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Inventory of the Charles Shere Collection, 1945-[ongoing]
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Charles Shere Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1945-[ongoing]
    Collection number: ARCHIVES SHERE 1
    Creator: Shere, Charles, 1935-
    Extent: Number of containers: 6 document boxes and 1 oversize flat storage box

    Linear feet: 2.417
    Repository: The Music Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Charles and Lindsey Shere in October 1997.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Music Library.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Charles Shere Collection, ARCHIVES SHERE 1, The Music Library, University of California, Berkeley.


    Shere, Charles (b Berkeley, CA, 20 Aug 1935). Composer. He attended the University of California, Berkeley (BA in English literature, 1960), and then studied composition with Luciano Berio at Mills College, Oakland, and with Robert Erickson at the San Francisco Conservatory and privately, and conducting with Gerhard Samuel. He was music director for the radio station KPFA, Berkeley (1967-74), and later produced music programs for KQED, San Francisco (1967-1974). From 1973 to 1984 he lectured in composition and the history of music at Mills College. Admired as a writer, he was from 1972 music and art critic for the Oakland Tribune and from 1973 to 1978 edited and published Ear, a monthly magazine devoted to avant-garde music. His continuting interest in art led Shere to write and produce television programs on the artists Marcel Duchamp and Georgia O'Keefe, among others; he also lectures frequently on art and has done scholarly research on West Coast painting. Shere has received commisions from the San Francisco Comtemporary Music Players, and the Arch Ensemble, Berkeley, and in 1978 was awarded a composition grant by the NEA.
    Shere's music is rooted in the experimentalism of the 1960's and owes something to Cage and Stockhausen in its technical procedures. But the principal creative model for him is Duchamp, whose perceptual conundrums and whimsical arcana are reflected in many of Shere's scores, especially his "Duchamp opera," The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (1964-; planned premiere 1986). Tongues (1978), and extended essay in glossolalia for chamber ensemble and speaker/singer, typifies his deft blend of wit, lyricism, and complex verbal and musical symbolism.
    [From The New Grove Dictionary of American Music].

    Scope and Content

    The collection is divided into three series: Music Compositions, Sound Recordings, and Miscellany. The Music Composition series is further subdivided into seven subseries: Concertos, Other orchestral works, Stage music, Choral music, Chamber works, Instrumental works, and Songs. These subseries are designated by David Meckler, a student of Shere, who orignally arranged the collection before transferring to the University of California, Berkeley. Although the collection consists mainly of compositions by Shere, other materials such as correspondence, programs, and reviews may be added to the collection later and rearrangement of the Miscellany series may be warranted. The materials date from circa 1954 to the present.