What is the Society for American Music?
The Society was founded in 1975 and was first named in honor of Oscar G.T. Sonneck, early Chief of the Music Division in the Library of Congress and pioneer scholar of American music. The Society for American Music is a non-profit scholarly and educational organization incorporated in the District of Columbia as a 501 (c) (3) and is a constituent member of the American Council of Learned Societies.
The Society for American Music is dedicated to the study, teaching, creation and dissemination of all musics in the Americas. As a scholarly, collegial, and inclusive organization, we serve a wide and diverse array of academics, librarians, composers, performers and members of the general public. We instill passion and appreciation for all aspects of American music and musical cultures by
- holding collegial annual conferences that feature scholarly presentations, musical performances, and opportunities for social interaction and professional development of its members;
- disseminating high-quality research and thoughtful articles and reviews through the peer-reviewed Journal and the online Bulletin;
- offering financial support for research at libraries, archives, and other venues in the United States and abroad;
- presenting annual awards that recognize outstanding scholarship, dedicated service to the Society, lifetime professional achievement, and significant contributions to the American musical culture;
- partnering with other local and national organizations to sponsor outreach initiatives designed to engage the general public with innovative programming;
- furnishing creative curriculum support for K-12 and university educators interested in integrating American music into their classrooms;
- advocating for the sustained support of humanities research, music librarianship, and musical composition, as well as greater access to the resources of American music; and
- serving as a resource for media outlets and the general public.
Society for American Music History Project
In the fall of 2003 the Board of the Society for American Music under the leadership of its president, Carol Oja, voted to form an ad hoc committee charged with exploring the feasibility of a history project that focused upon gathering reminiscences of the early days of the Society, originally known as the Sonneck Society for American Music, from those who were there. While the society's archives are housed at the Library of Congress and are available for anyone interested to consult, the Board recognized the need for a history that went beyond documents. In the first nine months of the project audio and video interviews have been conducted and a written questionnaire has been circulated. The very first interview was with early member Wiley Housewright; it was conducted just weeks before he passed away. The project was officially announced at the Society's national conference in Cleveland, Ohio in March 2004 with a panel entitled "The Society for American Music History Project: In the Beginning;" its participants included founding members Raoul Camus, Margery Morgan Lowens, and Deane Root. A second panel entitled "'To Be or Not To Be' a Society" with founding members H. Wiley Hitchcock, Cynthia Hoover, and Richard Crawford was presented at the national conference in Eugene, Oregon in February 2005.
The Society for American Music History Project will provide a resource for everyone interested in the founding of the Sonneck Society, honor those whose passion for their nation's music created the vital society that exists today, and form the core of a larger historical study on the validation and institutionalization of scholarship on American music currently underway.
For more information, please contact either Mariana Whitmer, Executive Director of the Society for American Music via the Society's webpage, or SAM History Project, ad-hoc committee chair Denise Von Glahn at the Florida State University School of Music, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1180, or via email at Denise.VonGlahn@fsu.edu.