News & Announcements

§ Statement on the Elimination of the University Press of Kentucky

On behalf of the organization, Sandra Graham, SAM President, has issued the following letter to Governor Matt Bevin protesting the defunding and elimination of the University of Kentucky Press:

Dear Governor Bevin:

As President of the Society for American Music and as spokesperson for the Society's Board of Trustees, I write to protest the defunding and elimination of the University Press of Kentucky. The Press has served our members and the international learning community since its inception, and its small full-time staff of seventeen has had an outsized impact on students and scholars. For evidence you need not look further than its thirteen Frederick Jackson Turner Awards for History, four Weatherford Awards for Appalachian Studies, and three Lillian Smith Book Awards for African American Studies. Indeed, the Press's publications not only regularly garner awards but are award finalists, and the Society for American Music's members count the Press's titles among those in our personal libraries as well as those of our institutions.

Regional publishers are especially valuable, because they recognize the importance of local histories to our national narratives. For example, The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia is a source that no other published encyclopedia replicates. Ron Pen's biography of John Jacob Niles, I Wonder as I Wander, grew out of his work as director of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music at the University of Kentucky, and it owes its impact to Pen's intimate knowledge of Kentuckian geography and countryside.

Finally, as the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth, the Press highlights the historically important educational institutions that have played important roles in U.S. history - particularly that of Berea College, one of the first institutions of higher learning in the United States to be racially integrated and to admit women. This would seem to fall squarely into your proclaimed dedication to "investing in education and workforce" (

Eliminating the University of Kentucky Press severs a venerable historical tradition. University presses have played an important role in separating scholarship from the explicitly commercial demands of publishing - indeed, they stand for the integrity of the advancement of knowledge, which cannot be undertaken with the constant pressure to earn a profit. In the United States, academic presses have helped establish the reputation of universities, beginning with the first U.S. university press at Cornell University (est. 1869). The decision to end the press at the University of Kentucky will be seen by scholars, both domestic and international, as a turn away from the advancement of knowledge - in other words, a turn away from one of the fundamental mandates of universities. One need only recall the outrage at the closing of the University of Missouri Press in 2012 for an example of how such a short-sighted decision can hurt a university's reputation.


Sandra Graham

President, Society for American Music

§ Call for Conference Submissions - 45th Annual Conference

Accepted from: 16 March 2018
Deadline: 1 June 2018

Society for American Music 45th Annual Conference
New Orleans, Louisiana, 20-24 March 2019

The Society for American Music invites proposals for (a) individual papers, (b) organized panels of 2-4 papers, (c) lecture-recitals, (d) written papers related to one of the seminar topics, (e) scholarly posters, and (f) interest groups for its 45th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, to be held 20–24 March 2019.

The Society for American Music is dedicated to the study, teaching, creation and dissemination of all musics in the Americas. We welcome proposals involving all facets of musical life throughout the Americas and about American music and aspects of its cultures anywhere in the world.

Proposal submission information

§ Support SAM With a Contribution

It's easy to show your support for the mission of SAM. Whether you choose to help finance a specific fellowship or not, your contribution is appreciated!

§ Announcing the Robert Walser and Susan McClary Fellowship

Published 1 Sep 2017

The Society for American Music (SAM) is delighted to announce the establishment of the Robert Walser and Susan McClary Fellowship, an annual award for Ph.D. candidates that seeks to diversify the field of scholars working in American music. The couple has endowed the fellowship with a $1.2 million gift that is partly a bequest and partly an outright contribution. SAM will begin naming Walser-McClary Fellows in 2018. The fellowship, granted annually, provides a six-month stipend of $11,000. Upon completion of the endowment, the fellowship program will be expanded to support two full-year fellowships. Applications for the inaugural award are due on Nov. 1, 2017, and information can be found here.

“The Society for American Music is profoundly grateful to Robert Walser and Susan McClary for this extraordinary gift, which is the largest the Society has ever received,” said Sandra Graham, SAM President. “It couldn’t be more timely - now more than ever we need diverse voices in our work. The Walser-McClary fellowship will have a deep impact on American music scholarship and on SAM beyond our lifetimes.” Read more...

§ Statement in Solidarity with Anti-Racism and Anti-White Supremacy

Published 17 Aug 2017

We are facing horrifying events. White supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members, and Neo-Nazis boldly champion hateful causes and commit unconscionable acts of violence. The Board of the Society for American Music condemns these groups and their actions. We condemn the terrorizing and intimidating tactics of bullies and bigots, for they are anathema to the principles we stand for. The Society for American Music promotes the pursuit of knowledge and education, broadly construed. Celebrating and understanding diversity is at the core of SAM's mission. As people who are dedicated to understanding musical life in the Americas, we are all too aware of how some voices have been silenced while others privileged. We support fully work that uncovers the influence of racist white supremacy in the past, and we support work that dismantles it in the present.

