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Dean and Ellen Boal papers

Identifier: CoU-AMRC-8

Scope and Contents

Papers of Dean Boal (b. 1931), arts administrator, music educator, broadcaster, and concert pianist; DMA, University of Colorado at Boulder (1959); Associate Professor and head of piano department, Bradley University (1960-1966); Dean, Peabody Conservatory of Music (1966-1970); President, St. Louis Conservatory and Community Schools for the Arts (1973-1976); Vice President and General Manager for Radio, WETA (1978-1983); Vice President of Cultural Programming and Program Services, National Public Radio (1982-1989); President, Interlochen Center for the Arts (1989-1995); including, correspondence, press and publicity materials, concert programs, photographs and recordings. Of particular interest are papers relating to Boal's role in the development of National Public Radio's popular program "Performance Today," and his research into the history of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Included are Boal's own accounts of his relationships with numerous prominent musicians and administrators, written in 2010. Also includes papers and recordings of Ellen TeSelle Boal (b. 1935), cellist, gambaist, and music educator; B.Mus, University of Colorado at Boulder (1953); M.Mus. and PhD. Washington University, St. Louis.


  • Creation: 1944-2010



Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the American Music Research Center.

Biographies of Dean and Ellen Boal

Dean Boal was born in Longmont, Colorado on October 20, 1931, and graduated from Longmont High School. He received the Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from the University of Colorado College of Music, where his major professor was pianist Storm Bull. From 1953 to 1955, he served in the U. S. Army. While stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, he was a member of the First Armored Division’s unique jeep band, and he directed a weekly television program featuring band members. In 1956 he received the Master of Music degree in piano performance from Indiana University, working with Professor Bela Nagy. He returned to Colorado to enter the new Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of Colorado College of Music, and in 1959 received the first Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano literature and performance to be awarded by the university.

He taught piano at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska, and at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. In 1966 he was appointed pianist and dean of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and in 1970 he became Professor of Piano and Chairman of Music at the State University College, Fredonia, New York. In 1973 he was selected as the founding president of the Saint Louis Conservatory and Schools for the Arts in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was also a teacher of piano.

From 1976 to 1978 he was director of public radio station KWMU in St Louis, and he was Vice President and General Manager of radio station WETA-FM in Washington, D.C., from 1978 to 1983. In 1983 he was appointed Vice President and Director of Arts and Performance Programs at National Public Radio in Washington. He created the popular daily NPR music magazine program Performance Today, and was responsible for contracting Tom and Ray Magliozzi for NPR’s Car Talk.

From 1989 until his retirement in 1995, he served as President of the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan, His history of the institution, Interlochen: A Home for the Arts, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 1998.

After retirement, he and his wife, Ellen, retired to Boulder, Colorado, where he served as president of the Board of Directors of the Boulder Philharmonic, was one of the first members of the University of Colorado College of Music Advisory Board, and was the first chair of the Advisory Board of the American Research Center. He served two terms as a member of the CU Artist Series Advisory Board.

In 1987 he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Music in the field of professional music. The College of Music also recognized him for the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2000. In 2011 he received the George Norlin Award for distinguished lifetime achievement in music and a devotion to the betterment of society and his community.

Ellen TeSelle Boal was born July 4, 1935, in Omaha, Nebraska, and grew up in Colorado. She graduated from East Denver High School and entered the University of Colorado College of Music in 1953. She was a member of the second class of Boettcher Scholars, and she graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance, with Special Honors. She received the Master of Music degree in Music History from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Doctorate of Philosophy in Historical Musicology, also from Washington University.

During her career as a music educator, she taught cello, viola da gamba, and music theory at several institutions, including Hastings College (where she also founded the college’s Collegium Musicum), Bradley University (Peoria, Illinois), the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the Saint Louis Conservatory, and Washington University in St. Louis. In 1979 she won Washington University’s Nussbaum Traveling Fellowship, a competitive award for research in Europe.

In 1980 she joined the staff of National Public Radio in Washington, DC, as Development Associate. From 1983 to 1989, Ellen and her husband, Dean, served as Woodrow Wilson Foundation Visiting Fellows, lecturing for one week in each of two liberal arts colleges each year.

Her career as a soloist and chamber musician includes appearances with the New Music Circle of Saint Louis, Early Music Ensemble of Saint Louis, Washington (DC) Bach Consort, Interlochen Chamber Players, and Boulder Bach Festival. She was a founding member of the Washington (DC) Purcell Consort. She was principal and assistant principal cellist of professional orchestras including the Erie (PA) Philharmonic, St. Louis Gateway Festival Orchestra, and Traverse (MI) Symphony Orchestra, and with professionally-staffed ensembles including the St. Louis Philharmonic, St. Louis Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, and Interlochen Festival Orchestra (faculty). She performed in the Boal-Mellott clarinet trio along with Dean.

Ellen was a member of the Board of Directors of the Boulder Bach Festival, and President of the Board of Directors from 1997 to 2002. She was a member of the Class of 1957 50th Reunion committee in 2007. She was appointed to the University of Colorado Artist Series Advisory Board in 2009, and was Chair of the Macky Auditorium Centennial Committee in 2009-2010. She served as Interim Director of the Boulder Arts Academy in 2000.


8 linear feet

Language of Materials



Arranged chronologically.

Physical Location

Housed in the American Music Research Center

The Dean and Ellen Boal papers, 1944-2010
An inventory of holdings at the American Music Research Center
Conversion Draft
Elizabeth Surles, Eric Harbeson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written inEnglish.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States