Special Collections of the ODU Libraries

William Stoney Papers, 1958-1989 | Music Special Collections

By Jessica Mirasol in November 2009.

Collection Overview

Title: William Stoney Papers, 1958-1989

ID: 00.1/DCR MG 11

Primary Creator: Stoney, William (1920-2014)

Extent: 5.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement: This collection has been arranged into the following series: Series I: Personal Performance Materials; Series II: Personal Interest/Reference Materials; Series III: Teaching Materials and University Affiliations; Series IV: Sketches and Working File; and Series V: Original Compositions.

Date Acquired: 10/00/1999. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Acoustic guitar, Baritone (Musical instrument), Flute, Hampton Roads Region (Va.), Marimba, Music--United States--20th century, Old Dominion University, Organ (Musical Instrument), Saxophone, Stoney, William, 1920-, String quartet, Trombone, Trumpet, Viola, Violin, Violoncello, Vocal Music--20th century, Wind quintets (Bassoon, Clarinet, Flute, Horn, Oboe) - - 20th century

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The bulk of the materials in the William Stoney Papers represent his work as an active composer. The materials include working sketches and sketchbooks and original compositions in various points of the publishing process. Other materials included in the collection relate to Stoney’s teaching and performance activities. Additional scope and content notes providing further detail can be found at the series level.

Biographical Note

William Shannon Stoney was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1920 and was raised in Anniston, Alabama. He was the son of James Moss Stoney and Mary Clifton (Roberts) Stoney. Mary died when her son, William, was a young boy. His father, an Episcopal bishop, subsequently married Nora Louisa Green who helped raise William and his two brothers. When he was about eight years old Nora Stoney arranged for her cousin, Irma Green, to give William piano lessons. He later won a piano scholarship to the Birmingham Conservatory of Music in Anniston and continued to take private piano lessons, although his parents stopped the private lessons after two years because they thought he was too involved with music. However, he continued to practice on his own and played at his father's church.

In 1942 Stoney obtained a bachelor's degree in piano from the Birmingham Conservatory of Music. That same year he joined the Air Force and served in Italy and Japan. In 1948 he graduated from Yale with a Bachelor of Music in Piano. In 1952, a week after he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, where he studied with Philip Greeley Clapp, Stoney was notified that he had fulfilled the requirements for a Master's Degree in Music from Harvard. He studied with Randall Thompson at Harvard. Major influences on his music include Bach, Ravel, Debussy, Poulenc, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Schoenberg, and the Japanese pentatonic scale.

From 1952 through 1954 he taught music theory and piano at two colleges in Minnesota. In 1955 he taught for a year in Naples, Italy followed by a year in Hounslow, England. From 1957 to 1962 he was a member of the faculty at Central Missouri State College where, in addition to music theory and piano, he taught organ and even designed a pipe organ. He was hired at Virginia's Hampton University as department chair, choir director and professor of music theory and composition in 1963. He taught an introduction to music, piano, harmony, counterpoint, form and analysis, history, and composition there until he retired in 1985. He was a founding member and the first president of the Tidewater Composers' Guild, an organization concerned with fostering the composition, publication, and performance of new music among local composers. William Stoney died on December 28, 2014.

Subject/Index Terms

Acoustic guitar
Baritone (Musical instrument)
Hampton Roads Region (Va.)
Music--United States--20th century
Old Dominion University
Organ (Musical Instrument)
Stoney, William, 1920-
String quartet
Vocal Music--20th century
Wind quintets (Bassoon, Clarinet, Flute, Horn, Oboe) - - 20th century

Administrative Information

Repository: Music Special Collections

Accruals: An additional gift was made by Ann Stoney in 2009.

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restrictions.

Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Acquisition Source: William Stoney

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], William Stoney Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Old Dominion University Libraries.

Processing Information: The addition to this collection was processed by Jessica Mirasol in October 2009.

Finding Aid Revision History: October 28, 2009 Major revisions were made to the existing finding aid in order to incorporate a new addition of materials.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Personal Performance Materials, undated],
[Series II: Personal Interest/ Reference Materials, 1983-1986, undated],
[Series III: Teaching Materials and University Affiliations, undated],
[Series IV: Sketches and Working Files, 1984, undated],
[Series V: Original Compositions, 1958-1989, undated],

Series II: Personal Interest/ Reference Materials, 1983-1986, undated
This series contains information relating to William Stoney’s personal interests including information about the Tidewater Composers Guild, a personal journal, and a thesis written by Cathie Gaherty about his life and work. There are also materials concerning publicity and reviews throughout the later part of Stoney’s career.
UnitID: II.
Box 1
Folder 12: Gaherty, Cathie The Life and Work of William Shannon Stoney: Distinguished Hampton Roads Composer, undated
Folder 13: Journal, undated
Folder 14: Programs, Program Notes, Etc., undated
Folder 15: Reference Articles, undated
Folder 16: Reviews, Publicity and Newspaper Articles, 1983-1986
Folder 17: Tidewater Composers Guild, undated

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Personal Performance Materials, undated],
[Series II: Personal Interest/ Reference Materials, 1983-1986, undated],
[Series III: Teaching Materials and University Affiliations, undated],
[Series IV: Sketches and Working Files, 1984, undated],
[Series V: Original Compositions, 1958-1989, undated],

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