Scope and arrangement
The Thomas E. Barker papers consist primarily of sketches, scores and parts for about 50 of his compositions, including Four Sets for Orchestra, Symphony No. 1, Double Concerto for Bass Clarinet, Trombone and Chamber Orchestra (Blackhawk), Gianni Schicchi: A Chamber Ballet in Two Acts (unrelated to the Puccini opera of the same name), Single Six, and his last completed composition, Chorales. They also contain such early unpublished works as Supralapsarianism, Waltz Through A Briar Patch and original country music.
The papers hold correspondence, school files from his time at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University, biographical files, programs and program notes, posters, photographs, composition catalogs, and files documenting his publishing company, Zaccho, Inc.
The collection contains a substantial audio component. Much of it is open-reel and cassette tapes containing recordings of nearly all of Barker's music. Some of the reels consist of early recordings of Barker's jazz group and guitar music, recorded in Atlanta in the early 1970s. There are 23 10-inch reels of the Group for Contemporary Music, all recorded from 1968-1971, as well as two 10-inch reels of a Speculum Musicae performance from 1971. Also present are cassettes of an undated conversation between Barker and Milton Babbitt about the American new music scene in the 1930s, a 1985 interview of Barker by Alan Vince, and a WNYC program devoted to Barker from February 1988. Other tape reels include music by Charles Wuorinen, Milton Babbitt, and other composers.
Inquiries regarding audio materials in the collection may be directed to the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound (firstname.lastname@example.org). Audio materials will be subject to preservation evaluation and migration prior to access.
Portions of Barker's scores, his composition catalog, clippings, correspondence, photographs, and tapes of his music and interviews were digitized by his brother-in-law, Allen W. Smith. These digital files were donated to the Music Division. As of December 2011, they are also accessible on Smith's website, http://infostation1.net/teb. The audio on the site is in .mp3 format.
The Thomas E. Barker papers are arranged in two series:
- 1971-19973 boxes
Barker's files include correspondence; school files; biographical files; letters of awards; program notes; photographs; catalogs of his compositions; a performance file; project proposals; and papers related to Barker's company Zaccho, Inc.
Biographical files include clippings, resumes and posthumous items such as obituaries and the program for Barker's memorial concert. The awards file contains letters of awards and scholarships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Juilliard School and Columbia University, and commencement programs. The Broadcast Music Inc. file contains publishing-related correspondence and royalty statements. Correspondence consists primarily of grant applications and related subjects. Barker's Mercy College file contains his teaching material and course syllabi. The performance file contains programs for and posters advertising performances of Barker's music. Photographs include formal and informal pictures of Barker with friends, his guitar teacher, and at work in his studio. There are also photos of Barker receiving his American Academy of Arts and Letters award. The program notes were written by Barker and describe works including Trikhyalo, 10/22 (R-681.7), CCI (BR2), Chamber Concerto for Oboe and Fourteen Players, The Fanfare Electric, Gianni Schicchi, Chamber Concerto for Flute and Five Players, Double Concerto for Bass Clarinet, Trombone and Chamber Orchestra (Blackhawk), the arrangement of Palestrina's Stabat Mater, and Three Pieces for French Horn.
The school files contain transcripts, diplomas, papers written for classes on Schoenberg and Stravinksy, Barker's doctoral dissertation (on his Double Concerto for Bass Clarinet, Trombone and Chamber Orchestra (Blackhawk)), and his degrees from Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, and Columbia University. There is also a 1984 Fulbright proposal and a file on the Lovett School, which he attended in his teen years.
The Zaccho, Inc. files contain papers documenting the company's founding, its by-laws, and non-profit incorporation, a 1979 performance tour, concert programs, and related correspondence. Some of these files date up to 1997, as the company has been ongoing since Barker's death. The project files contain proposals for a New Music Association and a Varése performance/recording project.
- 1968-198713 boxes
This series consists primarily of Barker's original compositions. Nearly-complete lists of his works can be found in the composition catalog file in Series I, though some pieces in this series are not listed there. This series includes his early and student works (late 1960s to mid-1970s) as well as his mature pieces (late 1970s - 1987). His mature works nearly all include sketches, manuscript scores, master scores for reproduction (Barker was his own copyist), and parts, some of them marked with performance notes.
Among his early works are a piece for guitar (Sea Rock Section Road, ca. 1968); original country music (1970s, mostly lead sheets, but also including rough arrangements); Supralapsarianism (early 1970s, a piece for orchestra and chorus); Waltz Through A Briar Patch (1972, for clarinet ensemble); and Sonata for Piano (1973). Some of his mature pieces include Gianni Schicchi (A Chamber Ballet in Two Acts, 1979), Pulse III (1980), Single Six (1982, for bass clarinet), Trikhyalo (1983), Double Concerto for Bass Clarinet, Trombone and Chamber Orchestra (1983-1984, composed for his doctoral dissertation), Four Sets for Orchestra (1985), Symphony No. 1 (1985), Five Pieces for Piano (1986), and his last complete composition, Chorales (1987).
Barker also wrote arrangements of two Bach Preludes and Fugues, Paganini's 24th Caprice, and two pieces by Palestrina. These scores are at the front of the series. Also among Barker's scores was the incomplete manuscript for an orchestral piece by another, unidentified composer. This score is in the last folder of the series.