Born in 1911, Nuncio “Toots” Mondello started life in Boston, where he performed on the alto and soprano saxophones with his father’s band from the age of 8 and joined the musicians’ union when only 14. Mondello studied at NEC in 1927; his classes included harmony with William B. Tyler and solfeggio with Clara Ellis. He became assistant bandleader with Mal Hallett’s Toast of New England in the same year.
Between 1934 and 1935, Mondello was the principal alto saxophonist in Benny Goodman’s radio band. Over his career he also played on shows for Kate Smith, Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, and Milton Berle, among others. Mondello played what is called “the Boston sound” – clear and well-rounded – and was considered one of the best saxophonists of this style.
Mondello became interested in classical music in the 1930s while studying flute with James Pappoutsakis of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and eventually studied composition with Paul Creston. His pieces saw many performances in the 1970s; in all he composed more than thirty chamber music and orchestral pieces.
Late in his career, Mondello performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He died in 1992.
The Nuncio “Toots” Mondello collection consists of 9 drop-front archival boxes, 4 records cartons, and 2 LP cases
This collection includes materials created by and belonging to Nuncio “Toots” Mondello. The materials were donated by Mondello in his will as of 16 December 1992.
Access to the Nuncio “Toots” Mondello collection is granted by the NEC Archivist. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There are no restrictions pertaining to this collection.
All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory. Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as: Nuncio “Toots” Mondello Collection, New England Conservatory Archives, Boston, MA.
Scope & Content
The Nuncio "Toots" Mondello collection is arranged into eight series:
- Music manuscripts
- Notebooks and envelopes
- Personal papers
- Audio materials
The first series of the Mondello collection consists of eight boxes of Mondello's music manuscripts which are arranged alphabetically by title.
The second series consists of one box containing 21 notebooks and 6 envelopes. The majority of these contain sketches of various Mondello's musical works. Also included are a few works by other composers, in particular, Paul Creston. These are again organized alphabetically by title if possible.
The third series includes two record cartons containing 21 sketchbooks. These sketchbooks contain pedagogical musical studies and some unidentified musical sketches.
The fourth series contains Mondello's personal papers. These are arranged into four subseries: performance materials, correspondence, publications, and materials relating to the donation of this collection. The Performance Material mostly consists of programs of concerts in which Mondello’s pieces were played. However, there are other documents such as a list of where his pieces premiered. The Correspondence in this collection includes letters regarding performances and recordings of Mondello’s works with accompanying programs, journal, photograph, etc. Most of the Publications are newsletters from the New York Flute Club, Inc., although there are other items as well. The Donation Materials are copies of the documents the library holds in conjunction with the donation of this collection.
The small number of Photographs are of Mondello during World War II, when he seems to have performed with the WAAC Caravan.
An array of items is in the Scrapbook including newspaper clippings, letters regarding performances, and newsletters.
The seventh series consists of one box of audio recordings in different formats including cassette tape, 1 3" reel to reel tape, and several 5" and 7" reel to reel tapes. In addition there are 2 LP cases containing 23 LPs including 4 45rpm records.
The two artifacts in this collection are trophies given to Toots Mondello by Downbeat magazine in 1940 and 1942.
Series 1: Music Manuscripts (Boxes 1-8)
Series 2: Notebooks and miscellaneous (Box 9)
Series 3: Sketchbooks (Boxes 10 and 11)
Series 4: Personal papers (Box 12)
Subseries 1: Performance materials
Performance Material, Programs with Mondello Works Performed, 1943 – 79
Performance Material, Other Programs, 1975 – 9
Performance Material, List of work premieres, n.d.
Subseries 2: Correspondence
Correspondence, 1972 – 86.
Subseries 3: Publications
Publications, 1974 – 8, n.d.
Subseries 4: Donation materials
Donation Records, 1927 – 1992 (bulk 1992)
Series 5: Photographs (Box 12)
Photographs, n.d. (c. 1943)
Series 6: Scrapbook (Box 12)
Scrapbook, 1970 – 3, n.d.
Series 7: Audio recordings (Boxes 13-15)
Box 13: Cassette and reel to reel tapes
Box 14 and 15: LPs
Series 8: Artifacts (stored in Box 13)
Finding aid compiled by Marti Verso, Fall 2008 and Ethan D'Ver, 2015.