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Si Zentner Collection of Music Scores (MS-00487)


The Si Zentner Collection of Music Scores consists of copyright agreements and original music scores from the career of musician Si Zentner. The manuscripts span from 1957 through 1996.

Finding Aid PDF


1957 to 1996


33.92 Cubic Feet (76 boxes)
31.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents Note

The Si Zentner Collection of Music Scores consists of copyright agreements located in Special Collections and original music scores located in LASR from the career of musician Si Zentner. Numbers are missing from the original numbering system created by Zentner. There are some duplicate numbers.

Access Note

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.


Materials remain in the original order. Si Zentner organized the music scores according to his own numeric system.

Biographical / Historical Note

Musician Si (Simon H.) Zentner was born June 13, 1917 in New York City. He began playing the violin at the age of four and soon switched to the trombone. His ability as a young musician earned him a Guggenheim Foundation Philharmonic Scholarship. While he began in classical music, he found his true calling in more contemporary music after playing a session with Andre Kostelanetz. He joined Les Brown’s big band in 1940 and later worked with Harry James and Jimmy Dorsey.

During World War II he moved to Los Angeles and continued to work and raise a family. He was on staff at MGM Studios from 1949 until 1955 and had the opportunity to choreograph music for the films Singin' in the Rain andA Star is Born. He landed a contract with Liberty Records in 1959 and formed a full-sized swing ensemble.

Through his long career, Zentner garnered many commercial and critical awards. His band won thrirteen consecutive Downbeat Polls as "Best Big Band." In 1961, he was voted top trombonist in Playboy’s Jazz Reader’s Poll. In 1961, a twist version of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Up a Lazy River” reached the top 40 pop charts and won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. As a result, this became Zentner's signature tune.

In 1965, Zentner moved to Las Vegas and opened in the Tropicana Hotel’s 500-seat lounge, the Blue Room, playing behind Mel Torme. He then became the musical director for the “Folies Bergere” in 1968. He played a myriad of venues including clubs, casinos, cruise ships and colleges. Zentner battled leukemia the last two years of his life, but continued playing until six months before his death. He passed away on January 31, 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Preferred Citation

Si Zentner Collection of Music Scores, 1957-1996. MS-00487. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Acquisition Note

Materials were given to the Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center in 2004 and subsequently transferred to Special Collections; accession number 2004-012.

Processing Note

Material was processed by Joyce Moore in 2004. In 2014, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Ian M. Baldwin and Dallas Reiber revised and enhanced the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards. In 2016 Joyce Moore added missing boxes and uploaded to ArchivesSpace.

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