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Francis J. Pyle Archive

The Francis J. Pyle Music Archive is located in Cowles Library.  It was established to house original manuscripts of Dr. Pyle's compositions, printed copies of his published works, and recordings of many of his pieces.  In addition, the Archive contains Dr. Pyle's papers, photographs, awards, and other memorabilia.

The Archive is not regularly staffed, but it is available by appointment for researchers.  Inquires may be directed to Bruce Carr, Archivist, at 515-229-1851.  Email queries may be sent to  The mailing address for the Archive is:

Drake University-Department of Music
Francis J. Pyle Music Archive
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA  50311



Francis J. Pyle, a native of South bend, Indiana, cast a tremendous influence upon the musical life of Iowa and the nation throughout his creative lifetime.  Educated at Oberlin College, the University of Washington, and the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, he served as Chairman of Theory and Musicology in the Music Department of the College of Fine Arts, Drake University, from 1937 to his retirement in 1972.  During those years countless students benefited from his dedicated teaching, while experiencing his unique, energetic personality.  After his retirement from Drake University, he continued to share his vast knowledge with music students at Pasadena Junior College in Texas and at Central College in Pella, Iowa, in addition to maintaining his active composing career and active roles in the Music Educators National Conference, Music Teachers National Association, Iowa Music Teachers Association, and the Theory Teachers Association.

His numerous honors included the National Broadcasting Award in 1949 for Of Valleys and Cragged Peaks, a Poem for Symphonic Band, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Music Educators Association in 1970.  Commissions for Pyle compositions were forthcoming throughout his life from across the nation, including those from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Woodwinds of Houston and the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors.

Always seeking new experiences, Dr. Pyle accepted commissions for accordion solos and orchestras, and at the time of his death at the end of 1983, he was writing his first work for guitar (a duo for flute and guitar).  Francis J. Pyle's compositions have been performed extensively, not only in the western world, but also in Australia, mainland China and Japan, as well.

Francis J. Pyle Archive Catalog

For complete performances and compositions of these and many other works, please contact Bruce Carr, Archivist.

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