Mary Jeanne van Appledorn:
An Inventory of Her Collection, 1956-1958, at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library
Mary Jeanne van Appledorn was born October 2, 1927 in Holland, Michigan, to John and Elizabeth van Appledorn. Neither of her parents were professional musicians; her father was, however, organist of the Ninth Street Christian Reformed Church and active in music circles in Holland. As a child, van Appledorn studied piano, as did her older sister Ruth. Following the death of her father in 1944, she and her mother moved to Topeka, Kansas (where her sister was a music teacher at Alma College) for van Appledorn's senior year of high school. Van Appledorn graduated from Topeka High School in 1945 as valedictorian.
Van Appledorn studied both piano and theory at the University of Rochester's prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Van Appledorn earned the George Eastman Honorary Scholarship each year, and in 1948 received her Bachelor of Music with Distinction (piano); she studied under Cecile Straub Genhart. Van Appledorn received her Master of Music Degree (theory) from the Eastman School of Music in 1950; from 1948 she was a Teaching Fellow of the Eastman School of Music. In the fall of 1950 Van Appledorn accepted a position at Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University). She received her Ph.D. (music) from the Eastman School of Music in 1966, and was awarded a Graduate Fellowship from 1961-1962. She was also awarded the Delta Kappa Gamma International Scholarship from 1959-1960; one of three awards granted to outstanding women for furthering and completing the doctorate degree. Dr. van Appledorn's dissertation for this degree is titled A Stylistic Study of Claude Debussy's Opera Pelleas et Melisande (completed in 1965).
During her studies at Eastman, Dr. van Appledorn received training in composition from renowned composers Bernard Rogers and Alan Hovhaness.
In 1982 Dr. van Appledorn was one of nine faculty members of Texas Tech University to receive a faculty development leave, during which she studied computer-synthesized sound techniques at the Studio for Experimental Music, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Barry Vercoe, professor.
As an educator, Dr. van Appledorn taught at Texas Tech University from 1950-2008. Dr. van Appledorn taught a wide range of courses during this time, from undergraduate music theory to graduate composition courses. Dr. van Appledorn served as chairman of the Division of Music Literature and Theory (1950-1968) in the school of music, and played an important role in the development of the curriculum of the undergraduate and graduate music degrees, alongside Chairman of the School of Music, Gene Hemmle.
Dr. van Appledorn also served as chairman of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Music. She founded and served as chairman of the annual Symposium of Contemporary Music at Texas Tech (1951-1981), and obtained the commission of many new works by renowned composers such as Dr. Howard Hanson (Streams in the Desert, 1969). In 1989 she was named a Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Texas Tech University.
As a composer, van Appledorn has had a very successful career. She composed music in many genres, both instrumental and vocal. She received her first awards for composition (Mu Phi Epsilon National Composition Contests) for Set of Five (1951) for piano and Contrasts for Piano (1953). Other honors include the Premier Prix, Dijon, awards from the Texas Composers Guild and ASCAP, and other commissions from the Music Teachers National Association and National Intercollegiate Bands. Many of Dr. van Appledorn's compositions have been published by Carl Fischer, Oxford University Press, and E.C. Schirmer Music Company, among others. Numerous recordings of her compositions have been made by world-renowned musicians and ensembles, and her music has been performed in festivals and concerts both nationally and internationally.
Dr. van Appledorn has been included in a number of published biographies, not limited to: International Who's Who in Music, 10th, 11th and 12th editions, The World Who's Who of Women, ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, 4th edition, Bakers Biographical Dictionary, Scribner Music Library Dictionary of Composers, and the Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
The collection consists of materials found in the School of Music that relate to late Dr. Mary Jeanne van Appledorn's career. Included are correspondence, her Horn Professor application, recital programs, compositions, and concert recordings.
Open for research
Mary Jeanne van Appledorn Collection, 1956-2016, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
Collection accession #(s):
Casey Edwards, 2016