Les Baxter Music Preservation Project

jewels of the sea score les baxter

To celebrate the Les Baxter centenary, the Les Baxter Estate has partnered with the University of Arizona and Neumation Music to initiate a comprehensive preservation project that aims to protect and promote the legacy of Les Baxter for his contributions to American music. The initial phase of this project will involve digitizing several thousand pages of score, sketch, and instrumental parts. The musical works range from student compositions, Les’ many innovative recordings for Capitol Records, Reprise, and other labels, and his film scores for American International Pictures, United Artists, and MGM. Dozens of tape recordings and hundreds of photographs will also be digitized. 

In addition, Bax Music - Les’ publisher, will expand operations to include score publications and a concert rental library with authoritative editions engraved from the original scores and parts. Orchestras, ensembles, and bands around the world will be able to perform Les’ original arrangements for the first time. In addition, composers and arrangers will be able to study Les’ inventive arrangements exactly as written.

We wish Les was here to witness the appreciation for his music. He was a welcoming figure to musicians who approached him for guidance and always encouraged younger composers, arrangers, and performers to delve into music studies. In the early 1990’s, Les donated a selection of his professional papers to the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. These materials were later transferred to the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona with a supplemental donation of additional materials provided by the Baxter family -- in total, 56 boxes. Unfortunately, the majority of the collection was unprocessed and inaccessible for many years. It is our goal that by the completion of this project, nearly all of Les’ music will be available for performance or scholarly study.