Richard and Betty Bales

Personal Papers
Box 295, 5 boxes, (6 linear feet)

Biographical/Historical Note: Richard Horner Bales was a prominent figure in the Washington area for over fifty years.   A native Alexandrian (1915-1998), he attended Episcopal High School and then went on to study music at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.   Upon graduation from Eastman he went to the Berkshire Music Center to study conducting under the late master conductor, Serge Koussevitzky.   In 1943, Bales became the conductor of the National Gallery Orchestra in Washington, D.C., a position he held until his retirement in 1985.   Bales was also very well known for his compositions of music relating to the American Revolution and the Civil War.   The most well known are "The Confederacy," "The Union," and "The Republic".   The latter has been performed at every presidential inauguration since 1955.   He composed over 35 pieces of work, been a guest conductor for many of the nation's best orchestras, performed for presidents and foreign heads of state and received numerous honors and awards.

Scope and Contents Note: The collection consists of many newsclippings about Bales and his performances, programs and invitations, some correspondence, awards and honors, compositions, copies of articles and lectures he wrote, as well as four scrapbooks, one of which he kept when he was fifteen of the various concerts he attended.

Series Description:   Series I: Performances, 1960s-1993   This series contains many newsclippings, programs, and reviews of the concerts that Bales conducted or attended over the years.   Series II:Biographical Materials, 1930s-1993   This series contains material that relate to Bales' life and career.   Series III: Writing and Lectures, 1960's-1989   This series contains copies of some of the articles and lectures that Bales' wrote about music and his life as a musician.   Series IV: Awards and Honors, 1932-1991   This series contains certificates and newsclippings of the many awards and honors he received over the years.   Series V: Programs and Invitations, 1940-1993   This series contains many programs of concerts that Bale conducted or attended, as well as invitations to awards ceremonies and formal dinners.   Series VI: Correspondence, various dates   This series contains letters and messages to friends and colleagues.   Series VII: Compositions   This series contains the text of two compositions written by Richard Bales, as well as a text from Walt Whitman's "Dirge for Two Veterans," for which Bales wrote a musical composition.   Series VIII: Miscellaneous   This series contains the miscellaneous items found in the collections.   Series IX: Scrapbooks   This series contains four scrapbooks that Bales kept during various times in his life and career.

Source: This collection was donated by Richard and Betty Bales, Oct. 26, 1993

Related Collections: Richard and Betty Bales Photographs Collection

Related Materials: Bales, Richard. American Design (National Gallery Suite, No.3) for Orchestra A. Broude, New York: 1957.   For a copy, please contact the National Gallery of Art. Bales, Richard. [Richard Bales Interview] Library of Congress. Vote for Names: the Peer-Southern 20th century American Songbook. (musical score) Peer-Southern Concert Music, New York: 1988

Related Subjects: Composers--United States; Conductors--United States; Musicians--United States; National Gallery Orchestra

Angie Rickwalt, Summer Intern, 1996

Return to Front Page