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Interview with Stanley Sussman, Part 3 of 4: August 1, 2, and 4 1978

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Interview with Stanley Sussman, Part 3 of 4: August 1, 2, and 4 1978
Sussman, Stanley (Interviewee)
Matheson, Katy (Interviewer)

Dance Oral History Project

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1978-08-01
Date Created: 1978-08-02
Date Created: 1978-04-04
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZTO 5-468
Graham, Martha
Sussman, Stanley -- Interviews
Carter, William, 1936-1988
Protas, Ron
Bruhn, Erik, 1928-1986
Limón, José
Sokolow, Anna
Graham, Martha. Cortege of eagles
José Limón Dance Company
Martha Graham Dance Company
Primitive mysteries (Choreographic work : Graham)
Time of snow (Choreographic work : Graham)
Music and dance
Oral histories
Source note: Interview with Stanley Sussman conducted by Katy Matheson for the Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Project at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, on August 1, 2, and 4, 1978. Part 1 (July 17, and 19 ,1978), Part 2 (July 25 and 26, 1978), and Part 4 (August 16,1978) are cataloged separately.
Additional physical form: For transcript of interview, see *MGZMT 5-468.
Bibliographic history: Title supplied by cataloger.
Source characteristics: Sound quality is good overall. The recording is marred by slight "tape hiss" and occasional short gaps.
Venue: Recorded by Katy Matheson for The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts August 1, 2, and 4, 1978 New York (N.Y.)
Funding: The conservation and cataloging of this recording was made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The support of the National Endowment for the Arts is also gratefully acknowledged.
Physical Description
Audiotape reel
Extent: 2 audiotape reels (approximately 5 hr., 33 min.); polyester; half-track; 1.875 ips; 5 in.
Streaming audio file 1, August 1, 1978 (approximately one hour and 37 minutes). Stanley Sussman speaks with Katy Matheson about Martha Graham and the Martha Graham Dance Company including the company's tour in New York state in 1971; Sussman's conducting for the Pennsylvania Ballet between 1971 and 1972; Graham's illness and his mother's illness and death during that period; the company's United States tour in 1973; Bill [William] Carter; (briefly) the return of Robert Irving to the company and its effect on Sussman; LeRoy Leatherman; Ron Protas; Bertram Ross, Mary Hinkson, and the apprentice program; Ross and Hinkson as Agamemnon and Clytemnestra [in Graham's Clytemnestra] including Hinkson as compared to Pearl Lang; more on his status in the company after the return of Irving; conducting for Rudolf Nureyev at the Uris Theatre; the season in Buffalo (New York); an anecdote about Martha Graham and the performance of Graham's work Lucifer at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées; guest artists beginning with the 1975 benefit performance starring Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev; Betty Ford and her connection to the company; conducting at the White House during Lyndon B. Johnson's and Gerald Ford's administrations [ends abruptly].Streaming audio file 2, August 2, 1978 (approximately one hour and 37 minutes). Stanley Sussman speaks with Katy Matheson about a reception he attended with Betty Ford and Martha Graham including his impressions of Betty Ford; conducting for the Martha Graham Dance Company at Covent Garden; the revival of Graham's Primitive mysteries including discussion of a type of walk and Graham technique; Graham's work Time of snow; meeting Norman Dello Joio with Graham to discuss the music; the cast; the process of its creation; the set including how the bed was used in a duet between the young Abelard and Heloise; Graham as the older Heloise; his ideas for a revival of this work; Graham's Cortege of eagles including the dancers' difficulty working with the props designed by Isamu Noguchi; his hope to see the revival of relatively lighter Graham works such as The owl and the pussy cat; his memories of Robert Powell; an anecdote about his firing and almost immediate re-hiring by Graham; leaving the company; his relationship with Graham including their periodic exchange of gifts; his family; more on Graham and her personality and presence including some of her more memorable remarks to the company, for example about a dead mouse and Ron Protas; Sussman's work (accompaniment to a dance by David Earle) entitled I had two sons and his plans for reviving it under the title Cain and Abel revisited [ends abruptly but continues on streaming audio file 3].Streaming audio file 3, August 2 continued and August 4, 1978 (approximately one hour and 37 minutes). Stanley Sussman speaks with Katy Matheson about his composition entitled I had two sons; his commissioned works Five figures and Five songs in August; his impressions of Bill Evans; his work Unfinished flight; his composition for a pas de deux, entitled For two young dancers; his work Nexus, created for Jacqulyn Buglisi; his work Amrit [?]; his work Circular ruins [August 2 session ends at approximately 29:40; the recording resumes at approximately 31:32 minutes with the August 4, 1978 session]. Sussman speaks with Matheson about his association with the José Limón Dance Company and his impressions of José Limón; Erik Bruhn including his performance in Limón's The moor's pavane; Anna Sokolow; an anecdote about Hanya Holm; his classes at Juilliard [School]; his experience playing for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company including rehearsals and classes; playing for Viola Farber; Graham's focus on orchestration; working with the composers including Graham's practice of sending the script for a work to the composer; her relationship with Carlos Surinach and with Hunter Johnson [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 4].Streaming audio file 4, August 4, 1978 (approximately 44 minutes). Stanley Sussman speaks with Katy Matheson about Martha Graham's work Hérodiade including an anecdote she told him about [Paul] Hindemith; an anecdote about Aaron Copland and Copland's conducting of (his) and Graham's work Appalachian spring; more on his impressions of Graham including various remarks that he found particularly notable; rehearsals including Ron Protas' practice of recording them; dancers who excelled in various aspects of Graham technique or as teachers; the dancers of the Martha Graham Dance Company now including how they differ from the dancers of his time; the 1970 tour as the end of an era for the company including Protas' role in effecting change.
Type of Resource
Sound recording
RLIN/OCLC: 991872701
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b21289425
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 2d918770-c71b-0135-80b7-47347120449b
Rights Statement
The copyright and related rights status of this item has been reviewed by The New York Public Library, but we were unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the item. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.

Item timeline of events

  • 1978: Created
  • 2019: Digitized
  • 2020: Found by you!
  • 2021

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Stanley Sussman" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1978.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Stanley Sussman" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 1, 2020.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (1978). Interview with Stanley Sussman Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (sound recording) Interview with Stanley Sussman, (1978)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=October 1, 2020 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Stanley Sussman