Marimba Masters Library

Donated by Gordon Peters

Edited parts for Musser’s arrangement of Antonin Dvorak’s “Largo” from “New World Symphony,” Op. 95.

Founded in 1954 by Gordon Peters, the Marimba Masters was a professional marimba ensemble comprised of Peters and fellow students at the Eastman School of Music. During the five years of its existence the ensemble performed approximately 50 concerts, recorded an album, and gained national attention by appearing on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts and The Ed Sullivan Show. As one of the first established marimba ensembles, the music written and arranged for this ensemble formed a solid foundation for the continued evolution of the marimba ensemble as an entity, as well as for the types of music performed by such ensembles in both collegiate curriculums and public performances.

Peters, a student of Clair Musser, chose Musser’s arrangements published by Forster Music as the initial nucleus of his collection. These pieces were then edited or rearranged and the collection expanded with the addition of original compositions and arrangements by Peters, various members of the Marimba Masters, and other prominent musicians. Over 60 of the compositions became known as the “Marimba Ensembles from the Library of Gordon Peters,” which were first distributed by Franks Drum Shop in Chicago and then by Steve Weiss Music. The 132-piece collection of parts and scores, donated to the PAS Library in 2004, consists of original manuscript arrangements and the highly-edited versions of the Musser collection, all of which are scored for seven players (five marimbas, xylophone, and string bass).

For more information on the Marimba Masters, see “The Marimba Masters” by Jeff Calissi (Dissertation, UNC-Greensboro, 2004), available in the PAS Online Research Journal at www.pas.org.