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Lynn Steele papers

 Collection 0015-SCPA
Catherine Lynn Steele was an active translator, instrumentalist, singer, and composer. She began composing at the age of nine and had her first composition, Conglomera, premiered by her Junior High School Orchestra in Hingham, MA in 1964. She received a degree in Spanish from Smith College in 1973, and later studied to be a translator at the Monterey Institute. In 1982, Steele received her Master's degree from American University, where she composed a full length opera, Dominique, and went on to receive a Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 1993. An active member of the American Women Composers of Massachusetts, she served as the organization's vice-president in 1993 and then as president from 1993 to 1996. After receiving her doctorate, Steele's interests turned more towards singing than composing although her works were still performed, both by herself and by others. One of her main interests was in Scandinavian composers and art song, which she traveled to Sweden to study in the summer of 1999. She had been diagnosed with cancer, yet remained a vibrant and active personality, giving concerts and remaining active as a musician until her death on December 10, 2002. The collection consists of clippings, correspondence, biographical materials, scores and sketches, recordings, writings, programs, and photographs related to Steele's career.

Dates

  • 1957-2003
  • Majority of material found within 1970-2003

Use and Access to Collection

The collection is open for research use.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment: http://www.lib.umd.edu/scpa/contact

Extent

36.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Lynn Steele papers cover the period from 1957 to 2003; the bulk of the materials date from 1970 to 2003. The collection consists of clippings, correspondence, biographical materials, scores and sketches, recordings, writings, programs, and photographs related to Steele's career as an instrumentalist, singer, and composer.

Biography

Catherine Lynn Steele was born in Beaumont, Texas on May 27, 1951. Her family moved to Massachusetts while she was still young, and she lived along the eastern seaboard for most of her life. At around the age of 9, she began composing, finding it, as she once said "more fun than practicing the piano". Her first work to be performed was Conglomera, premiered by her Junior High School Orchestra in Hingham, MA in 1964. Her juvenilia from around this time includes numerous songs from ambitious and elaborately planned musical theatre projects some of which even include maps and drawings of the sets required.

She attended Smith College from 1969 to 1973 and majored in Spanish, but continued to pursue music, taking composition lessons from Alvin Etler, as well as voice lessons. After graduating she spent a year teaching elementary school music in Ipswich, Massachusetts and another abroad at the Monterey Institute, studying to be a translator - a skill which she applied to song texts as well as other works in German, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages. In 1977 she began working at the American University in Washington, DC, and taking classes, part time as a composition major, studying with Jerzy Sapiyevski. She received her masters degree in 1982, having completed a full length opera, Dominique, which was performed on April 23. She remained in Washington promoting her music and singing in concerts while making a living at various secretarial jobs. It was during this time in 1983 that she published her first piece Carrillon de Nuit, which was performed by the Memorial Ringers of which she was also a member.

Steele played a number of instruments, and was active in the early music ensembles at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she began her doctoral work in 1986. She worked a number of years as a teaching assistant there while studying with Jonathan Kramer and Allan Sapp. In 1989 she moved to the Boston area and returned to office work, this time at the Sloan School of Management at MIT; she continued her interest in early music at the Longy School of Music. She was active in the American Women Composers of Massachusetts, even serving as that organization's vice-president in 1993 and then as president in from 1993 to 1996. After receiving her doctoral degree, in 1993, however, her interests slowly turned more towards singing than composing although her works were still performed - both by herself and by others. One of her main interests was in Scandinavian composers and art song, which she traveled to Sweden to study in the summer of 1999. She had been diagnosed with cancer, yet remained a vibrant and active personality, giving concerts and remaining active as a musician until her death on December 10, 2002.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into eight series.
  1. Series 1: Biographical Materials
  2. Series 2: Correspondence
  3. Series 3: Writings
  4. Series 4: Scores and Sketches
  5. Series 5: Programs
  6. Series 6: Photographs
  7. Series 7: Diplomas
  8. Series 8: Recordings

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Given to the University of Maryland by Leslie Holmes, Pamela Reznick, and Svetlana Sussman between July 2004 and September 2005

Related Material

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.
Title
Lynn Steele papers: Finding Aid
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Ben Levy, Matt Miller, and Kyle Johnson, January 2007
Date
2007-01-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Sponsor
Sponsored by Lynn Steele's sister, Pamela Reznick

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States