Turner, Charles Tennyson, 1808-1879

Alternative names
Birth 1808-07-04
Death 1879-04-25

Biographical notes:

Epithet: ARA

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x000105

Epithet: of Lynn

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x000111

Epithet: MP; of Add MS 35798

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x00010c

Epithet: churchwarden, of Stroud Green

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x000106

Epithet: of Stoke Ferry

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x000113

Epithet: of Add MS 38308

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x00010e

Epithet: Curate of Chesterton

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x000108

Epithet: illustrator

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x00010a

Epithet: of Stowe MS 755

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x0001dd

Epithet: of Add MS 37525

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x00010d

Epithet: Lieutenant; RN

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000438.0x00010b

Charles Turner (1921-2003) was a composer, violinist, and teacher. Born in Baltimore, his family moved to Anderson, Indiana in 1926. Turner demonstrated an interest and talent in music from the age of three, and began studying piano at five and violin at seven. When he was twelve, Turner's family moved to Pontiac, Michigan, where he studied violin at the Detroit Institute of Musical Art. He graduated from Baldwin High School as class valedictorian in 1939, after which he won a scholarship to study for a year at the Curtis Institute of Music with Lea Luboschutz.

After his studies at Curtis, Turner entered the Navy, serving in the Pacific, and returned home at the end of World War II. He immediately moved to New York where he entered the Juilliard School, studying with Louis Persinger, Peter Mennin and Stefan Wolpe.

Gore Vidal introduced Turner to Samuel Barber in 1950, after which Turner joined the circle of musicians, artists, and intellectuals based around Capricorn, Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti's home in Mount Kisco, New York. In 1951, Turner performed Barber's Violin Concerto under the composer's direction while touring Europe. Turner became close to Barber, who encouraged the violinist to take up composition. After studying with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, Turner returned to the United States and studied with Barber for five years (he may have been Barber's only pupil). Barber dedicated his piano piece Souvenirs (1952) to Turner, and delegated Turner to orchestrate one of his final works, Canzonetta for Oboe and Strings (1978), after his death. In the weeks before the composer's death from cancer in 1981, Turner helped take care of Barber.

Turner's first successful piece, Encounter (1954), was premiered in 1955 by the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of George Szell, and was also conducted by Fritz Reiner, Dmitri Mitropolous, and Thomas Schippers. Schippers, a friend from the Capricorn scene, continued to perform Turner's music in later years. Turner's ballet Pastorale (1957), commissioned by Lincoln Kirstein, was created for Francisco Mancion and the New York City Ballet; it was also performed by the Joffrey and several other ballet companies. His other works include Serenade for Icarus (1960) for violin and piano; The Marriage of Orpheus, an orchestral work; The Ballad of Barnaby, a setting of a W.H. Auden play; chamber pieces; and songs for voice and piano.

Turner was a MacDowell Colony fellow in 1958. Throughout his career he taught composition, harmony, counterpoint and orchestration at schools in New York City, Connecticut and Long Island. One of his students, at the United Nations International School, was the saxophonist and composer John Zorn.

Dickinson, Peter. Charles Turner: Interview with Peter Dickinson, New York City, May 13, 1981. In Dickinson, Samuel Barber Remembered: A Centenary Tribute. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2010, pp. 73-79.

Wittke, Paul. "Samuel Barber." G. Schirmer Inc.

From the guide to the Charles Turner papers, 1921-2003, 1933-1992, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

Launched in the fall of 1961 by Peter Countryman and a committee of the Student Christian Movement in New England, the Northern Student Movement (NSM) grew from a loose group of campus organizations raising funds for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and its student-led civil rights initiatives in the South, to student-run tutorial programs in blighted urban areas accessible to college campuses in the Northeast, and to a federation of community action projects in the black ghettos of eight Northern cities. William Strickland succeeded Countryman as executive director in September 1963.

NSM encompassed the tutorial programs and community groups it joined or helped foster. By the fall of 1963, it had a staff of fifty fulltime activists and more than 2,500 student volunteers. Its year-round tutorial programs, with some 4000 tutors and 5000 elementary and high school students, emphasized one-on-one instruction. Its community action projects, including the Boston Action Group, the North End Community Action Project in Hartford, the NSM Freedom Library in Philadelphia, the Harlem Action Group in New York and the Adult Community Movement for Equality in Detroit, organized consumer boycotts against companies that discriminated against blacks; led rent strikes and civil rights demonstrations; organized "Freedom Libraries," leadership training programs for high school dropouts, and African-American history workshops to foster black pride; helped launch several community newspapers, and enlisted local youth to transform vacant lots into neighborhood parks and playgrounds.

