Friday, February 19, 2010

Significant Gift to the Libraries Supports Classical Guitarists

Ball State students studying classical guitar now have greatly expanded access to repertoire due to a generous gift by Dr. Peter A. McAllister.

Dr. McAllister, formerly Director of the School of Music in the College of Fine Arts, was a virtuoso guitarist before he moved into music education and administration. He gave concerts in both the U.S. and Europe, always to high acclaim, and premiered over 30 classical guitar compositions. He recorded professionally on Carleton Records and with Donald Wilson as a duo-guitarist on the Fanfare label.

The gift is Dr. McAllister’s private library of guitar music. Numbering nearly 400 items, it is mainly pieces for guitar solo, with some guitar duets and a sprinkling of technical exercises. The collection contains the works of the acknowledged Spanish and Italian masters of the guitar and also composers from all over Europe and the western hemisphere – a virtual who’s who of guitar composers. The collection is also rich in transcriptions for modern six-string guitar of pieces originally for similar earlier instruments: lute, the five-course baroque guitar, and the Spanish vihuela. Harpsichord music, especially that of J.S. Bach and Domenico Scarlatti, transfers well to guitar, and these types of pieces appear in the collection as well.

Once the gift arrived, the next step was to make it available. All 400 pieces were cataloged, folded into the regular work of two music catalogers. Since the pieces are typically only a few pages long, each was then protected by a slim, rigid binder and labeled. As Dr. McAllister intended, his library has now joined the Libraries’ Music Collection on the lower level of Bracken Library, for use by guitar majors and all interested in classical guitar.

“The legacy of music that Dr. McAllister so wonderfully donated to Ball State is quite extensive,” said Paul Reilly, professor of guitar. “A good deal of the music is material that has gone out-of-print and is therefore difficult to obtain. I will use this gift to the benefit of the Ball State guitar students as soon as possible.”

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