The Holst Foundation

The Holst archive

The Holst archive

The Holst archive is primarily made up of Imogen Holst’s personal papers and music manuscripts, amassed by her throughout her life. It also includes some important papers and music manuscripts of Gustav Holst. The archive documents many aspects of Imogen Holst’s wide-ranging achievements as a composer and arranger of folksongs, editor and promoter of her father’s music, and conductor and writer.

The Holst archive is now owned and administered by Britten-Pears Arts, having been donated by the Holst Foundation in 2007, Imogen Holst’s centenary. It is held at the Britten-Pears Archive at The Red House and is currently being catalogued. The collection is being added to the online archive as cataloguing work progresses. A detailed overview of the collection can be found here on the archive website. 

Amongst Imogen Holst’s papers are her diaries and journals as well as letters from many eminent composers including Lennox Berkeley and her teacher Ralph Vaughan Williams. From the age of nineteen she pasted a mass of photographs, postcards, letters, press cuttings and programmes into scrapbooks and these now form a colourful illustration of her life and work.

The archive also includes music manuscripts by other composers sent to Imogen for performance or comment. These include works by Malcolm Williamson, Elizabeth Maconchy and film composer James Bernard, who studied under Imogen at the Royal College of Music.

Unpublished works by both Gustav and Imogen Holst are gradually being added to the Faber Music Store, where they are available for downloading. Scores published by Faber Music are also available from this website. Further unpublished works may also be accessible on request from the Archive. If there are any problems in accessing any of this material please contact

A Holst Society was set up in 2017 independently of the Foundation, and is active in promoting recordings and performances of Gustav Holst’s music, including the provision of hire materials for some orchestral works which are otherwise difficult to obtain.

Please visit the archive website or contact the Archivist for more information.

The Holst archive