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Alan Carter and the Vermont State Orchestra Papers

Identifier: mss-996

Scope and Content

The collection consists almost entirely of Vermont State Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music Center/Composers' Conference papers, correspondence, and related materials. In addition are a few personal papers of Mr. Carter's, which include autobiographical material, and also a limited selection of miscellaneous papers concerning other organizations he was involved with.

All photographs and printed materials--programs and newspaper and magazine clippings-- have been placed towards the end of the collection. Cartons nine through fifteen contain music scores and manuscripts, most of which are filed alphabetically by composer, but which are not individually listed on the inventory. Miscellaneous tape recordings and two copies of the VSO's record album can be found in the last two cartons.

By date, the papers span the period 1935 to 1975. The collection consists of sixteen cartons.


  • 1933-1975


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights:

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.


Destined to become one of Vermont's foremost musicians, Alan Carter was born in Greenwich, Connecticut on July 29, 1904. After attending Mannes Music School in New York City, Mr. Carter went abroad. From 1924 to 1928 he studied music in Cologne, Munich, and Paris, where he made his debut in a violin recital. Returning to New York City in 1929, Mr. Carter formed the Cremona String Quartet, in which he played viola.

Alan Carter's music career in Vermont spanned some forty years. In 1934 he founded the Vermont State Symphony Orchestra, which was later to become the nation's first official state symphony with a legislative appropriation. That same year he married Barbara Kent, daughter of noted artist Rockwell Kent. During World War II, Carter served as captain in the U.S. Army and was in charge of an Army orchestra. Having joined the Middlebury College faculty as a music instructor in 1939, he rose to become full professor and chairman of the music department in 1959, a position he held until retirement ten years later. While there, he founded and presided over the Middlebury College Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center, Inc., both of which later transferred to Bennington College and finally, Johnson State College. Despite these duties, Mr. Carter found time to guest-conduct for many orchestras, including the Hartford (Conn.) Symphony and the Boston Pops.

One of Mr. Carter's highest achievements was the receipt in 1968 of the Alice M. Ditson Award presented by Columbia University to a conductor "for outstanding service to the performance of contemporary music." In 1972, he received the Vermont Governor's Award for Excellence of the Arts, of which Mr. Carter was a trustee for seven years and president in 1966-67. He received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the University of Vermont in 1955. On September 22, 1975, Mr. Carter died.


16 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection consists of Vermont State Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music Center/Composers' Conference papers, and some personal papers of Carter. The VSO materials include photographs, programs, newspaper clippings, tape recordings and organizational material. Carter's personal papers include autobiographical material and information about the other organizations he was involved in.

Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact for access.

Guide to the Alan Carter and the Vermont State Orchestra Collection
Processor: Allen Jelich.
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)