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Pierre Key’s Music Yearbook

(New York, 1925-1938)

Prepared by Richard Kitson
Online only (2023)

Pierre Key’s International Yearbook. The Standard Music Annual [RIPM code PKM] was published in New York City by Pierre Key, Inc. as two two-year annuals, 1925-26 and 1926-27, and four single year annuals, 1928, 1929, 1935 and 1938. Each volume consists of 400 to 500 pages in a mixture of single-column and two-column format.

The editor, Pierre van Rensselaer Key (1872-1945) was active in the musical life of New York City in several capacities. Originally a tenor singer in concert and oratorio settings, Keys entered the area of musical biography, criticism and reportage. He wrote several books about music and musical figures, including a transcription of tenor John MacCormack’s autobiography (1918), a biography of the tenor Enrico Caruso with Bruno Zirato (1922), and wrote about the vocal art in This Business of Singing (1937). In the field of musical journalism, Key produced and edited the Musical Digest (1920-1948) until his death in 1945. In addition, he published a single volume each of Pierre Key’s Radio Annual (1933) and Pierre Key’s Who’s Who (1931). Irene Haynes is listed as associate editor for Pierre Key’s International Yearbook.

In 1922, following world-wide travels hampered by minimal knowledge of local musical organizations, and having received numerous questions about music world-wide, Key conceived of “an annually published volume that would supply in conveniently accessible form valuable musical facts.” To accomplish this enormous task, Key devised two approaches to the content and organization of each annual. The first three annuls are divided into two parts: for 1925-16 and 1927, eminent writers from Europe provide essays reporting on the general condition of contemporary musical life followed by statistics concerning aspects of musical life in particular European countries; in 1928, Key himself writes an extensive essay entitled “A Survey of World Music Conditions” followed by statistics of many geographical locations. In 1935 the entire journal was devoted to statistics about major music affairs in the United States (and Canada).  1938 again features the musical life of the United States (and Canada) but ventures into information about the Federal Music Project and the forthcoming New York World’s Fair of 1939.

This RIPM Index was produced from a copy of the journal held by the Sibley Musical Library of the Eastman School of Music.