National Library of Wales

J. T. Rees Papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 JTREES

Held at: NLW

Title: J. T. Rees Papers

Short title: Rees, J. T., papers

Dates of creation: 1878-1949

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: 0.151 cubic metres (67 volumes)

Name of creator(s): John Thomas Rees (1857-1949)


Administrative and biographical history: John Thomas Rees (1857-1949), musician, was born in a cottage next to Capel Yorath, Cwmgïedd, Breconshire. His mother died when he was very young, and he was brought up by her parents at Llwynbedw farm nearby. He had little education, and began work as a pit-boy in the South Wales coalfield at the age of nine. He learnt music whilst working in the mines, and began to give lessons when he was 17, mastering sol-fa under the tuition of D. W. Lewis (1845-1920) between 1876 and 1879. At the age of 21, Rees entered a cantata for an eisteddfod at Treherbert, Glamorgan, and in 1879 his friends raised funds which enabled him to study under Joseph Parry (1841-1903) at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire. Resources soon ran out, but the good offices of David Jenkins (1848-1915) enabled Rees to teach sol-fa at Pen-y-garn, near Aberystwyth, before moving to Emporium, Kansas, USA, in 1882. Although he retained his transatlantic connection long enough to gain a degree in Music at the University of Toronto in 1889, Rees returned to Pen-y-garn in 1883, acting as tutor to an adult music class, conductor of rural choirs, and later as part-time lecturer at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and part-time music teacher at Tregaron County School. His composition for string quartet, Duw sydd noddfa which, like much of his work, was on a religious theme, won the prize in its category at the Aberdare National Eisteddfod in 1895, and Rees subsequently became known throughout Wales as a composer, conductor and eisteddfod adjudicator. He lived at Bow Street, near Aberystwyth, until his death in 1949.


Scope and content: Music manuscripts, 1878-1949, of J. T. Rees, comprising original full scores, draft scores and sets of orchestral parts for the bulk of his considerable output, including anthems, quintets, overtures, cantatas, choral works, songs and hymn-tunes, notably Duw sydd noddfa, Y trwbadwr, Y teulu dedwydd, String quartet, Hillsides of Wales and Christos.


Language/script: Welsh, English

System of arrangement: Arranged in the order in which the papers were donated as NLW MSS 16841-50, 19923-76, and 20974-76.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: The catalogue can be accessed online. A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales, as is a copy of a superseded but more detailed catalogue.
Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records donated to the National Library of Wales have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: After the death of J. T. Rees in 1949, these manuscripts appear to have remained in the custody of his son, T. Ifor Rees, until they were transferred to the National Library of Wales, where they were designated NLW MSS 16841-50, 19923-76, 20974-6.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Dr T. Ifor Rees, son of J. T. Rees, in 1950 and 1968.



Publication note: Many of the works in this archive have been published.

Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by David Moore for the ANW project. The following sources were consulted in the compilation of this description: NLW, Handlist of J. T. Rees Music MSS; Dictionary of Welsh Biography, 1941-1970 (London, 2001)

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2 and LCSH.

Date(s) of description: March 2003



Anthems | Wales

Cantatas | Wales

Composers | Wales | Archives

Composers | Wales | Ceredigion

Music | Wales

Musicians | Wales | Archives

Musicians | Wales | Ceredigion

Overtures | Wales

Quintets | Wales

Rees, J. T. | (John Thomas), | 1857-1949 | Songs and music

Songs, Welsh


Personal names

Rees, J. T. (John Thomas), 1857-1949

Corporate names