John Marson papers

John Marson papers

Dates: 1953-2004

Include correspondence, a history of the harp, music programs, personal papers, and various media concerning the harpist John Marson. The collection spans the dates 1953-2004.

  • Extent: 30 boxes (15 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Marson, John, 1932-2007
  • Call Number: MSS 7773
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; Music Special Collections; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602;
  • Access Restrictions: It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the John Marson papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Languages and Scripts
The original order of the collection has been retained. A detailed inventory can be found in the Music & Dance Library.
Conditions of Use
Open to public research.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 7773; John Marson papers; Music Special Collections; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following Citations: MSS 7773, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Donated by John Marson in 2007.
Acquisition Information
Donated; John Marson; 2007.
Subject Terms
Marson, John, 1932-2007; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Harpists--England; Music
Genre / Form
Letters; Programs
Processing Information
Processed; Sara Ott; 2011.
Appraisal Information
Prominent Harpists (Section IV International Harp Collection Development Policy January 2011).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Marson (John) papers
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sara Ott
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-07-08T13:14-0600
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

John Marson (1932-2007) was a prominent British harpist who was the co-founder of the UK Harp Association. His marriage to the musician Sue Farrow ended in divorce. He had no children.

Although he died at seventy-four, he was able to compose music for the harp, for many combinations of chamber music, and two works for string quartet. He was born in Derby, England and took piano lessons at a young age but soon discovered the harp. He found a local teacher and had his first harp lesson when he was seventeen. A few years later he was accepted into the Royal College of Music in London. There he studied with Marie Goossens, which he later recalled was the turning point in his career as a harpist. He auditioned for the London Symphony Orchestra and became principal harp. After two years, John Marson resigned the orchestra because of the conductor Antal Dorati. He began to freelance and for the next thirty years he was performing with everyone. He performed with noted artists such as Stravinsky, Sinatra, Boulez, the Beatles, Copland, Chaplin, Malcolm Arnold, and Julie Andrews. He also performed with noted ensembles such as the English Chamber Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Derek New Sextet, and the Laurie Johnson Big Band.

In 1964 he was co-founder of the UK Harp Association and edited their magazine for many years. In 1982, he rejoined a symphony orchestra, and became principal harp of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He was the second principal harp in the history of the orchestra.

Two years before his death, John Marson wrote Book of the Harp (2005), a charming ragbag of little known facts, serious scholarship, pleasant anecdotes, and witty, perceptive observation. He also wrote, early in his career, The Complete Guide to Harp Glissandi, which was a study analyzing all 2,187 possible pedal settings.

comments powered by Disqus

Site Navigation

Search this Collection

Collection Arrangement

Yellow highlight indicates current location in collection description

Print View

Help with this Collection

Ask us a Question

David Day
Curator - Music Special Collections