Skip to main content

Bela Rozsa archive, 1923-2006

Identifier: 2006-001

Scope and Contents

Contains manuscripts, ozalid prints and masters, photocopies, and sketches of Rozsa's works, student notebooks, correspondence, ephemera, and materials relating to his enthusiasm for chess; scores by Rozsa's friends, colleagues, and students also included, as well as ephemera from the School of Music's annual Bela Rozsa Memorial Concert and Student Composition competition.


  • 1923 - 2006
  • Majority of material found within 1923 - 1968



These materials are in English.


This material is open for research use by any registered reader. This material is housed off-site and will require advance notice of 1 business day for use.

Use and Copyright

This material is owned by the University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections. Unpublished manuscripts are under copyright. Therefore, permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from both the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Bela Rozsa, composer, pianist, organist, and chess enthusiast, taught at The University of Tulsa School of Music from 1945 to 1974, serving as head of the department of music theory and director of graduate study. He was born February 14, 1905 in Kecskemet, Hungary, son of the opera singer Lajos Sandor Rozsa, a leading baritone in Vienna and Budapest. Bela Rozsa began his musical studies at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, and at age thirteen he began to accompany his father in concerts. Two years later, in 1921, the family came to the United States, where his father joined the New York Metropolitan Opera. In a letter found in the collection, Bela Rozsa writes "Shortly after our arrival here, my father became a member of the Metropolitan Opera Co., and died a year after in very tragical circumstances." The teenage Rozsa goes on to relate how he had been supporting himself and his mother, working "from as a stock boy up to a 'second class' movie pianist playing in one of those cheap uptown theatres." At the same time he continued his musical studies at the Institute of Musical Art (later the Juilliard School of Music), receiving a diploma in composition in 1928. Winning the Seligman Prize for chamber music composition gave him the opportunity for further study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. Rozsa continued to live in New York City, conducting orchestras and choruses, producing operas, and serving for five years as staff pianist and organist at the National Broadcasting Company. He undertook graduate studies at the University of Iowa, and in 1943 he was awarded a doctorate in Composition and Psychology of Music. Before joining the faculty of the TU School of Music, he taught at Baylor University and was the head of the music department at Iowa Wesleyan University. Dr. Rozsa was also an avid and passionate chess player. In 1940 he won the North Texas Championship, and twice (1942 and 1948) tied for first place in the prestigious Southwestern Open. He was a ten-time Oklahoma State Chess Championship, and in 1952 won the Tenth Grand National Correspondence Chess Tournament, a ten year event in which over 1,000 players competed. The Oklahoma Chess Association continues to honor him with an annual tournament. Bela Rozsa's legacy at the University of Tulsa School of Music is considerable, and continues to the present day. He is honored every year with a memorial concert and nationwide composition contest for high school and college students.


4.5 Linear Feet (8 oversized document boxes)

Physical Location

Collection shelved at off-site storage.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Related Materials

2006.018. Thomas Amburn collection of Bela Rozsa chess games.
Bela Rozsa archive, 1923-2006
David Moore
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
David Moore's original inventory was made available thanks to a gift by Roxanna Lorton.

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections & University Archives Repository

McFarlin Library
University of Tulsa
2933 E. 6th St
Tulsa 74104-3123 US US
918-631-5022 (Fax)