From the guide to the Northern Student Movement records, 1961-1966, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)


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  • Rent strikes--United States
  • Civil rights movements--United States
  • School integration--North Carolina--Durham
  • Community organization--New York (State)--New York
  • Community organization--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
  • Student movements--United States--20th century
  • College students--United States--Political activity
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--United States
  • Tutors and tutoring--Michigan--Detroit
  • Black nationalism
  • Community organization--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Tutors and tutoring--Connecticut--Hartford
  • Segregation in education--Law and legislation--United States
  • Tutors and tutoring--New York (State)--New York
  • African American student movements
  • Education--Southern States
  • School improvement programs--United States
  • African American college students--Political activity
  • Community organization--Michigan--Detroit
  • Segregation in education--United States
  • Community organization--Connecticut--Hartford
  • Tutors and tutoring--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
  • Education--United States
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • Tutors and tutoring--Massachusetts--Boston


  • Violinists
  • Composers
  • Teachers


  • Cupar, Fifeshire (as recorded)
  • Gravesend, Kent (as recorded)
  • Reading, Berkshire (as recorded)
  • Liverpool, Lancashire (as recorded)
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  • Melcombe Regis, Dorset (as recorded)
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  • Wickham Market, Suffolk (as recorded)
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  • Liverpool, Lancashire (as recorded)
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  • East Retford, Nottinghamshire (as recorded)
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  • Middleton Cheney, Northamptonshire (as recorded)
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  • Manchester, Lancashire (as recorded)
  • Strawberry Hill, Twickenham (as recorded)
  • Dudley, Worcestershire (as recorded)
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  • Portland, Dorset (as recorded)
  • Minster in Thanet, Kent (as recorded)
  • York, Yorkshire (as recorded)
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  • Rhyl, Flintshire (as recorded)
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  • Birkenhead, Cheshire (as recorded)
  • Plymouth, Devon (as recorded)
  • Birmingham, Warwickshire (as recorded)
  • Manchester, Lancashire (as recorded)
  • Greenwich, Kent (as recorded)
  • Bedford, Bedfordshire (as recorded)
  • Walthamstow, Essex (as recorded)
  • Rothesay, Buteshire (as recorded)
  • Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire (as recorded)
  • Balderston, Lancashire (as recorded)
  • Fowlis-Wester, Perthshire (as recorded)
  • Edinburgh, Scotland (as recorded)
  • Dublin, Ireland (as recorded)
  • Mordon, Surrey (as recorded)
  • Crimond, Aberdeenshire (as recorded)
  • Kenilworth, Warwickshire (as recorded)
  • Newry, Down (as recorded)
  • Birmingham, Warwickshire (as recorded)
  • Dulverton, Somerset (as recorded)
  • East Looe, Cornwall (as recorded)
  • West Indies, America (as recorded)
  • Southill, Cornwall (as recorded)
  • Dublin, Ireland (as recorded)
  • China, Asia (as recorded)
  • Kingoldrum, Forfarshire (as recorded)
  • Ireland, Europe (as recorded)
  • Mohill, Leitrim (as recorded)
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  • Holton St Mary, Suffolk (as recorded)
  • Bonnyrigg, Edinburgh (as recorded)
  • Carmarthenshire, Wales (as recorded)
  • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire (as recorded)
  • Bolsover, Derbyshire (as recorded)
  • Penzance, Cornwall (as recorded)
  • Jersey, Channel Islands (as recorded)
  • Dorset, England (as recorded)
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  • Dumbartonshire, Scotland (as recorded)
  • West Looe, Cornwall (as recorded)
  • Knutsford, Cheshire (as recorded)
  • Basingstoke, Southampton (as recorded)
  • Ardrossan, Ayrshire (as recorded)
  • Bingham, Nottinghamshire (as recorded)
  • Amersham, Buckinghamshire (as recorded)
  • Kincardineshire, Scotland (as recorded)
  • Cumnock, Ayrshire (as recorded)
  • Clitheroe, Lancashire (as recorded)
  • Woodside, Aberdeen (as recorded)
  • Colne, Lancashire (as recorded)
  • Fulham, Middlesex (as recorded)