The Catholic University of America

Robert L. Parker Collection

Robert L. Parker, a noted scholar of Mexican music, has donated his collection of research materials to the University’s School of Music’s Latin American Center for Graduate Studies and to the music library.

Parker, a musicologist and a former associate dean of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, is well known for his sustained research and publication on the life and works of Mexican composers Carlos Chávez and Silvestre Revueltas, two of the most important nationalist composers from the flourishing musical scene in Mexico in the early and mid 20th century. He has revolutionized the way we think about and hear Chávez’s music; his biography, Carlos Chávez: Mexico’s Modern Day Orpheus remains the only English-language account of the composer’s life; that volume, paired with Parker’s Carlos Chávez: A Guide to Research, are essential volumes for anyone contemplating research about Chávez. In addition, he has published articles in many prestigious journals. It is because of Parker that we better understand the nature of Chávez’s working relationships with such noted other composers.
In addition to research and personal papers, the collection contains 83 books, 78, journals, 96 CDs, 15 LPs, and photographs. This extensive collection complements and expands our existing holdings related to Latin American music. Many of the recordings are rare and difficult to find in the U.S., but students and researchers will be able to search for them through the online library catalogue and listen to them in our library. Perhaps most valuable are the research notes, programs, and other ephemera that we will now hold in our Latin American Music Center. The material held in Parker’s collection complements that found in collections at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library.
CUA is honored that Robert Parker chose us as a home for his materials. He spoke eloquently about the fine scholars from the School of Music he has known, including Ruth Steiner in musicology and the esteemed Robert Stevenson, perhaps the world’s leading authority of Latin American music, who served as an adjunct professor in Latin American music. Parker felt sure that our long tradition at CUA of teaching and research in Latin American music made this the right place for his materials.
For optimum use and care, the collection has been divided among three locations. Published library-quality items (books, scores, journals, and CDs) are housed in the music library collection with bookplates and a designation in the online record as “Dr. Robert L. Parker Collection,” findable through a keyword search. Archival material is housed in the Latin American Center for Graduate Studies in Music and the CUA Archives, with finding aids available electronically. For more information about the collection, please contact Christina Taylor Gibson taylorc@cua.edu
from News Philanthrophy (2012)