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Nathan Lupu Collection

Collection Overview

  • 1 box of compositions
  • 1 box of materials pertaining to Thorvald Otterström
  • 1 box of manuscript theory exercises
  • 1 audiocassette


Nathan Lupu (1906–2000) was an American composer who trained in Chicago from 1928-1935 with Danish-born composer and theorist Thorvald Otterström. He composed actively during this period and assisted Otterström with his 1935 manual A Theory of Modulation. Lupu then spent the remainder of his professional life working as a draftsman for Bethlehem Steel, during which time he stopped composing.

He retired to Boynton Beach, Florida in 1967, resumed composing, and studied piano under the late Florida Atlantic University professor Raul Spivak in order to refine his piano technique. Lupu’s Improvisation in G Minor, which he dedicated to Spivak, was selected by the Bicentennial Committee of the Performing Arts to be played on American public radio stations during the 1976 celebration.

Lupu’s music is tonal and lyrical, yet heavily chromatic and adventuresome in its use of harmony; it constantly weaves and shifts from one harmony or key to the next. It is clear that Otterström’s theories, which sought to greatly expand possibilities for modulation and harmonic exploration, had a profound effect on Lupu.

The Nathan Lupu Collection contains the original manuscripts of his 25 known compositions (written almost exclusively for solo piano), manuscripts and exercises on theory, published works by Thorvald Otterström, and biographical material about Nathan Lupu.

The collection was obtained in March 2013 from Florida Atlantic University.