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Music Archives at the National Library of Canada

MUS 110

Thumbnail[56K] First page of String Quartet No. 3 by Barbara Pentland. (by permission of Joan Payne).

Barbara Pentland fonds.  - 1913-1992.  - 3.74 m of textual records.  - 315 photographs.  - 93 audio tape reels.  23 audio discs. 

Biographical sketch
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Barbara Pentland became interested at a very early age in composition, even though she received little encouragement.  In 1929, despite the obstacles, she left her Montréal boarding school for Paris, where she received her first courses in composition with Cécile Gauthiez.  When she returned to Winnipeg in 1930, she concentrated more on performance (piano) than on composition, although she continued her study of the latter by correspondence with Cécile Gauthiez for 18 months.  In 1936, she studied composition at the Juilliard Graduate School in New York and, during the summers of 1941 and 1942, at the Berkshire Music Center (Massachusetts) with composer Aaron Copland.  Neoclassical in style until the mid-1950s, her works subsequently became serialist (under the influence of Schoenberg and Webern).  For several years, Barbara Pentland worked at the University of Manitoba as an examiner and taught composition and other subjects at the Toronto Conservatory of Music and the University of British Columbia.  In 1977 she received the Diplôme d'honneur from the Canadian Conference of the Arts.  Barbara Pentland is also an associate of the Canadian Music Centre. 

Scope and content
The fonds consists of records pertaining to the musical activities of Barbara Pentland and to the abundance of her musical production from her first compositions dating back to the early 1920s up until the late 1980s.  It includes:  personal diaries; correspondence with George Herbert Clarke and her composition teacher Cécile Gauthiez, among others; diplomas; lecture notes; autograph manuscripts of works by Pentland, including arrangements, compositions as a child, compositions from the period of studies in Paris, New York and Berkshire Music Center; compositions of other composers, dedicated to Pentland; writings; scrapbooks containing correspondence, press clippings and programmes; press clippings; photographs of Barbara Pentland, members of her family, and personalities from the music world; recordings of interviews and Pentland works by various interpreters including Angela Hewitt, Robert Aitken, Joseph Macerollo and Arthur Polson. 

Immediate source of acquisition:  acquired from Barbara Pentland between 1979 and 1993. 

Restrictions:  none. 

Finding aids:  inventory; provisional description. 

Accruals:  further accessions expected. 

Proactive Disclosure