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Helen Walker-Hill Collection

Identifier: CoU-AMRC-92

Scope and Content

Music compositions by black women, collected by Helen Walker-Hill, author, pianist and musicologist; Ph.D., University of Colorado; assistant adjunct piano faculty, University of Colorado [1983-1990]; including reproductions of music scores and recordings. Documented music by black women throughout the twentieth century, and includes an oral interview with Margaret Bonds as well as a lecture by Dr. Walker-Hill.


  • Creation: ca. 1950-1990


Perusal on site unrestricted. Removal from the American Music Research Center not allowed for any purpose. Photocopy of music by deceased composers: 1 cc for research/study purposes. Living composers with addresses on file: request cc from composer

Publication Rights

Requests for publication should be directed to the copyright holders.

Biography of Helen Walker-Hill

The Helen Walker-Hill Collection is composed of musical compositions by black women composers throughout the United States and England.

This collection was compiled by pianist and musicologist, Dr. Helen Walker-Hill. She holds degrees from the University of Colorado, Smith College, and the École Normale de Musique in Paris, France, where she also studied with Nadia Boulanger. Formerly on the piano faculty of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Dr. Walker-Hill has performed and lectured on the music of the twentieth century, black American composers, and women composers.

Proceeding from a desire to use music of black women composers in her piano performance and teachings, Dr. Walker-Hill has dedicated herself since 1987 to uncovering the material, utilizing secondary sources and numerous archives, conducting interviews with composers, and engaging in voluminous correspondence with individuals and institutions. Her lecture-recital, "Rediscovering Heritage: the Music of Black Women Composers" has been featured on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and "Horizons" programs and was the subject of a United States Information Agency film for foreign distribution.

She is the author of several articles which have appeared in journals such as American Music Teacher and Black Music Research. Her first book was Piano Music by Black Women Composers: A Catalog of Solo and Ensemble Works (Greenwood Press, 1992), which provides a catalog of music composed by black women to date including over 300 piano works and 200 detailed descriptions of works the author was able to obtain and study.

Her second book, Black Women Composers: A Century of Piano Music 1893-1990 (Hildegard Publishing Co., 1992) is an anthology of music by nineteen black women composers. The volume includes an historical overview, short biographies, and pictures of the composers. In 1995, Music by Black Women Composers: A Bibliography of Available Scores was published as a monograph. The CD, "Kaleidoscope: Music By African-American Women" with performances by violinist, Gregory Walker, and pianist, Helen Walker-Hill, was released by Leonarda Records in 1995.


26 linear feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement of the Collection

Arranged by composition and audio recording. Both are organized by the last name of the composer and then the title of the piece itself; cassette tapes and oversize materials are stored separately.

Physical Location

Housed in the American Music Research Center

Custodial History

Obtained by donor from composers and repositories as marked

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Dr. Helen Walker-Hill

The Helen Walker-Hill collection
An inventory of holdings at the American Music Research Center
Cassandra M. Volpe and Jenna Palensky
July 11, 2012, revised 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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