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Walter Summer papers

 Collection
Identifier: PIMS-0122

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Walter Summer papers, 1943-2005, contain music manuscripts, poetry and prose, and computer-designed illustrations by Summer, many under the pen name d'Eté. The collection also contains an autobiographical sketch and correspondence between Summer and the Peabody Institute in the 1990s about his funding the Augenmusik exhibition program and the Prix d'Eté computer music composition prize. The bulk of the music manuscripts are songs for voice and piano, orchestral works, or chamber music.

Dates

  • Creation: 1940 - 2005

Creator

Language of Materials

The bulk of the materials are in English. A few poems and texts set to music are in Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for use at the Arthur Friedheim Library Archives of the Peabody Institute. Contact peabodyarchives@lists.jhu.edu for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or perform materials in this collection must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library.

Biographical / Historical

Walter Carl Summer (1923-2015) was a composer, writer, artist, and art exhibitor. He was born March 16, 1923, in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. In 1940, he was awarded a three-year scholarship to attend the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied piano with Austin Conradi. In 1942, he received a scholarship to study with Clara Ascherfeld. Summer left Peabody in 1943 to enter the Army Air Corps. He gave piano recitals in Chicago during basic training and at Scott Field.

In 1946, Summer returned to Peabody and Johns Hopkins University. He graduated in 1947 with a B.S. from Johns Hopkins and a B.M. and certificate in Harmony from Peabody, where he won the Harold Randolph Prize. After living briefly in San Francisco, he entered the University of Maryland, where he studied Philosophy of Art, Contemporary English Literature, and advanced German, French, and Spanish literature.

Following another two-year stint in the air force as a radar navigator during the Korean War, he earned a Master of Music degree in composition, with a minor in Spanish literature, from Catholic University in 1955. He then moved to Manhattan and started an art studio. In 1970, he was appointed director of the Craft Student League, where he had worked since 1965. In this position, he organized and oversaw the centennial exhibition of the YWCA of the city of New York. He resigned from this position in 1974, and relocated to College Park. From 1977 until his retirement in 1987 he was a program analyst at the University of Maryland.

Summer wrote music, poetry, and prose throughout his adult life, often under the pen name Walter Summer d'Eté ("été" being the French word for "summer"). His works were never published. In the 1990s he created computer-generated visual art and prepared computer-engraved scores of his earlier compositions.

In 1994 Summer established the Prix d’Eté, an annual award at the Peabody Conservatory for computer music composition. He also established the collaborative Augenmusik exhibition project involving the Maryland Institute and College of Art (MICA) and the Peabody Archives. Walter Summer died on October 30, 2015, in Adelphi, Maryland.

Extent

1.39 Cubic Feet (4 boxes)

Abstract

Walter Summer (1923-2015) was a composer, writer, artist, and art exhibitor. He graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor of Science from Johns Hopkins and a Bachelor of Music and certificate in Harmony from the Peabody Conservatory. Summer wrote music, poetry, and prose throughout his adult life, often under the pen name Walter Summer d'Eté. His works were never published. In the 1990s he created computer-generated visual art and prepared computer-engraved scores of his earlier compositions. The Walter Summer papers, 1943-2005, contain music manuscripts, poetry and prose, and computer-designed illustrations by Summer. The collection also contains an autobiographical sketch and correspondence between Summer and the Peabody Institute in the 1990s about his funding the Augenmusik exhibition program and the Prix d'Eté computer music composition prize.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Walter Summer in 1994-1995 and of Mark Summer, Walter's son, in 2021.

Processing Information

Materials recieved in 1994 processed by Elizabeth Schaaf in the 1990s and by Lauren Anderson in 2016. Scores acquired in 2021 processed by Matt Testa in 2024. Some rearrangement and additional physical processing of previously accessioned material was completed during 2024 processing.

Source

Title
Guide to the Walter Summer papers
Author
Matt Testa
Date
2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Contact:
Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA