University of Oregon

Index for this guide:

General Indexes & Resources
Music-Specific Resources
Biographical Dictionaries
Black Musicians
Women Composers
Rock Musicians
Other Resources
On-line Catalog Sources

Research Guides

A Sample of Biographical Resources on Musicians
in the Knight Library


General Indexes and Resources


Biography and Genealogy Master Index
2nd ed., v.1-8; supp., 1981-1985 (v.1-5);
1986/1990, v.1-3; 1991; 1992
Available on the UO Library's web by searching Articles, Databases & Indexes/Browse Databases/Letter B


    Music-Specific Resources


    Biographical Dictionaries


    Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. 8th ed.
    [MUSIC REF. ML 105 .B16 1992]

    Harrap's Illustrated Dictionary of Music & Musicians.
    [MUSIC REF. ML 100 .I44 1989]

    Sadie, Stanley.
    The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2d ed. 29 vols.
    [MUSIC REF. ML 100 .N48 2001]
    Available on the web (for UO students and faculty) as Grove Music Online




    College Music Society.
    Directory of music faculties in Colleges & Universities, U.S. and Canada.
    [MUSIC ML 13 .D57]
    Most recent year in Music Reference [MUSIC REF ML 13 .D57]

    International Who's Who in Classical Music.
    [MUSIC REF. ML 106 .G7 W4] (Latest ed.= 18th ed. 2002)

    International Who's Who in Popular Music.
    [MUSIC REF. ML 105 .I58 4th ed. 2002]
    [Note: Previous editions that combined the two disciplines are found under the ML 106 .G7 W4 call number-and were subdivided:
    v.1 = Classical & Light Classical; v.2 = Popular Music (beginning with 15th ed.; these editions can be found in the Music stacks.]

    Who's Who in American Music: Classical. 1st ed.
    [MUSIC REF. ML 106 .U3 W33 1983]

    See also: The Professional Organizations web site at


    Indexes to Biographical Resources


    Chicorel Bibliography to Books on Music and Musicians
    [MUSIC REF. ML 113 .C56]

    Adams, John L.
    Musicians: Autobiographies: An Annotated Bibliography of Writings Available in English, 1800 to 1980.
    [MUSIC REF. ML 128 .B3 A3 1982]





      American Musicians:


      Brainard's Biographies of American Musicians.
      [MUSIC REF. ML106.U3 B73 1999]

      Claghorn, Charles
      Biographical Dictionary of American Music
      [MUSIC REF. ML106.U3 C6]

      Musical Americans: a biographical dictionary, 1918-1926.
      [MUSIC REF. ML106.U3 M87 1997]


      Australian Musicians:


      The Oxford companion to Australian music.
      [MUSIC REF. ML101.A9 O94 1997]


      Canadian Musicians:


      Toomey, Kathleen M.
      Musicians in Canada: a bio-bibliographical finding list = Musiciens au Canada: index bio-bibliographique.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 106 .C3 T6]


      Finnish Musicians:


      Hillila, Ruth-Esther.
      Historical dictionary of the music and musicians of Finland.
      [MUSIC REF. ML101.F5 H55 1997]



        Note: See Also: Composers

      BY TOPIC


      Black Musicians:


      Floyd, Samuel A.
      Black music biography : an annotated bibliography.
      [MUSIC REF. ML128.B3F6 1987]

      Southern, Eileen.
      Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 105 .S67]




      See also: Listings for sources on Women Composers in this handout.
      Note:Many composers have a bio-bibliography that lists their works and contains listings of biographies, articles, and recordings. These books begin with call numbers ML134 and are arranged by composer's last name.
      Note: Also take a look at the List of Composers' Works List, a collection of publisher's pamphlets in the UO Knight Library, for dates and information about their works.




      Blackmore, A. S. G.
      An Index of Composers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML161 .B55 1993]

      Bull, Storm.
      Index to Biographies of Contemporary Composers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 105 .B9] 3 v.

      Green, Richard D.
      Index to Composer Bibliographies.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 113 .G793 1985]

      Greene, Frank.
      Composers on Record: an Index to Biographical Information on 14,000 Composers Whose Music Has Been Recorded.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 105.G78 1985]




      American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
      ASCAP Biographical Dictionary.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 106 .U3 A5 1980]

      Anderson, Ruth.
      Contemporary American Composers: a Biographical Dictionary.
      [MUSIC ML 390 .A54 1982]

      Beckwith, John.
      Contemporary Canadian Composers.
      [MUSIC ML 106 .C3 C66]

      Bradley, Ian L.
      Twentieth Century Canadian Composers.
      [MUSIC ML 390 .B72]

      Butterworth, Neil.
      Dictionary of American Classical Composers, 2nd ed.
      [MUSIC REF ML 106 .U3 B87 2005]

      Carlson, Effie B.
      A Bio-Bibliographical Dictionary of Twelve-tone and Serial Composers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 105 .C39]