We welcome all members of our extended community regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic background, political or institutional affiliation, and ability, and we are fully dedicated to promoting a diversity of voices and views as a scholarly society. We recognize that there is still work to be done to make the spaces of SAM safe and hospitable to all, and we are committed to continuing to do that work.

Signed by the following Officers and Members-at-Large:

Sandra Graham
Christina Baade
Neil Lerner
Maribeth Clark
Charles Hiroshi Garrett
Renee Lapp Norris
Steve Swayne
Cecilia Sun
Danielle Fosler-Lussier
Glenda Goodman
Eduardo Herrera

§ 2018 Annual Conference in Kansas City - Call For Papers

The 44th Annual Conference will be held in Kansas City (28 February-4 March 2018). The Call for Papers has been issued with a deadline of 1 June 2017. The University of Missouri-Kansas City will be hosting the conference, with William Everett serving as chair of local arrangements. All program-related queries should be submitted to the program chair, Paul Laird.

§ 2018 Society for American Music Honorary Members

The Society for American Music is delighted to announce that Dr. Chen Yi and Dr. Zhou Long will be named the society's newest honorary members at our 2018 Kansas City conference. Chen Yi (violinist-composer) and Zhou Long (composer) were both born in China, have contributed immensely to musical culture in the United States and beyond, and are currently distinguished professors of composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. We honor both for convincingly blending Chinese and Western traditions. successfully transcending cultural and musical boundaries, and achieving honors of the highest order.

For more information

§2017 Society for American Music Conference Awards and Subventions

The Society for American Music is pleased to announce the 2017 winners of the following awards and subventions. Congratulations!



§ SAM Board Statement on U.S. Executive Order regarding immigration and travel

The Board of Trustees of the Society for American Music condemns the Trump Administration’s Executive Order (27 January 2017), which suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, disallowed entry indefinitely for Syrian refugees, and denied entry for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

In pursuit of our mission to support the study, teaching, creation, and dissemination of all musics in the Americas, our Society is committed to principles of inclusion, diversity, respect, open inquiry, and the free exchange of ideas. As members of an international society and constituents of the global scholarly community, we believe it is critical to nurture intellectual and musical exchanges with scholars, students, and musicians from around the world. Restrictions placed on entry, exit, and return to the United States work against our Society’s mission, principles, and goals.  We depend on the freedom of travel to conduct research, share ideas, study abroad, and build international collaborations, just as we seek to welcome and learn from visiting scholars, international students, and touring performers.  Our intellectual freedom, the scope of our knowledge, the strength of our academic institutions, and our ability to learn from each other across borders are all compromised when these channels are closed.

We join other academic associations, universities, and many members of the American Council of Learned Societies to urge the President and Congress to lift this Executive Order immediately.

§ 2019 Annual Conference in New Orleans

We have recently completed arrangements to hold our society’s 45th Annual Conference in New Orleans (20-25 March 2019). Our conference hosts send these warm greetings: The Historic New Orleans Collection and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation are thrilled for the opportunity to showcase the musical offerings and heritage of New Orleans as well as the unique efforts of our respective institutions to preserve and disseminate the history and culture of New Orleans music. We’re looking forward to meeting you all as we explore the sounds of New Orleans together. Sincerely - THNOC & NOJHF

Give a JSAM Gift Subscription

The Society for American Music is pleased to announce that it is now possible for you to share the in-depth and quality research presented in each issue of the Journal of the Society for American Music with family and friends. Gift subscriptions are only $50.00 per year! These are only available to current members of SAM and can be renewed annually. We'll even send the recipient a card letting them know about your gift! Simply complete the JSAM Gift Subscription Form and mail or fax it back to us.

Our Mission

The mission of the Society for American Music is to stimulate the appreciation, performance, creation and study of American musics of all eras and in all their diversity, including the full range of activities and institutions associated with these musics throughout the world.

Oscar Sonneck (1873-1928)
Oscar SonneckThe Society for American Music was founded in honor of and originally named for the first critical scholar and bibliographer of American Music, Oscar G. T. Sonneck.

The Sonneck Circle was established in 2003 to honor the memory of Oscar Sonneck, and offers its members additional benefits. To see a list of contributors and read more about the Sonneck Circle click here.