Michigan State University

Music Manuscript Collection

The MSU Archives and Historical Collections, in conjunction with the MSU Fine Arts--Music Library, is the repository for several outstanding collections of 20th Century music, primarily the works of individual composers or performers connected with MSU. Additions to existing collections and the donation of new collections are anticipated. Most of the material consists of scores, in published and/or manuscript form, correspondence, recordings, and books by the donors. Organization, conservation and preservation of current and future donations is of high priority. Through these donations, MSU Libraries has a unique opportunity to contribute to the work of performers and scholars studying compositional technique, repertoire, performance practice, popular entertainment, and the music and methods of individual composers.

H. Owen Reed Collection

Dr. Reed (1910-2014) taught theory and composition at MSU from 1939-1976, influencing generations of composers and also composing many significant works during these years. His donations began in 1985, and were substantially completed in 2014.  Scores, sketches, recordings, texts, correspondence, and photographs comprise the collection, including the well-known "La Fiesta Mexicana" and "For the Unfortunate". "Michigan Dream", later retitled "Peter Homan's Dream", was written for the centennial of Michigan State, and provided the famous choral piece, "Michigan Morn". Dr. Reed received many awards and commissions, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was active in both classical and jazz fields. He continued to take an active interest in his collection and updated it throughout his life, sending copies of all newly published, revised or recorded works. Family members continue to contribute materials.

Verdehr Trio Collection

This collection is an ongoing donation of Walter Verdehr (violin) and Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr (clarinet). The Trio has made significant contributions to the world's literature for violin, clarinet and piano through their commissioning of works, many funded in part by Michigan State University. The collection includes manuscripts, proof copies, printed scores, correspondence, concert programs, and other materials relating to the Trio's tours, performances and commissions. Among the composers represented are Leslie Bassett, William David Brohn, David Diamond, Elena Firsova, Jere Hutcheson, Gian-Carlo Menotti, James Niblock, and Gunther Schuller. As of 2015, over 250 works have been commissioned. A grant has enabled videotaped interviews with various composers, which have been and are being edited and donated to the Collection. The Verdehrs are emeritus faculty members in the MSU College of Music. (The Verdhr Trio's official website)

Dick Charles Collection

This donation consisted of four trunks of dance bands arrangements used by the Dick Charles Band, which was active in Michigan and later in California. The majority of the music is for saxophone ensemble or saxophone orchestra. Ruth and Dick Charles were both graduates of MSU in the 1940s, and retained a strong interest in the university.  Dick was a student of H. Owen Reed. Mrs. Charles donated her late husband's music to the then-School of Music, which transferred it to the Libraries. These complete arrangements of popular dance tunes from the 1930s, l940s and l950s provide a rare glimpse into the performing life of big band musicians.

Jere Hutcheson Collection

Dr. Hutcheson received his Ph.D. in composition from MSU in 1966, with H. Owen Reed as his major composition professor. He has been on the music faculty at MSU since completing his degree and has in turn taught many outstanding composers. He began to donate his compositions in 1998, organized by genre and accompanied by CDs of each work. The collection include scores, parts and accompanying documentation; the donation is ongoing.

Joe Cappo Band Collection

Joe Cappo was a dance band leader based in Michigan; he toured the U.S. with the Joe Cappo Band until his untimely death in 1951. His widow, Elsie, continued to manage the band into the 1970s, with a more regional focus. Many performance fees were donated to MSU causes. Elsie was also an employee of the MSU Libraries for many years. She made the donation in September 2000, through her daughters, shortly before her death. The donation consists of published dance band arrangements (Collection 1) and arrangements of individual songs and medleys in pencil or ink, made especially for the Band (Collection 2 and Medleys). Each database is arranged by title; all parts included in the donation are listed in the databases. A collection of band memorabilia was donated to the MSU Museum concurrently with the scores.

James Niblock Collection

Dr. Niblock (1917-     ) joined the MSU faculty in 1948 as professor of theory and composition; he also served for years as department chair and has been continuously on the Board of Directors of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp since its founding. His donation includes choral works, two operas, chamber music, commissions by the Verdehr Trio and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and concertos for various instruments.

Wallace De Pue Collection

This donation was begun in 2001 with the extensive choral compositions of Wallace De Pue. Two operas and numerous recordings, as well as instrumental works, have been added. Dr. De Pue received his Ph.D. from MSU in 1965, where his primary composition teacher was H. Owen Reed. Dr. De Pue taught at Bowling Green State University (Ohio) from 1966 to 1998. He remains active as a composer and as a music manuscript donor.

Ernst Victor Wolff

This world-renowned pianist (1889-1960) taught at MSU from 1947 until his death in 1960. In addition to a solo career as harpsichordist and pianist, he accompanied many famous performers, including African-American mezzo-soprano Dorothy Maynor, bass Alexander Kipnis, and violinist Yehudi Menuhin. The collection includes notes from his student days in Berlin, clippings, correspondence, photographs, and scores he used in solo and chamber concerts. The donation is a gift of his widow, Thea, and of other family members.

Forrest Coggan

Mr. Coggan is an MSU alumnus who had an active career as dancer, choreographer and researcher. He collaborated with H. Owen Reed on several works and with the music, dance and theater departments at MSU in the 1950s through the 1970s. Special interests include creation of a dance company to promote and preserve Native American dances and other folk traditions through international tours; he and his family also extensively researched the Underground Railroad. His donations include many family papers, scores of  Reed and other composers with choreographic notation, letters, playbills, materials on the dance companies, and photos. Other collections representing his life's work are at several institutions, including Ohio University, University of Wisconsin, Western Kentucky University, the Huntington Museum, Lincoln Center, and the Library of Congress.

Eloy Fominaya

Over 95 works in all genres are included, many in manuscript. Additional papers, letters and documents are forthcoming. Dr. Fominaya received his Ph.D. in composition from MSU in 1963, with H. Owen Reed as his major professor. The late Dr. Fominaya was professor of music at Augusta College, Augusta, Georgia, and a much-respected composer. The donation is the gift of his daughter, Antonia Fominaya Ferguson.

Merrill Sherburn Collection

This collection consists of compositions and theoretical works by the late MSU professor, donated by his family. Dr. Sherburn was one of the first to investigate aural harmony and to write about the ear/brain connection. He taught theory and composition at MSU from 1957-1982 and was also a trombonist and trombone teacher. 

Roger Grove Collection

Roger Grove, MSU alumnus and donor, presented his grandfather's dance orchestra music, photographs, programs, playbills, and sheet music published in Lansing by Mr. von Richter, a violinist based in Fowlerville in the early 1900s. The collection provides a glimpse into a very popular style of music in central Michigan at that time. 

Paul Harder Collection

Professor Harder taught at Michigan State University from 1945 to 1973, played oboe in the Richards Quintet, and taught theory. He developed  widely-used programmed theory texts and was also a gifted composer. His former student Dr. Greg Steinke later revised and republished the theory texts.