Speculum Musicae was founded in 1971 by Fred Sherry, pianist Ursula Oppens and percussionist Richard Fitz. Original members included Joel Marangella, oboe; Virgil Blackwell, clarinet; Rolf Schulte, violin; John Graham, viola. Paul Lustig Dunkel, flute; Stephen Taylor, oboe and bassist Donald Palma joined the group soon after.
The Naumberg Foundation commissed two pieces for the group in 1972: Charles Wuorinen Speculum Speculi and Donald Martino Notturno.
The group commissioned Elliott Carter's A Mirror on Which to Dwell in 1975 and made the premiere recording which was conducted by Richard Fitz with Susan Davenny Wyner, soprano.
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