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Frank D. Willis papers

Identifier: PIMS-0064

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Scope and Contents

The Frank Willis papers (1967-1989) contain both manuscript and published scores composed or arranged by Willis. Some of Willis’s most notable pieces are present in the collection, including his Symphony No. 1. Series 1 consists of manuscript scores while series 2 contains published scores as well as photographs of Willis, a concert program, recordings, and newspaper clippings. Some scores are of musical works composed by Franz Schubert and arranged by Willis. The recordings are of concerts featuring Willis’s compositions. A cassette contains recordings of Willis’s Schubert Orchestrations and a CD contains recordings of Willis’s Symphony No. 1 and A Mountain State Overture.


  • Creation: 1967-1996


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for use at the Peabody Archives. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or perform materials in this collection must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library.

Biographical / Historical

Frank D. Willis, classical pianist and composer, was considered a child prodigy, performing at Carnegie Hall at the age of 12 and again at 14. Willis won a scholarship to attend the Peabody Conservatory of Music at the age of 16. Willis attended Peabody from 1968 to 1973, studying composition under Louis Cheslock. In 1974, Willis composed the Agamemnon Overture, which took first prize in the National Music Fraternity Competition. Willis’ Symphony No. 1 was performed twice in 1988 by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Barry Tuckwell. Willis became a composer and conductor for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and taught private piano and music theory lessons in Martinsburg, West Virginia. In 1991 he was appointed composer-in-residence to the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. Willis received several commissions to compose pieces for famous pianists such as Martin Berkowski. He also served as choir director and organist for St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and was resident pianist for the Sheraton Martinsburg Inn. Willis died in 1993.


1.79 Cubic Feet (1 large flat box, 1 small flat box, 1 full-size letter box, 1 full-size legal box, 1 map case item)

Language of Materials



Frank Willis was a classical pianist and composer who attended Peabody Conservatory and was a composer and conductor for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. His papers include manuscript and published scores and some contextual material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Processing Information

Processed by Kerri Sheehan in 2017. Inventoried by Isaac Greene.

Guide to the Frank D. Willis papers
Kerri Sheehan
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA