Collection ID: ARS.0043

Collection context


The Ambassador Auditorium Collection contains the files of the various organizational departments of the Ambassador Auditorium as well as audio and video recordings. The materials cover the entire time period of April 1974 through May 1995 when the Ambassador Auditorium was fully operational as an internationally recognized concert venue. The materials in this collection cover all aspects of concert production and presentation, including documentation of the concert artists and repertoire as well as many business documents, advertising, promotion and marketing files, correspondence, inter-office memos and negotiations with booking agents. The materials are widely varied and include concert program booklets, audio and video recordings, concert season planning materials, artist publicity materials, individual event files, posters, photographs, scrapbooks and original artwork used for publicity. Many of the print materials include handwritten comments from office personnel and administrators, and many of the artist photographs are autographed. Since the various office personnel maintained their own files, and the same information was often needed in more than one office at a time, the collection contains duplicate copies of many items. Although efforts were made to eliminate duplicate material from the same file or the same series, duplicate copies of items exist among the files from different offices. In an effort to maintain the original content of these files, the cross-file duplicate items were retained in the collection.
636 box(es) and Containers of various sizes with multiple types of print materials, photographic materials, audio and video materials, realia, posters and original art work (682.05 linear ft.).
English and English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Russian, Hungarian, Dutch, Latin, Malay, Thai, Czech, Slovak
Preferred citation:

Ambassador Auditorium Collection, ARS.0043. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA.


Scope and Content:

The Ambassador Auditorium Collection was assembled and donated by the Ambassador Foundation in 2001. The collection consists of over 600 boxes of concert information and documentation from the numerous files of the Ambassador Auditorium during the period of April 1974 through May 1995. The materials include concert program booklets, concert and promotional audio and video recordings, concert season planning materials, artist publicity materials, individual event files, posters, photographs, scrapbooks, original artwork used for publicity, and so far is as known, the complete office files from the various departments of the Ambassador Auditorium including some correspondence and inter-office memos.

Biographical / Historical:

The Ambassador Auditorium is located on the grounds of Maranatha High School (formerly the campus of Ambassador College) in Pasadena, California. The Ambassador was built under the guidance of Herbert W. Armstrong as a facility for religious services of the Worldwide Church of God and also as a performing arts center. The architectural design of the building bears certain similarities to that of the Temple of ancient Israel.

The first public concert at the Ambassador was presented by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini, on April 7, 1974. For the next twenty years the Ambassador hosted many of the world’s finest performing artists in many genres, and thus it was known as “The Carnegie Hall of the West.” Notable artists who performed at the Ambassador included Artur Rubinstein, Leontyne Price, Victor Borge, Peter Schickele as P.D.Q. Bach, Julian Bream, Andrés Segovia, Barbara Cook, Juilliard String Quartet, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, the Chieftains, the Kingston Trio, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Marcel Marceau, Claire Bloom, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Modern Jazz Quartet, Oscar Peterson, Ravi Shankar, Mel Tormé, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. During this period the Ambassador also hosted the inaugural Ivo Pogorelich International Solo Piano Competition as well as the Pasadena Jazz Festival. The interior design of the hall was noted for its exceptional elegance displaying Iranian onyx, African teak wood, gold overlay and wool carpets from India. Due to the relatively small seating capacity of the main hall with 1262 seats (compared with Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium which has 2804 seats), the Ambassador was particularly well suited to small ensembles and solo performances. In the mid 1990s the Worldwide Church of God, which operated the Ambassador Auditorium and Ambassador College, ceased its operations and sold the property. In 2004 a portion of the property, including the Ambassador Auditorium, was purchased by HRock Church of Pasadena.


The collection is arranged in ten series according to the original order established by the Ambassador Auditorium personnel: (1) Administrative Files; (2) Concert Files; (3) Concert Management and Booking Files; (4) Concert Program Files; (5) Publicity and Advertising; (6) Marketing Files; (7) Broadcast Media Associate Files and Media Relations/In Recital Files; (8) Performance Files; (9) Miscellaneous Materials: Scrapbooks, Miscellaneous Signed Photographs, Artwork Assigned to Scrapbooks; (10) Concert Recordings. Sub-Series have been established for audio and video recordings.

In general, the original order of materials has been maintained to provide a contextual relationship of individual items within each series and within the total collection. Although many of the files were originally organized either alphabetically or chronologically, there seem to be inconsistencies in the filing systems used by the Ambassador personnel. Filing procedures within a single office appeared to have changed over time, or in some cases it appears that different filing systems were used simultaneously. To a large degree, these variants in filing procedure have been maintained with occasional small adjustments made to group together certain related materials when it made sense to do so.

Physical location:
Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries Stanford, California 94305-3076
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard



Collection is open for research. Listening appointments may require 24 hours notice. Contact the Archive Operations Manager.


Property rights reside with the repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.


Ambassador Auditorium Collection, ARS.0043. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA.

Braun Music Center
541 Lasuen Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-3076, USA
The Archive’s materials are for on-site use only. It is advised that visitors contact the Archive in advance so that required materials can be prepared.