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Basil Toutorsky papers

Identifier: PIMS-0053

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Scope and Contents

The Basil Toutorsky papers (1930-1992) contain personal papers including scores of his compositions, government documents, certificates, photographs, concert programs, clippings, scrapbooks, and articles. Box 3 contains material predominantly related to the Toutorsky mansion in Washington, D.C.


  • Creation: 1930-1992


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

Basil Toutorsky, a Russian pianist and composer, taught music in Washington, D.C., for over 50 years. Born into nobility in Russia in 1896, Toutorsky began piano lessons at the age of four. He attended Novotcherkask Musical College, graduating in 1913. He then attended Moscow Imperial Lycee of Tsarecitch Nicholas and the University of Moscow, where he obtained law degrees in 1916. He also studied music with visiting professors from the Moscow Conservatory of Music. During World War I, Toutorsky served in the Imperial Russian Navy, fighting for the White Russian forces. In 1920 he fled to Turkey and in 1923 came to the United States. Pursuing a career as a musician, Toutorsky toured North America and Europe as a concert pianist and met his wife, the Mexican opera singer Maria Ignacia Howard, while on tour in 1936. He initially settled in Los Angeles before moving in 1937 to Washington, D.C., where he established the Toutorsky Academy of Music. Toutorsky gave private lessons and continued to compose music.

Known as one of the last remaining links to the pre-Revolutionary golden age of Russian music, Toutorsky wrote extensively on Russian music and frequently judged music competitions. He was a member of several professional music organizations, a member of the Military Order of World Wars, and a fellow of the International Biographical Association.

In 1988, Basil and Maria Toutorsky donated their mansion on 16th Street NW in Washington to the Johns Hopkins University. The Toutorskys died in 1989 and the university sold the building the following year to support a piano studio in their name at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.


2.08 Cubic Feet (3 full-size legal boxes, 1 large flat box, 1 map case folder)

Language of Materials



Basil Toutorsky (1896-1989), a Russian pianist and composer, taught music in Washington, D.C., for over 50 years. Born into nobility in Russia, Toutorsky fought for the White Russian forces in World War I and fled to the United States in the 1920s. He established the Toutorsky Academy of Music in Washington, where he gave private lessons and composed music from 1937 until his death in 1989. His collection includes personal papers and photographs relating to his life and career.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of Basil and Maria Toutorsky received in 1990.

Existence and Location of Copies

Some photographs and documents in the collection have been digitized as part of the Basil and Maria Toutorsky digital collection, available at

Related Materials

Reminiscences of the life and times of Basil P. Toutorsky, a biography published by the Peabody Conservatory in 1989, can be located through the library catalog.

Processing Information

Processed by Kerri Sheehan in 2017.

Guide to the Basil Toutorsky 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