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James Niblock papers

Identifier: UA-17.318

Scope and Contents

The James Niblock papers contain compositions written by him from the 1950s until 2012. The "Collection Panorama" contains his "Dialogue and Dulciana" for flute and piano and was published by Gerard Billaudot. Other works are entered under individual titles. Niblock's music covers a broad range of instruments, including strings, piano, organ, horns, winds, choral, and percussion. Many of these pieces are oversized or have oversized copies, and they can be found in boxes 4143-4146.

The collection also holds Niblock's own collections of programs and newspaper articles from music events. The programs span the entire time of his teaching career up until the present. They include his own performances from Lansing, East Lansing, his trips to Argentina and Brazil, and programs from the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.

Also included in the collection are two DVDs and one CD. One DVD is "Ruth", the opera Niblock wrote for the 35th anniverary of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp; the other is "The Verdehr Trio, Composers Series." The CD is titled "The Making of a Medium." Both include Niblock as a featured composer.


  • Creation: 1957 - 2016


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University or holder of copyright.

Biographical Note

James Niblock was born in Scappoose, Oregon, in November 1, 1917. His musical background included violin study under Franck Eichenlaub of Portland, Oregon, Jascha Brodsky of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Josef Gingold. He died January 3, 2018, in East Lansing, MI.

Niblock received his B.A. and B.Ed. from Washington State University in 1942. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1942-1946. He earned his M.A. in violin from Colorado College in 1948 and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1952. Roy Harris was his primary composition teacher.

Niblock began teaching at Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) in 1948. He stayed for 37 years, until his retirement in 1985, teaching theory and composition. During his career, he served as chair of the music department for 15 years. He composed over 150 pieces, more than 70 of which were published. Niblock was also Concertmaster of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, a performer in the Beaumont String Quartet, and a composer, performer, and conductor at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He and his wife Helen (1927-2015), who played violin and viola, were frequent performers in the Lansing area. He was also a frequently-commissioned composer for the Verdehr Trio.


3.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Transferred by the MSU Fine Arts Library.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University unless otherwise noted. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

General Note

Research guide available at

James Niblock Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
D. Sherwood
May 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US