Skip to main content

Luigi Silva Musical Score and Personal Papers Collection

Identifier: CC 0001

Scope and Contents

The sheet music collection contains approximately 1380 scores owned by or relating to cellist Luigi Silva. The collection includes 120 manuscript scores in Silva's hand and over 150 scores composed or transcribed by Silva. Most of the scores are arranged for violoncello or have violoncello parts. The publication dates of the scores within the collection range from 1726 to 1981.

The papers collection contains the personal papers of Luigi Silva. It includes Silva's research notes, files of reviews of performances, photographs, newspaper clippings, publicity materials, programs, and correspondence. The collection contains the manuscripts and typescripts of Silva's unpublished works, Vadecmecum and La Tecnica Violoncellista. Additionally, several essays of Silva's students are retained within the collection. The the primary date range for the collection is 1920-1962.


  • 1726 - 1961
  • Other: Date acquired: 1963


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Luigi Silva (1903-1961) is remembered as a distinguished musician, teacher, and scholar of the violoncello. Born in Milan, Silva earned the rank of first cellist of the Royal Theatre in Rome at age 22. He performed throughout Europe in the 1930s, winning the Boccherini Prize in 1933. Silva's American debut was in 1941. In addition to his career as a professional musician, Silva is acclaimed as an authority and educator of cello techniques.

Note written by Stacey Krim


181.50 Linear Feet (121 boxes)

Language of Materials






Luigi Silva (1903-1961) is remembered as a distinguished musician, teacher, and scholar of the violoncello. The Luigi Silva Cello Music Collection, dedicated on April 5, 1964, spans nearly 1400 scores, many of which are transcribed or highly annotated by Silva. This collection is renowned among musicologists for its impressive number of annoted Bach suites.

Arrangement Note

The Luigi Silva Muscal Score Collection is arranged into 19 series. The first three series consist of manuscript scores and works composed or arranged by Silva. Series 4 through18 are arragned by genre. The series are as follows: Series 1: Manuscripts in Silva's Hand Series 2: Published Editions and Transcriptions Series 3: Source Materials for Silva's Editions and Transcriptions Series 4: Manuscripts in Various Hands Series 5: Violoncello Concertos Series 6: Violoncello Sonatas Series 7: Unaccompanied Violoncello Sonatas, Suites, and Pieces Series 8: Violoncello Pieces Series 9: Violoncello Methods Series 10: Duos Series 11: Trios Series 12: Quartets Series 13: Quintets Series 14: Large Ensembles Series 15: Violin Solos Series 16: Methods for Violin Series 17: Keyboard Music Series 18: Vocal Music Series 19: Oversized Scores Silva's papers are arranged according to subject. Oversized items, audio recordings and later donations are listed at the end of the collection. The 13 series within the collection include: Series 1: Vademecum Series 2: La Tecnica Violoncellista Series 3: Storia Series 4: Manuscripts and Typescripts Authored by Silva Series 5: Manuscripts and Typescripts Authored by Other Series 6: Notes on Students & Teaching Notes, 1950s-1960s Series 7: Student Papers Series 8: Performance and Publicity Material Series 9: Performances and Programs Series 10: Biographical Materials Series 11: Gifts to the Collection Series 12: Oversized Materials Series 13: Microfilm and Audio Recordings

Source of Acquisition

The collection was purchased from the widow of Luigi Silva.

Method of Acquisition

Purchased by the Friends of the Library, from the Estate of Luigi Silva.

Accruals and Additions

Items were added at a later date after being donated by various individuals and sources. Notable additions to the collection include the following:

Franco Columbo's (Ricordi Publishing) gift of manuscripts of Paganini's 24 Caprices transcribed for cello and Boccherini's Concerto in in D, no.2 and Concerto in D major, op.34 Rudolf Matz's gift of 15 works from his First Years of Violoncello

Janos Scholz's gift of a manuscript collection of anonymous 18th century cello sonatas and transcribed opera arias -Charles Wendt's donation of a Silva manuscript of the Paganini Capriccio XIII transcribed for cello and piano and Wendt's gift for the purchase of Robert Crome's The Compleat Tutor for the Violoncello (ca. 1765)

The most recent additions to the collections were donated June 26, 2012.

Separated Materials

Bound scores, monographs, and serials were separated and can be searched through the library catalog.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Special Collections staff upon its purchase in 1963. The collection was reprocessed and this finding aid created in June of 2012. There has been no significant arrangement changes to the collection with the 2012 reprocessing.

Luigi Silva Musical Score and Personal Papers Collection
Stacey Krim
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US