Thomas Nee Papers, 1946-2001 (MSS 609)

Restrictions: The audio and visual recordings in Box 3, Folders 1-3 are restricted. Viewing/listening copies may be available for researchers.

Extent: 1 Linear feet (3 archives boxes and 1 oversize box)

The papers of Thomas Nee, conductor and University of California, San Diego emeritus professor of music, include correspondence and biographical materials related to his fifty years of classical and experimental music conducting.

Born in Evanston, Illinois on Oct. 25, 1920, Thomas Nee graduated from the University of Minnesota. Following service in the Merchant Marine during World War II, he received his masters of arts from Hamline University, where he studied under composer Ernst Krenek. His postgraduate work included studies at the University of Vienna, the Austrian State Academy, and Black Mountain College with composer Stefan Wolpe in North Carolina, as well as private study with conductor Hermann Scherchen in Switzerland. Nee was music director for the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis from 1954-1967 and 1972-1973.

In 1967, Nee joined the UCSD Music Department, accepted the position of conductor, taught music, and served as department chair from 1971-1977. He also conducted SONOR, a resident ensemble that performed experimental music by UCSD composers. In addition to conducting the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus during the academic year, he also conducted the New Hampshire Music Festival during the summer months from 1960-1992. Nee conducted world premieres of contemporary repertoire and numerous guest engagements including opera workshops, festivals, the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Eastman Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, and Darmstadt Ferienkurse.

Nee retired from UCSD in 1991, but remained active until his death in 2008, overseeing the Tom Nee Commission, awarded each year to a graduate-level composer whose new piece is performed each spring by La Jolla Symphony & Chorus.

The papers of Thomas Nee, conductor and emeritus professor of music, contains correspondence from twentieth century composers including university mentor Ernst Krenek, as well as composers Henry Brant, Robert Erickson, Dika Newlin, Will Ogden, Pauline Oliveros, Bernard Rands, Roger Reynolds, and Dane Rudhyar. The papers also also contains biographical materials, including programs and newsclippings, reflecting his conducting career from 1948-2001, writings, and audio visual materials. The recorded materials represent concerts Nee conducted during his career. The collection is arranged in four series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) CONDUCTING EXPERIENCE, 3) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, and 4) AUDIO VISUAL RECORDINGS.

Container List


Box 1 Folder 1
A-Z Miscellaneous

Includes John Adams, Hans Erich Apostle, Dominick Argento, Vladamir Ashkenazy, Sol Babitz, William Bolcom, Earle Brown, Roque Cordero, Kenneth Gaburo, Anton Heiller, Lee Hoiby, Alan Hovhaness, Tom Johnson, Ulysses Kay, Leon Kirchner, Barbara Kolb, May Kurka, Anna Mahler, Marina Mahler, Bruce Mather, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Hilda Morley, and Andrey Olkhovsky.

Box 1 Folder 2
Brant, Henry, 1965 - 1999

Composer of spatial music.

Box 1 Folder 3
Cage, John, 1979
Box 1 Folder 4
Erickson, Robert, 1953 - 1984
Box 1 Folder 5
Garland, Peter, 1980
Box 1 Folder 6
Greenberg, Alvin, 1999-2004
Box 1 Folder 7
Krenek, Ernst, 1946 - 1989
Box 1 Folder 8
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, 1959-1966
Box 1 Folder 9
Newlin, Dika, 1953 - 1998

Composer and biographer of Mahler, Schoenberg, and Brucken.

Box 1 Folder 10
Ogdon, Will, 1955 - 1998
Box 1 Folder 11
Oliveros, Pauline, 1960 - 1996
Box 1 Folder 12
Partch, Harry, 1972
Box 1 Folder 13
Rands, Bernard, 1977 - 2001
Box 1 Folder 14
Reynolds, Roger, 1967 - 1999
Box 1 Folder 15
Rudhyar, Dane, 1972 - 1988


Box 2 Folder 1
Osage, Iowa High School band - Photograph, 1943

Hamline University

Box 2 Folder 2 Oversize FB-495-01
Newsclippings, 1945-1955
Box 2 Folder 3
Programs, 1945-1955
Box 2 Folder 4 Oversize FB-495-02
Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis - Newsclippings, 1953-1967
Box 2 Folder 5
New Hampshire Music Festival - Miscellaneous, 1954-2007
Box 2 Folder 6 Oversize FB-495-03
First Unitarian Society, Minneapolis, MN - Newsclippings, 1954-1964
Box 2 Folder 7
Macalester College, St. Paul, MN - Programs and newsclippings, 1959-1966

Center Opera Association of Walker Art Center

Box 2 Folder 8
Newsclippings, 1963-1966
Box 2 Folder 9
Opera Log 4 - "Music of the Greek Operas" - Photocopy, 1967
Box 2 Folder 10
La Jolla Civic Orchestra and Symphony and Chorus - Miscellaneous, 1967-2007

University of California, San Diego Music Department

Box 2 Folder 11
Programs, 1967-1995
Box 2 Folder 12
Retirement letters, 1991
Oversize FB-495-04
Compositions by Will Ogden, 1979; 2000

Includes "Comments and Capriccio for Orchestra," written for Thomas Nee and the La Jolla Orchestra, September 5, 1979 and "Chamber Suite 2000 for Wind Quartet, String Quartet, and Piano," 2001.

Box 2 Folder 14
Guest conducting


Box 2 Folder 15
"Black Mountain and Wolpe" - Handwritten essay
Box 2 Folder 16
"Chapbook: Nine Poems", November, 2005
Box 2 Folder 17
"Philosophies of History in the Writings of Gray, Krenek, Leichtentritt, and Sachs," Master's Thesis, Hamline University, 1948
Box 2 Folder 18


Box 3 Folder 1
Beethoven 9th Symphony, DVD, December 1996
Box 3 Folder 2
Francis Thorne tribute to Thomas Nee for his 1992 season celebration, audiocassette, 60 minutes
Box 3 Folder 3
In appreciation for Thomas Nee by David Chaitkin, audiocassette, 60 minutes