Dorothy Johnson Bales (1917-2002) graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts in music in 1938. In 1939 she won the Oregon and Northwest District Young Artists' Award and then traveled to Baltimore to compete in the national contest, after which she remained on the east coast.  While living in New York, she studied violin under Joseph Knitzer and played in the Mozart Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Robert Sholz. Then she studied at the New England Conservatory under scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in 1941. Also in 1941, Dorothy Bales married Robert Freed Bales, who went on to become Professor Emeritus of Social Relations at Harvard University. Dorothy Bales then continued to study under Harrison Keller.  She taught at New England Conservatory as a junior teacher during the 1943-1944 academic year..

In New York, between the years 1943 and 1946, Bales studied under Juilliard faculty member Ivan Galamian. In 1948 Bales made her debut at Jordan Hall jointly with pianist Olga Stone. In 1946 through 1959 Bales taught violin and Junior Chamber Music at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge. During the summer of 1949, she studied composition under Ross Lee Finney at the University of Michigan and then in 1951 received her Master of Music from Boston University, where she studied violin, ensemble and musicology. In 1952, Bales gave recitals in Paris at the Salle Chopin-Pleyel and in Salzburg at Schloss Leopoldskron. Bales also gave recitals at Carnegie Hall (1962) and a number of venues in Boston.

From 1950 to 1955 Bales was head of the string department at the Brookline School of Music and taught violin and chamber music, after which she taught violin at the Winsor School in Boston. She also taught as an Assistant Professor of Music at Emmanuel College in Boston and as the head of the violin department at the Berklee College of Music. Bales was also a visiting Associate Professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and lectured at Northeastern University.  From the years 1985-1998, Bales taught in the Preparatory/Extension Division at New England Conservatory.

Physical description

1.5 lin. ft; two record cartons. These records are primarily paper along with photographs and audio materials.


This collection includes materials belonging to and created by Dorothy
Bales, who graduated from New England Conservatory in 1941. The collection was donated to the New England Conservatory by Dorothy Bales' husband, Robert Freed Bales in 2004.


Access to this collection is by appointment through the Archivist or the Director of Libraries, New England Conservatory of Music. There are no restrictions pertaining to this collection.


All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory.
Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as: Dorothy Bales Collection in the Archives at New England Conservatory, Boston.