      Center for Black Music Research
      International Dictionary of Black Composers
      [MUSIC REF ML 105 . I5 1999, v. 1-2]

      Contemporary Composers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 105 .C75 1992]

      Craggs, Stewart R.
      Soundtracks : an international dictionary of composers for film.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.M68 C73 1998]

      Czigany, Gyula.
      Contemporary Hungarian Composers. 4th ed.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 106 .H85C6 1979]

      Deglans, Kerlinda.
      Catalogo de Musica Clasica Contemporanea de Puerto Rico.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 120 .P97 D318 1989]

      Ewen, David.
      American Songwriters: an H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 390 .E825 1987]

      Ewen, David.
      Composers Since 1900: a Biographical and Critical Guide.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 390 .E833 + SUPPL.]

      Ewen, David.
      Great Composers, 1300-1900; a Biographical and Critical Guide.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 105 .E944]

      Ficher, Miguel.
      Latin American classical composers : a biographical dictionary. 2d. ed.
      [MUSIC REF. ML105 .F53 2002]

      Floyd, Samuel A., Jr.
      International Dictionary of Black Composers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML105 .I5 1999] 2 vols.

      Gammond, Peter, comp.
      An Illustrated Guide to Composers of Opera.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 390 .I29 1980b]

      Gilder, Eric.
      The Dictionary of Composers and Their Music: a Listener's Companion. 2d ed.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 113.G4 1985]

      Holmes, John.
      Composers on Composers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 90.H64 1990]

      Moldon, David.
      A Bibliography of Russian Composers.
      [MUSIC REF.ML 120 .R8 M6]

      Murdoch, James.
      Australia's Contemporary Composers.
      [MUSIC REF .ML 106 .A93 M9]

      Pedigo, Alan.
      International Encyclopedia of Violin-keyboard Sonatas and Composer Biographies. 2nd ed., rev. and enl.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.V45 P4 1995]

      Sitsky, Larry, ed.
      Music of the Twentieth-century Avant-garde : a Biocritical Sourcebook .
      CONTENTS: Interviews and biographies of contemporary composers, from George Antheil to Frank Zappa.
      [MUSIC REF. ML390 .M9574 2002]

      Smith, Norman.
      March Music Notes.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 105.S65 1986]

      Thomson, John.
      Biographical Dictionary of New Zealand Composers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 106 .N45 T5 1990]

      Vinton, John.
      Dictionary of Contemporary Music.
      [MUSIC REF. ML100 .V55]

      White, Mark.
      You Must Remember This: Popular Songwriters, 1900-1980.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 390 .W36 1983]




      Composer's Forum, Inc.
      The Directory.
      [MUSIC ML 1 .C735](Latest Edition = 1993)


      Web Sources


      Publishers' Composer Pages: These sites offer biographical sketches of the composers published by these companies.

      Oregon Composers


      Women Composers:




      Hixon, Don L. and Don Hennessee.
      Women in Music: an Encyclopedic Biobibliography. 2nd ed. 2 vols.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 105 .H6 1993]




      Claghorn, Charles.
      Women Composers and Hymnists: a Concise Biographical Dictionary.
      [KNIGHT REF BV 325 .C58 1984]

      Women Composers and Songwriters: a Concise Biographical Dictionary.
      [MUSIC REF. ML105 .C593 1996 + INTERNET (1999 ed.)]

      Cohen, Aaron.
      International Encyclopedia of Women Composers. 2d ed. 2 vols.
      [MUSIC REF.ML105 .C7 1987]

      Grattan, Virginia L.
      American Women Songwriters: a Biographical Dictionary.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 106 .U3 G73 1993]

      Jezic, Diane.
      Women Composers: the Lost Tradition Found. 2nd ed.
      [MUSIC REF. ML390 .J37 1994]

      Laurence, Anya.
      Women of Notes: 1,000 Women Composers Born before 1900.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 105 .L28]

      Olivier, Antje, and Karin Weingartz-Perschel
      Komponistinnen von A-Z.
      [MUSIC REF. ML105.O49K81 1988]

      Sadie, Julie Anne & Rhian Samuel.
      The Norton/Grove dictionary of women composers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML105 .N38 1995]

      Stern, Susan.
      Women Composers: A Handbook.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 105 .S7]




      Cowden, Robert H.
      Concert & Opera Conductors: a bibliography of biographical materials.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 128 .B3 C68 1987]

      Holmes, John.
      Conductors: a Record Collector's Guide.
      [MUSIC REF.ML 105 .H65 1988]

      Musiker, Reuben.
      Conductors and Composers of Pop.
      [MUSIC REF. ML105 .M92 1998 ]




      Chilton, John.
      Who's Who of Jazz.
      [MUSIC REF.ML 106 .U3 C5 1985]

      Claghorn, Charles.
      Biographical Dictionary of Jazz.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 390 .C59 1982]

      Popular Bands and Performers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.P66 C53 1995]

      Feather, Leonard.
      The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.J3 F39 1999 ]

      The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 2nd ed.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.J3N48 2001] and incorporated in the Grove Music Online.

