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Peter Pindar Stearns music manuscripts

Identifier: MP-0017-01


This collection consists of music manuscripts created by composer Peter Pindar Stearns (1931-2016), who taught composition at The Mannes School of Music from 1957 to 1989. The manuscripts include both secular and religious works composed during the period from 1948 to 2013 and the collection also contains correspondence related to the publishing of Stearns's compositions and copies of the published works.


  • 1948 - 2013



5.0 Cubic Feet (2 large white boxes and 5 small flat boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection consists primarily of manuscripts of Stearns's scores from the length of his career from the 1950s to the 2000s. These scores reflect his musical development from his early career in New York City up to his residence in Vermont at the end of his life.

Stearns wrote music in a wide variety of genres, including string quartets, sonatas, sonatinas, symphonies, cantatas, and song cycles. These works are both secular and, in his later life, religious and Christian.

The material herein includes early notes on and drafts of scores; manuscript versions with holograph corrections; and the published versions.

Finally, this collection contains a small amount of correspondence related to publishing as well as a scrapbook of press clippings and ephemera, including programs of performances.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Biographical Note

Peter Pindar Stearns was a composer of sacred music who produced over 300 compositions that include seven symphonies, six string quartets, and many other orchestral and chamber works, as well as numerous organ and choral pieces. He taught in the Composition Department at Mannes College of Music from 1957 to 1989.

Pindar Stearns was born in New York City on June 7, 1931 to opera conductor, composer, and teacher Theodore Pease Stearns and the lyric soprano Marguerite Lamar. He grew up in Los Angeles, where he began to study music composition and theory with Leonard Stein. He later studied under Bohuslav Martinu, Felix Salzer and Julia Fox at Mannes, where he graduated in 1952. He returned, briefly, to Los Angeles after graduation to work in Hollywood, composing film scores, and to study under Miklos Rozsa.

In 1954, Stearns moved back to New York, where he began to compose in earnest. In 1957, he joined the Mannes faculty. Over the next 30 years, he developed the composition curriculum and chaired the composition department. He taught courses in composition, orchestration, theory, ear training, and also graduate seminars in music history. At various times he also served as director of Mannes Prep, and taught courses at Yale University and the Wykeham Rise School in Connecticut.

Stearns also worked as an organist and choral director for various churches, an editorial assistant at Carl Fischer Inc., and director of publications for Coburn Press Music Publishers, and an organ builder under Charles B. Fisk and Robert Noehren.

Throughout his career, Stearns kept a studio in Vermont, and later in life resided in Stowe, Vermont. He was, throughout his life, active in the Episcopal Church and in the Quaker community, and a volunteer in 12-step recovery programs.

Stearns's family includes his wife, Marcia Bush Stearns, a composer, singer, and music publisher; children Gloria Stearns-Bruner, a violinist/music therapist; Ethelyn Friend, a theater artist/voice teacher; and Thomas MacKenna Lamar Stearns, an organic seed farmer.

Stearns passed away on October 15, 2016, at the age of 85.


"Peter Pindar Stearns." American Composers Alliance. Accessed Oct. 9, 2017.

"Peter Pindar Stearns." Selah Publishing Co. 2017.

"Peter Pindar Stearns." Stowe Reporter. Nov. 3, 2017.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged in three series: 1. General, 1949-2012 2. Compilations and unnumbered compositions, 1948-2007 3. Compositions, 1949-2013

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the family of Peter Pindar Stearns in 2017.

Related Materials

The New School Archives contains several other collections pertinent for researchers interested in the history of Mannes during Stearns's time on the faculty. These collections include: Mannes School of Music course catalogs (MM.05.01.01), Mannes clippings collection (MA.03.02.01), and Mannes School of Music photograph collection (MA.0.01.01).

Additionally, The New School Library holds Stearns's published work.

Guide to the Peter Pindar Stearns music manuscripts
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
November 16, 2017
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