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Dina Koston papers

Identifier: PIMS-0042

Scope and Contents

The Dina Koston papers, 1953-2009,) contain holograph scores of original compositions, documents from her career, and recordings of Koston’s compositions and her performances. Series 1 includes photocopy and manuscript scores of Koston's compositions, as well as some supporting documents. Series 2 contains concert programs, correspondence, and various publications. Lastly, series 3 contains audiocassette recordings of music by Koston and other 20th-century composers.


  • Creation: 1953 - 2009


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for use at the Peabody Archives. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or perform materials in this collection must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library.

Biographical / Historical

At two years old, Dina Koston began studying piano and music theory with her mother, a professional musician. She continued her diverse musical studies at the American Conservatory of Music, including ear-training, harmony, several styles of counterpoint, orchestration, analysis, and composition. She took private lessons with Gavin Williamson in harpsichord, with Mieczyslaw Horszowski and Leon Fleisher in piano, and with Nadia Boulanger and Luciano Berio in composition during summer courses.

With Leon Fleisher, her former mentor and teacher, Koston co-founded and co-directed the Theater Chamber Players (active 1968-2003). The group was the first resident chamber ensemble of the Smithsonian Institution, and then the first resident chamber ensemble of the Kennedy Center. During those years, she concentrated on studying new music and being a pianist.

Koston received commissions for her compositions from The Library of Congress, The Wolf Trap Foundation, The Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center, and The Cygnus Ensemble. The Cygnus Ensemble, as part of its 20th-anniversary celebration, presented an entire program of Koston's music in Zankel Hall, New York City, in December 2005. She wrote a work for 22 solo winds and brass for Robert Levy and the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble. Solo works have been performed on tour by soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson, cellist Susan Salm, and guitarist William Anderson.

In addition to giving many solo recitals, chamber music concerts, and university-level master classes throughout her career, Koston participated in several Marlboro Festivals and wrote music for theatrical productions at Café La Mama and the Arena Stage. She taught at the Peabody Conservatory and at Tanglewood.

Koston's last work, Distant Intervals, written for the Cygnus Ensemble, is a musical response to Samuel Beckett's Ohio Impromptu. It was first performed at Koston's memorial service at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland, on August 31, 2009.

(Adapted from, last accessed 2017 November 22.)


3.98 Cubic Feet (5 oversize legal boxes, 1 full-size legal box, 1 medium flat box, 1 large flat box)

Language of Materials



Dina Koston (1929-2009) was a pianist and composer who co-founded the Theater Chamber Players in Washington, D.C. The Dina Koston papers include manuscript scores of her compositions, documents related to her performances, and audio recordings.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed description of the collection exists offline. Please contact the Peabody Archives for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Phyllis Bryn-Julson and the estate of Dina Koston in 2012. "Distant Intervals" score donated by the Library of Congress Music Division in 2019.

Related Materials

Many materials in the Koston papers pertain to the Theater Chamber Players, which Koston co-founded. Peabody Archives also holds the Theater Chamber Players records, PIMS.0070. Contact for more information.

Processing Information

Processed by Scott A. Miller in 2016.



Guide to the Dina Koston papers
Kerri Sheehan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA