About the Society
The Miklós Rózsa Society seeks to foster the appreciation, performance, study, and recording of the music of Miklós Rózsa and to serve as a forum of communication for all who share this interest. We have attempted to play this role through print publication, a Web presence, limited distribution of audio recordings, and facilitation of communications among fans, performers, estate, and publishers.
PRO MUSICA SANA: The Society's principal activity for forty years was to publish the journal Pro Musica Sana (PMS), edited by John Fitzpatrick. The title, referring to a sane and healthy musical culture, had been suggested by Rózsa himself. The earliest quarterly issues of PMS, which some might have called a “fanzine,” consisted of a few typewritten sheets blending news from the composer with a variety of appreciative writings. By the 1990s, with Frank DeWald as Associate Editor, PMS had developed into a sophisticated computer-typeset journal, now published annually, with issues ranging up to fifty-two pages. A total of sixty-seven issues were published between 1972 and 2012. All have been digitized and are freely accessible on this site via the PMS Archive link. Copies of print issues are available for a few early issues and for almost everything from PMS 20 onward. Contact John Fitzpatrick or Alan Hamer to purchase. The nominal price is U.S.$5 per issue, but substantial discounts are available.
HISTORY: The Society was established in 1971–1972 by John Fitzpatrick, a graduate student in New York; Mark Koldys, an attorney in Detroit; Ken Doeckel, a teacher in Berkeley, California, who had written the first substantial biographical article on Rózsa (Films in Review, October 1965); and Page Cook, whose monthly column in Films in Review was the only regular commentary on movie music at that time. All of us shared a passion for Rózsa’s music and a frustration at the then-current state of affairs. Very little of Rózsa’s music was available on records. Only a few of the old films were sporadically televised. Film reviewers paid little attention to the music, and music critics during this high-water era of academic serialism were typically condescending toward anything “tainted” by Hollywood.
Ken Doeckel and Page Cook approached Miklós Rózsa, who had previously discouraged the formation of fan clubs. (An organization in Belgium had little contact with the English-speaking world.) Rózsa agreed to lend his name to our group with the proviso that it “not alone promote M.R., but fight for better music in films and re-establish sanity in concert music.” Doeckel and Cook withdrew in the 1970s. Alan Hamer took over European operations; Frank DeWald became Associate Editor of the journal. In the 1980s the rise of other film music publications and recording projects suggested a narrowing of our focus to Rózsa alone.
By 1980 active, dues-paying membership had risen to a peak of about 400 in some twenty countries. A number of major research libraries received our journal. Highlights of the Society’s early history included the occasions on which members gathered with Dr. Rózsa himself for important events in his later career: the Tripartita premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington (1976); the Indiana University film conference and Toccata capricciosa premiere (1977); the Hamilton/Toronto concerts and lectures of the same year; the honorary doctorate and master class at Wooster College in Ohio (1979); and the Viola Concerto premiere in Pittsburgh (1984). Following the composer’s death in 1995, we helped to observe centenary festivals in Budapest (2007) and Belgrade (2008).
RECORDINGS: With Dr. Rózsa’s informal permission, the Society offered to its members a number of audio recordings (cassette and later CD-R) of music and talks not otherwise available. Mark Koldys was in charge of the operation. As most of this material has since been commercially released, the recording program has been greatly curtailed. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for current information.
MEMBERSHIP: Membership was historically maintained through paid subscriptions to Pro Musica Sana. With the cessation of print publication there is no regular dues charge. Anyone can register to participate in our activities and receive occasional e-mail bulletins about concerts. Donations are appreciated, since the print era ended “in the red,” and our other activities do incur certain expenses. Purchase of musical scores via the Sheet Music Plus link on our Web site brings a small commission to the Society.
WEB SITE: The MRS Web site at www.miklosrozsa.org was established in 1998 by Matthew Gear and since 2006 has been developed and maintained by Hank Verrijt. The site's message board, the Rózsa Forum, has operated since 1999 and is presently the most active function of the Society. All are welcome to register and contribute there. The Society maintains a Facebook page and is also on Twitter.