Scope and arrangement
The Kevin Oldham papers, dating from 1984 to 1997, document Oldham's life and career through personal and professional correspondence, subject files, publicity files, photographs, journals, and scores. Most content dates from 1989 to 1993. Correspondence and subject files comprise the bulk of the collection. Personal correspondence is with friends and discusses the refocusing of Oldham's life toward music composition following his positive test for HIV; it also holds purely humorous letters (titled the Tickle Pickle File). Professional correspondence is with critics, other musicians, and publishers regarding the performance and promotion of Oldham's music. Posthumous publishing correspondence is with Stephen Rotondaro. Professional correspondence can also be found in the subject files.
Subject files document both personal and professional aspects of Oldham's life. They include papers regarding several compositions: the premiere of Concerto for Piano, the posthumous premiere of Symphony for Organ, and an unfinished opera, Thérèse Raquin. The files for Concerto for Piano include the full score manuscript and correspondence with the Kansas City Symphony. Rough versions of the libretto for the opera are present, as well as a few music sketches and costume designs. The files for Marble Collegiate Church contain letters regarding its commission of choral pieces from Oldham, and include correspondence with the Aaron Copland Fund and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. The Church files also hold papers regarding Oldham's memorial service.
The scores consist of Oldham's arrangements for piano or choir of music by J.S. Bach, Jean Sibelius, and John Jacob Niles. They also contain a song by Sigmund Romberg and Herbert Reynolds. Some of the scores are manuscripts, others are computer prints.
Other subject files contain correspondence, programs, fliers, and clippings regarding Oldham's debuts at Carnegie Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Merkin Concert Hall; correspondence with the Aperto Records company; correspondence and meeting minutes documenting Oldham's involvement with the AIDS Music Emergency Network and the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS; correspondence, programs and clippings regarding the Benson Concert Series for AIDS Relief; and correspondence and clippings regarding fliers sent to Oldham's parents by the Westboro Baptist Church shortly after his death, the church's protest at Oldham's funeral, and the counter-protest organized by ACT-UP/Kansas City.
The publicity files hold professional photographs of Oldham dating from the mid-1980s to 1992, clippings, press releases, and programs. The journals contain poetry, prose fiction, song lyrics, and drawings. They also hold personal correspondence between Stephen Rotondaro and Paul Bonin-Rodriguez dating from after Oldham's death, as well as writings by Bonin-Rodriguez.
Kevin Oldham's compositions are described in detail at the website of The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS (http://www.artistswithaids.org/artforms/music/catalogue/oldham.html).
The papers are arranged by alphabetically by file format.