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The State University of New York at FredoniaReed Library

Archives & Special Collections: Walter S. Hartley

Walter S. Hartley Collection

Page from a manuscript sketch for Hartley's Concerto for 23 Winds (1957)The Walter S. Hartley Collection comprises a significant contribution to the history of contemporary classical music in the United States. The collection consists largely of manuscript sketches and scores by Hartley alongside his arrangements of works by other composers; correspondence with some of the leading composers, conductors and classical saxophonists of his time, including Sigurd Raschèr, Frederick Fennell, Percy Grainger, Alexander Manoukian, Lee Patrick, and Fredonia Associate Professor of Music Wildy Zumwalt; as well as photographs, writings, programs and other materials. The collection was acquired via a number of donations over many years from Dr. Hartley himself, with the final accessions received from his widow, Sandra Hartley, after Hartley's death in 2016.

Although currently undergoing processing, most of the Walter S. Hartley Collection is open to researchers. Click here to view the most recent finding aid for the collection (still in progress). For research inquiries, please complete the Archives Research Request form.


Image: Page from a manuscript sketch for Hartley's Concerto for 23 Winds (1957).
Walter S. Hartley Collection, MSS 33-B6-F1, Archives & Special Collections, State University of New York at Fredonia. ©​ Accura Music

Biographical Note

Walter S. HartleyWalter S. Hartley (1927-2016) was Professor Emeritus of Music at Fredonia, serving on the School of Music faculty from 1969 until his retirement in 1991. Prior to his tenure at Fredonia, he taught piano, theory and composition at the National Music Camp (now Interlochen Arts Camp) in Interlochen, Michigan from 1956 to 1964. He and his wife, Sandra, eventually relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina where he took the post of composer-in-residence for one year at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 

Recognized for significantly expanding the repertoire of classical wind and brass (particularly saxophone and low brass), Hartley composed over 300 original works and arrangements during his lifetime, most of which are now housed in the Archives & Special Collections at Fredonia as part of the Walter S. Hartley Collection. Acknowledgement of his expertise as a composer included numerous commissions from college and high school organizations, U.S. service bands, and the Koussevitzky Foundation for whom he composed in 1954 his Chamber Symphony. His first saxophone quartet (Suite for saxophone quartet, 1972) was composed for the Rascher Saxophone Quartet and dedicated to Sigurd M. Raschèr (whose papers are also held by the Archives & Special Collections at Fredonia).


Photo: Walter S. Hartley, c. 1960s, photographer unknown.
Walter S. Hartley Collection, MSS 33, Archives & Special Collections, State University of New York at Fredonia.

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