Indices and thematic catalogs to composer’s works are a standard genre of scholarship common in musicology and library science. Notable examples are the Schmieder (1950) index to the works of J.S. Bach and the Heyman (2012) thematic guide to Samuel Barber’s compositions.
However, at present no such comprehensive and authoritative published index exists for the works of American composer, pianist, cellist, and professor Blythe Owen (1898-2000). Owen was one of the first women in the United States to graduate with a PhD in composition, taught for many years at Roosevelt University, Northwestern University, and Andrews University, and won several prizes for her works. The lack of a published index to her compositions is an impediment to performers and scholars interested in her work.
This paper will discuss a current project to engage with Owen’s texts and musical scores, housed in Collection 186 in the Center for Adventist Research, in order to create an authoritative, published index to her works. These archival documents will be discussed in relation to previously published and unpublished lists of Owen’s works compiled by Mamora (1979), Cohen (1987), Penner (2005), and Gavas (2009). It is argued that these earlier lists are incomplete, and that further investigation will yield a more detailed and accurate portrait of Owen’s output.
Once completed, this project will fill a gap in the history of American composers, female musicians, and Adventist academics, shedding new light and providing improved access to the too-often neglected works of an important female American composer.
Marianne Kordas received her BA in music from Andrews University, and holds graduate degrees in music history and library science from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She currently serves as the Director of the Music Materials Center of the James White Library at Andrews University. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, playing viola, and geeking out over antiques.
Marianne Kordas. "American Composer Blythe Owen and the Texts of Collection 186: Using an Archival Collection to Create an Authoritative Index to a Composer’s Work" (2016)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/marianne_kordas/6/