      Placksin, Sally.
      American Women in Jazz:1900 to the Present: Their Words, Lives,and Music.
      [MUSIC ML 3508.P58 1982]




      Dictionaries & Bibliographies:


      Dictionnaire des Interpretes et de l'Interpretation Musicale au XXe Siecle .
      [MUSIC REF. ML105 .D553 1995]

      Ewen, David.
      Musicians Since 1900: Performers in Concert & Opera.
      [MUSIC REF.ML 105 .E97]

      Instrumental Virtuosi: A Bibliography of Biographical Materials.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 128.B3 C73 1989]

      Jacobs, Arthur.
      The Penguin Dictionary of Musical Performers.
      [MUSIC ML 385 .J17 1990]

      Kinkle, Roger D.
      Leading Musical Performers (Popular Music and Jazz) 1900-1950: 2150 biographies updated to 1996 with additions and corrections. 2d. ed.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.P66 K55 1996] (3 vols.)

      Strong, M. C. (Martin Charles)
      The Great Scots Musicography: the Complete Guide to Scotland's Music Makers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML288.5 .S77 2002]

      Slonimsky, Nicolas
      Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-century Classical Musicians.
      [MUSIC REF. ML105 .S612 1997]




      [Note: These are just examples of what are available- look in the Library's catalog under the name of the organization, and limit with the title Directory-and you may find a number of music organization's directories. You can also browse in the ML12 - 18 section of Music Reference for the latest directory of a number of organizations. And browse the UO Music Service's web site for Professional Organizations at]


      International Trumpet Guild.
      Membership Directory.
      [MUSIC ML 17 .I57] Latest Edition in MUSIC REFERENCE

      Musical America. International Directory of the Performing Arts.
      [MUSIC ML 12 .M88] Latest Year in MUSIC REFERENCE and on the Library's web site, under Title = Musical]

      Stern's Performing Arts Directory.
      [MUSIC REF. GV 1580 .D247] (Latest ed. = 1993)




      American Keyboard Artists.
      [MUSIC REF.ML 397 .A447 1989]

      Hinson, Maurice
      The Pianist's Dictionary.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.P5 H46 2004]

      Lyle, Wilson.
      A Dictionary of Pianists.
      [MUSIC REF.ML 105 .L9 1985b]




      Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990.
      CONTENTS: v. 1. Aaliyah to Lynard Skynyrd -- v. 2. M.C. Hammer to ZZ Top, topical essays, indexes.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.P66 B35 2004 v.1- v.2 ]

      Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 10 vols.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102 .P66 G84 2006]

      The Faber Companion to 20th-century Popular Music. Rev. and upd. ed.
      [MUSIC REF. ML105 .H37 2001 ]

      Helander, Brock.
      The rock who's who. 2d ed.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.R6H5 1996]

      The New Rolling Stone encyclopedia of rock & roll.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.R6 R64 1995]

      Rees, Dafydd.
      Rock stars encyclopedia.
      [MUSIC REF. ML102.R6 R44 1999]

      Rock movers & shakers.
      [MUSIC REF. ML 385.R736 1991]


      Web Resources

      Other Resources


      • Browse Duckle's [at MUSIC REF ML 113 .D83], as well as all general and specific music dictionaries and encyclopedias.
      • Don't forget the New Grove's and other general encyclopedias & dictionaries!
      • Use the Music Index [Music Index Table & on the web (for UO patrons) at]. Look under the person's last name as the SUBJECT of the article.
      • Use the other periodical indexes, searching under the person's last name (especially if they are important to popular culture).

      • For People currently involved in various organizations, consult the latest directory of the organizations that may list your person.


        The UO Library's web site
          (For instance, if the person is a trombonist, the International Trombone Association has a yearly directory that we keep in Music Reference which may help your search.) To see if we own a directory to the organization you're interested in, search by Author (for the name of the group). If you find the group, limit your search with title: Directory, and you should find any that we own. The latest year will always be in Music Reference, if the call number for the directory is ML.

      • Put your request for biographical information out on a list-serv. These have proven very helpful for information about the more contemporary musicians.


      Using the UO Libraries' Catalog for Sources on Musicians

      In the UO Local Catalog:

      1. Look under the person's last name in the SUBJECT section of the catalog. This will also give you most musicians' birth and death dates for program notes.

      2. Browse in the ML 410's in online catalogs (under a call number search) (for individual biographies of composers); or ML 420's (for individual biographies of performers.)

      3. Use the subject heading of that group (composers, musicians, pianists, etc.) and add -Biography or -Bio Bibliography. (This is especially useful when there isn't a complete biography on one specific person.)


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        Created by ashaffer on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Jul 24, 2012
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