Schönberg retained programs of performances of his music, lectures, and other events such as exhibitions. Following his death in 1951, his heirs continued the collection. By the time of the legacy’s donation to the Arnold Schönberg Institute in 1973, this collection of programs was quite extensive, documenting hundreds of performances of Schönberg’s music as well as non-musical performance events. Programs exist for virtually every world premiere and many other first performances. The collection continues to grow as new programs are acquired, as gifts from the Schoenberg heirs, from performers who send the Archive their own programs of performances of Schönberg’s music and from people who have attended Schönberg performances. In addition, historic Schönberg programs are occasionally purchased for inclusion in the collection.
Programs can serve a number of different uses. Foremost among these, they document the details regarding the performance of Schönberg’s music-dates, performers, venues, and occasions. They can include performed texts both in the original language as well as in a variety of translations. Program notes may be included. Often additional information printed on programs, such as advertisements and announcements of other events can provide historical context. Programs can also be useful as artifacts in and of themselves for exhibitions. Some programs include annotations by the person (Schönberg, for instance) who originally owned the program. Though exhibit catalogs, particularly large catalogs, are generally not included in the program collection proper, many smaller catalogs are. Other non-program materials found in the collection include fliers and announcements of events, invitations, season programs, radio and television broadcast schedules, and occasionally tickets and ticket stubs. However, all materials in the collection have three characteristics in common: they document events, they were originally created by the performing agency, and they are all Schönberg related.
A database is currently under construction as part of the image archive.