Special Collections at the Wilson Music Library: Alfred H. Bartles Papers

An overview of the special collections available for students, faculty, and researchers held by the Anne Potter Wilson Music Library.

Alfred H. Bartles Biography:

Alfred H. Bartles was born in 1930 in Nashville, Tennessee, and was a composer, arranger, cellist, teacher, and jazz pianist. He began his piano studies at an early age and played cornet and euphonium in his high school band. His interest in jazz led him to study with jazz pianist Lennie Tristano, after which he worked as an arranger-pianist for the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He studied with Roy and Johana Harris at the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, obtained a Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Mississippi (1953) and a Master’s degree in composition from Ohio University (1954), where he studied with Karl Ahrendt. He studied cello with Claus Adam and Luigi Silva, and went on to play professionally in the St. Louis Symphony, Springfield Symphony, Radio City Music Hall, various Broadway shows and with Mantovani. Bartles moved to New York City in 1954 where he played in jazz clubs in and around the area, and began his long connection with eurythmy, Waldorf education, and anthroposophy. In 1968 he founded the composition program at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and taught there for several summers throughout the remainder of his life. In 1969, Bartles received a grant in composition from a private foundation which gave him the opportunity to compose and study the teaching of music in the Waldorf schools of Germany. He spent four years in Europe, where he taught music theory and history as well as directing the chorus at the Schiller International University campuses in Heidelberg and Bönnigheim. In 1973, he returned to the United States to teach at Tennessee Technological University and play principal cello with the Bryan Symphony (Cookeville, Tennessee). He also performed regularly with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Bartles returned to Germany in 1977 to teach cello at the Stuttgart Musikschule and to teach the music courses at the Eurythmeum. He remained in Germany until mandatory retirement in 1996 and then returned definitively to Nashville where he continued to compose, play cello in regional orchestras and teach cello at Murray State University (Kentucky) and Austin Peay State University (Tennessee). In 1999 he was named “Composer of the Year” by the Tennessee Chapter of the National Association of Music Teachers. Bartles died of cancer on Dec. 28, 2006.

Overview of the Alfred H. Bartles Papers, MSS.MUS.0001:

Size and Scope of the Collection:
  • 59 boxes (23.76 linear feet).
  • Published and unpublished musical manuscripts, sketchbooks, professional and personal correspondence, recordings, photographs, programs, newspaper clippings, and various other documents.
Collection Strengths:
  • Instrumental music, including brass, cello, large ensemble pieces, and jazz.
  • Meticulously organized correspondence.
Accessing the Collection: