create scores and parts for titles otherwise unavailable. When he returned after the war, there was no opening at the Fleisher Collection but library director Franklin Price assigned him to the Music Department. At the first opening in the Fleisher Collection, Harry became Cohn's assistant, cataloging and proofreading copied works. Harry was made curator of the collection in 1965. During his tenure as curator, the Ford Foundation approached him offering funds to prepare and publish a second edition of the catalog of the collection. Harry remained at the Free Library for some time after his retirement to direct the Ford Foundation project. The resulting catalog, The Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music in the Free Library of Philadelphia: A Cumulative Catalog, 1929-1977, was published by G. K. Hall in 1979.

The nature of his duties, placing him between publishers and composers, necessitated extensive knowledge of current copyright regulations. …

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