Robert Leigh Selig (Jan. 29, 1939 - Jan. 15, 1984), American composer and educator. Robert Selig studied composition with Antony Donato at Northwestern University (Mus.B, 1961, Mus.M., 1962), and with Gardner Read at Boston University (doctoral courses, 1966-1967). He also studied privately with Ernst Krenek and Donald Martino, and on fellowships at Tanglewood in 1966, 1968, and 1972.

In the mid-1960s, Selig wrote popular songs working as a staff composer for United Artists in New York. He was appointed to the faculty of New England Conservatory in 1968, where he taught Twentieth Century Compositional Techniques, Ear Training, and other courses in the Theory Department.

Among the many awards Selig received were two Guggenheim Fellowships for composition (1971 and 1978), a Composer Assistance award from the American Music Center (1975), and a Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation award (1976). His commissioned works include: Concerto for Rock Group and Orchestra (1969) for the Eastern Music Festival; the one-act opera Chocorua (1972), commissioned by the Fromm Foundation and the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, where it was premiered; and his last work, for the Serge Koussevitsky Music Foundation, Concerto for Two Pianos (1983).

In his lifetime, Selig’s works were performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Collage, Armando Ghitalla, the Empire Brass Quintet, the New England Chamber Opera Group, Elizabeth Parcells, the Washington Chamber Brass, and several New England Conservatory musicians and ensembles. His music scores are published by Margun Music.

Physical description

The Robert Selig collection consists of 2 record cartons (approximately 2 lin. ft.). The collection is chiefly comprised of paper files, with a few photographs and 3 cassette tapes.


This collection includes materials created by, and belonging to, Robert
Selig, New England Conservatory faculty member from 1968-1984. The collection was donated by Robert Selig’s sister, Andrea D. (Bonnie) Selig, in 1985. The papers in this collection were part of a larger donation of Robert Selig’s music manuscripts and sketches, books, scores, audiotapes, and 35 mm microfilms of his scores.


Access to this collection is by appointment through the Archivist or the Director of Libraries, New England Conservatory of Music. There are no restrictions pertaining to this collection.

*For information regarding NEC's collection of Robert Selig's music, see Robert Leigh Selig, 1939-1984: his music in the Harriet M. Spaulding Library at the New England Conservatory of Music : a preliminary index by Patrick H. Maxfield (Vault ML134.S424 M29).


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 the Robert Selig Collection, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA.

Finding aid compiled by Raymond Schmidt, Spring 2007