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Office of the President/Chancellor Records: Vittorio Giannini

 Collection
Identifier: RG-0001-01

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials produced by the Office of the President during the tenure of Vittorio Giannini, the first president of the North Carolina School of the Arts. Records cover Giannini’s proposal for the school in 1962 to his death in 1966, with some records related to his tenure and estate added posthumously. Reports regarding NCSA’s opening, functioning, and budget are heavily represented. Correspondence from NCSA employees, the board of trustees, prospective staff and students, and various associations for the fine arts is also included.

A small number of documents produced during the tenure Dr. Louis Mennini, acting President after Giannini’s death, are also included in this collection.

Records held in this collection are related to Giannini’s proposal for the school and his activities as President. His manuscripts, including published and unpublished compositions and notes, may be found in MC-0011.

Records held are primarily in English, with several pieces of correspondence in Italian and Spanish.

Dates

  • 1962- 1968

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Archives collections may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information which is protected under federal or state privacy laws, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina School of the Arts assume no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Vittorio Giannini was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 19, 1903. His father, Feruccio Giannini, was an operatic tenor singer and conductor, and mother Antonietta a concert violinist. Vittorio and his sisters, Eufemia and Dusolina, each saw successful international musical careers. His brother, Francis, pursued a career in medicine.

As a young boy, Giannini’s mother trained him privately on violin and at the age of nine he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, Italy. In 1925, after years of private study, he returned to the United States to complete his education at the Juilliard School of Music. Juilliard awarded him fellowships in violin and composition, and in 1932 Giannini won the Grand Prix de Rome in composition, affording him four years of study at the American Academy in Rome.

In the late 1930s, after returning to the United States, Giannini taught at Queens College in New York City, the Julius Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut, and the Philadelphia Musical Academy. In 1939 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music Degree from New York College of Music, where he was teaching at the time. That same year he joined the faculty at Julliard and would go on to join the Manhattan School of Music in 1941 and the Curtis Institute in 1956. He served as Dean of the Advanced Division at Brevard Music Center before beginning his tenure as first president of the North Carolina School of the Arts in 1964.

In the summer of 1962, North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford met with Giannini to discuss the idea of a publicly funded conservatory in his state. Giannini was a lifelong promotor of conservatory education for young musicians and wanted to see the tradition grow in the United States. After listening to Giannini’s proposal, Sanford appointed a Governor’s Commission, the North Carolina Conservatory Committee, to conduct a feasibility study. The commission expanded the original music conservatory concept to include the performing arts of dance and drama. After considerable lobbying, the state legislature passed a bill establishing the North Carolina School of the Arts on June 21, 1963.

Giannini was officially appointed the school’s first President on April 29, 1964. His three nieces, Christina, Evadne, and Maura, accompanied him to Winston-Salem. Christina was hired as the first costume designer at NCSA, while her two sisters enrolled in the high school program.

Giannini died unexpectedly in November 1966, only three months into NCSA’s second year. Dr. Louis Mennini, then Dean of Music, was appointed acting President while a search committee formed to look for a successor. The search committee appointed Dr. Robert Ward to succeed Giannini beginning in the 1967-1968 school year.

Sources:
  • Banner, Leslie. 1987. A Passionate Preference. Asheboro: Down Home Press.
  • Simmons, Walter. “Vittorio Giannini”. All Music. Accessed 20 November 2019 from https://www.allmusic.com/artist/vittorio-giannini-mn0002168575/biography.

Extent

1.39 Linear Feet (3 document boxes, 4 oversize folders)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The collection consists of records produced by Vittorio Giannini, the first President of the North Carolina School of the Arts. Records span Giannini’s proposal for the school in 1962 to his death in 1966, with some records related to his tenure and estate added posthumously. Reports regarding NCSA’s opening, functioning, and budget are heavily represented. Correspondence from NCSA employees, the board of trustees, prospective staff and students, and various associations for the fine arts is also included.

Arrangement

Folders in the collection have been maintained in their original order, organized alphabetically using the creator’s titles. Materials are held chronologically within each folder, with undated material behind dated material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Records transferred from the UNCSA Office of the President/Chancellor.

Related Materials

MC-0011, the Vittorio Giannini Collection, holds Giannini’s manuscript materials, including published and unpublished compositions, produced outside of his activities as President.

MC-0026, the Christina Giannini Collection of Costume Designs, holds costume designs for dance and theater productions. Christina is a niece of Vittorio and was the first costume designer at UNCSA.

RG-0024, the Photograph Collection, holds many images of Dr. Giannini.

Processing Information

Original folder titles were maintained where possible. Materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes.
Title
Guide to the Office of the President/Chancellor Records: Vittorio Giannini
Status
Completed
Author
Laura Silva
Date
November 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the UNC School of the Arts Archives Repository

Contact:
1533 South Main St.
Winston-Salem North Carolina 27104 United States