Maurice Ravel’s Bolero started out as a ballet score commissioned by dancer Ida Rubenstein. Her troupe danced the composition's first performance at the Paris Opera in 1928. It was an instant hit. Our Assistant Curator of Music Manuscripts and Printed Music Robinson McClellan has more on this iconic piece of music.
The Morgan Library & Museum houses one of the finest collections of music manuscripts in the country. In addition to a large collection of musicians' letters and first editions of scores and librettos, it has the world's largest collection of Mahler manuscripts and substantial holdings of Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Mozart, Schubert, and Richard Strauss. The collection of forty thousand items spans six centuries and many countries. It includes over eleven hundred music manuscripts, twelve thousand rare printed scores, seven thousand musicians’ letters, thousands of librettos, playbills, and portraits. The Morgan's holdings of material relating to the lives and works of the dramatist William S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur S. Sullivan form the most extensive archive of its kind in the world.