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Eric Stokes papers

Identifier: PA091

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains audio recordings, business records and correspondence, programs, program notes, clippings, composition materials and scores. The majority of materials is split between scores and recordings. Correspondence consists primarily of professional correspondence between Stokes and George Sturm, his agent, and correspondence between commissioning artists and ensembles.


  • Creation: 1957-2001

Language of Materials


Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by researchers in the Andersen Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright is retained by the copyright holder.

Biographical Information

Composer Eric Stokes (1930-1999) was born just outside of Philadelphia in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. Stokes was involved in music from a young age and continued his studies at Lawrence College in Wisconsin, graduating in 1952. He obtained his Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory in 1956 following two years in the Army. Several years later Stokes began his doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota. After completeing his doctoral degree, Stokes' went on to teach at the University of Minnesota for the next 29 years, retiring in 1988.

It was during Eric Stokes' time at the University of Minnesota that he was most prolific as a composer. He composed more than eighty works including operas, chamber music, orchestral, and choral works. Stokes' compositions were premiered by several high-profile music ensembles in Minnesota, such as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera Company, Zeitgeist, and the Dale Warland Singers.

Eric Stokes is the founder of Horspfal Music Concern, his publishing company and main vehicle for distributing his compositions. The name is taken from the name from the first opera Stokes' composed, Horspfal. Stokes' music was eclectic in style, but frequently drew on nature and poetry for inspiration. After the composer's death, the Eric Stokes Fund, "Earth's Best in Tune." was created. Administered by the American Composers Forum in Saint Paul, the Eric Stokes Fund provides grants to emerging artists interested in Stokes' music and/or ecologically-conscious music.


33 Linear Feet (29 boxes)


The collection contains the professional correspondence, programs, program notes, recordings, composition materials and scores of composer Eric Stokes.


The collection is organized into the following five series:

  1. Administrative
  2. Audio/Visual
  3. Compositions
  4. Correspondence
  5. Publications

Physical Location

High Bay


The collection was donated to the Performing Arts Archives by Cynthia Stokes. Accruals have occured on an annual basis since the collection was first established in 2009.

Related Material

A list of compositions by Eric Stokes, including instrumentation and premiere information, can be found on the Horspfal Music Concern website.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Kathryn Hujda, 2015, with generous support from Creative Heritage Initiative donors.

Eric Stokes papers PA091
Kathryn Hujda
February 2105
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Performing Arts Archives Collecting Area