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University at Buffalo Libraries

Music Library

Yvar Mikhashoff Archive


Yvar Mikhashoff
Yvar Mikhashoff

Yvar-Emilian Mikhashoff was born Ronald MacKay in Troy near Albany, New York in 1941. He began piano studies with Betty Weir and Stanley Hummel in Albany. At the Eastman School of Music in 1959, he first took a major in composition and cello, then changed to piano studies with Armand Basile. In the 1961 academic year, he studied piano at the Juilliard School in New York City. He also had a career as a ballroom dancer from 1962-1965.

In 1964 Mikhashoff entered the University of Houston for studies in piano with Albert Hirsh. He earned a B.M. in 1967 and continued with graduate study in composition with Elmer Schoettle and obtained his M.M in 1968. It was during this period that MacKay adopted his grandfather's name, Mikhashoff.

Yvar Mikhashoff and John Cage
Yvar Mikhashoff and John Cage

Receiving a Fulbright scholarship, Mikhashoff studied the music of the French Impressionists with Nadia Boulanger. After his return to the United States, Mikhashoff entered the University of Texas at Austin as a doctoral candidate in composition and studied with Hunter Johnson, Kent Kennan, Janet McGaughey and Karl Korte. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with a major in composition and a minor in literature in August 1973 and founded the Cambiata Soloists ensemble. In the Fall of 1973 Mikhashoff was appointed Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Based in Buffalo until his death in 1993, Mikhashoff had an international performing career which led him to promote new music and American music around the world.

Yvar Mikhashoff and Takemitsu
Yvar Mikhashoff and
Toru Takemitsu

In addition to organizing many festivals and broadcasts throughout the world, Mikhashoff was one of the founders of the North American New Music Festival and its director for 11 years. He commissioned works from such notable composers as John Cage, Lukas Foss, Otto Luening, Poul Ruders, James Sellars, Christian Wolff, and many others; he edited some works of Henry Cowell, Lejaren Hiller, Conlon Nancarrow, and Virgil Thomson. He recorded on the New Albion, Mode, RCA Victor, CRI, and Spectrum record labels. His composition, Dances for Davia, has been published by the Southern Music Company.

Yvar Mikhashoff's support of contemporary music continues today through the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music which was created by his estate to support composers and performers of new music.

The following inventories are available for the Yvar Mikhashoff Archive:



Yvar Mikhashoff Archive

Online version of list, including inventory of correspondence, personal papers, and programs:


Yvar Mikhashoff Collection of Scores and Transcriptions

Finding list available: An Annotated Catalogue of the Yvar Emilian Mikhashoff Musical Compositions and Transcriptions in the Music Library, SUNY at Buffalo: ML410.M66AXS54 1998

Prepared by Matthew J. Sheehy; includes indexes of titles and authors of texts.

Online version of lists:


Yvar Mikhashoff Annotated Score Collection

The re-processed collection now holds approximately 1200 scores, about half of which were marked by Mikhashoff in preparation for performance.

Finding aid for the Yvar Mikhashoff Collection of Annotated Scores, 1828-1993

Please note that the finding aid supersedes the finding list formerly available online that was based on Matthew J. Sheehy's Finding List for the Annotated Portion of the Yvar Mikhashoff Musical Estate in the Music Library, State University of New York at Buffalo.


Tangos in the Yvar Mikhashoff Archive


Yvar Mikhashoff Sound Recording Collection: MUS 1.4

This sound recordings collection contains items documenting Mikhashoff's career as a performer and composer from the early 60s up to 1989. The audio tapes are in 1/4 inch standard format for reel tapes, with varying recording speeds and number of tracks; they fall into three categories:

  1. Items with participation of Yvar Mikhashoff
  2. Tape parts for concert performance
  3. Recordings without direct participation of Mikhashoff

Commercial recordings on CD or LP constitute categories four and five of the sound recordings collection.

Finding list available: Yvar Mikhashoff Sound Recording Collection: ML410.M66AXG277
Prepared by John P. Gather; includes indexes of composers and performers.

Online version of list:


Yvar Mikhashoff Cassette Collection: MUS 1.6

The Mikhashoff archive also contains sound cassette materials which fall into the same three categories mentioned above for reel tapes. However, only the items with participation of Yvar Mikhashoff have been included in the list at this point. It should be noted that many audio cassettes are copies of the reel tape recordings in MUS 1.4. The bibliographic material in MUS 1.6 has been compiled directly from the information available on the cassettes and their containers. No attempt has been made 0to match, and complete, congruent information in MUS 1.4 and MUS 1.6.

Finding list available: Yvar Mikhashoff Sound Cassette Collection: ML410.M66AXG273

Prepared by John P. Gather; includes indexes of composers and performers.

Online version of list:


Yvar Mikhashoff Photograph Collection, ca. 1930-1993: MUS. ARC. 1.5

Photographs documenting Mikhashoff's life and career. 423 of the images have been indexed. The remainder, chiefly travel snapshots, are housed in photograph envelopes.

Finding aid available online.


Yvar Mikhashoff Video Collection: MUS 1.8

The video collection houses video tapes in American and European video formats.

Finding list available: Yvar Mikhashoff Video Collection: ML410.M66AXG28
Prepared by John P. Gather; includes indexes of composers and performers.

Online version of list:


Yvar Mikhashoff Collection of Slides

Online version of list: