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William Hibbard Papers

Identifier: RG99.0338

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Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers and musical works of renowned University of Iowa composer, conductor and musician William Hibbard. Series 1 of the collection - the largest portion - consists of musical scores and related materials (such as drafts and notes) for most of Hibbard's oeuvre. Many of the scores are original manuscripts, but also included are edited photocopies, performance copies, bound and published versions. Some scores are full, while others are parts for individual instruments.

Series 2 consists of Hibbard's personal papers included are correspondence, programs and reviews, handwritten jottings from Hibbard on a number of different musical concepts and patterns, and class materials, that is, materials relating to classes taught by Hibbard at the University of Iowa. [Class Materials is distinct from Classwork, which refers to materials drawn from Hibbard's own student life.]

Series 3 is comprised entirely of audio recordings: 5, 7, and 10-inch reels. These tapes are recordings of Hibbard's own compositions [many performed by Hibbard himself], of performances by Hibbard of the works of other composers, and of other musical performances not by or from Hibbard. Also included in this series is a professionally produced compact disc from 1991, In Memoriam William Hibbard, which brings together a number of Hibbard's compositions.


  • Creation: 1957-1991


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

William Alden Hibbard was a prominent composer, musician, and music professor at the University of Iowa. Born on August 8, 1939, in Newton, Massachusetts, he displayed an early aptitude for music - while still in junior high school, Hibbard began taking music composition lessons from Francis Judd Cooke at the New England Conservatory of Music. He went on to attend the Conservatory as an undergraduate, and was graduated with a B.M. with Highest Honors in Violin in 1961. He obtained his Masters, in Composition, from the Conservatory in 1963.

Hibbard arrived at the University of Iowa in 1964 as a doctoral student in Composition; he received his PhD from the School of Music in 1967. He joined the School of Music faculty, Composition and Theory section, in 1966. He was made a full professor in 1977, and was appointed head of the section in 1987.

During his tenure at UI, the focus of Hibbard's activity - both as a performer and as a composer - was the Center for New Music, UI's professional new music ensemble which Hibbard co-founded (together with Richard Hervig, then head of Composition and Theory) in 1966. The Center was created through joint funding from UI and a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and was the first program west of the Mississippi devoted to the performance of new music. Hibbard served as the Center's Music Director from 1966 until 1988. Hibbard summed up the mission of the Center by saying, "We exist to serve composition through performance. It's that simple." During Hibbard's tenure at the Center, its members performed more than 200 concerts, made numerous tours of Iowa and the Midwest, and attended national music festivals. The Center attained a national reputation, and in 1986 won the Commendation of Excellence from Broadcast Music, Inc. (only the second ensemble to win the award). The American Composers Alliance awarded the Center its Laurel Leaf Award "in memoriam William Hibbard" in 1990.

Hibbard also served as the Director of UI's Center for New Performing Arts, an interdisciplinary arts project funded, like the CNM, jointly by UI and the Rockefeller Foundation. He served in this position from 1969-1976.

As a performer, Hibbard was Principal Violist of the Quad City Symphony (James Dixon, Music Director) from 1984-1988. He was also the founding Director of the Iowa City Community String Orchestra, which he directed from 1980-1986. As a composer, he wrote more than 40 different works, for orchestra, for chamber/ensemble, for solo instruments, and for voice. His awards and honors were numerous, including the G.W. Chadwick Medal from the New England Conservatory of Music (1961), the UI Philip Greeley Clapp Award (1967), the American Film Institute Prize for Girl On A Landscape (1968), and the New England Conservatory's Distinguished Alumnus Award (1988). Hibbard's 1974 composition Menage for Soprano, Trumpet and Violin was selected as one of five American works to be submitted for the 1977 International Society of Contemporary Music Festival in Bonn, Germany.

William Hibbard died of AIDS in San Francisco, California, at the age of 49 on April 5, 1989.


27.00 boxes

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Method of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Carey Bostian in 2009. A small additional accession was processed in August 2011.

Related Materials

Records of the Center for New Performing Arts, 1970-1978. (RG06.0024.004)

Records of the School of Music, 1907-; bulk 1940-1975. (RG06.0024.001)

In Progress
Jeremy Brett, May 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242