A “Virtual Séance” with the Founders of the American Music Center
9. Later History of the American Music Center
OTTO LUENING: During and after World War II, the federal government saw the value of music as a cultural weapon. From 1945 to 1949 the AMC operated as operating agent for the Department of State (music division and Division of Cultural Cooperation), the Library of Congress and the Pan-American Union (music division) and the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs in New York. In 1946, the State Department corresponded with Kerr about establishing libraries of American music in Europe. This and the deposits in Latin America led to the establishment of music libraries under the United States Information Agency throughout the world. The center helped to move over one hundred thousand scores of American music from publishers’ shelves into these libraries… Ray Green came to the AMC as Executive Secretary in December 1948. 1
AARON COPLAND: The Center, although dependant on funding sources, had grown and prospered. 2
OTTO LUENING: Mrs. Ann M. Gannett and the National Federation of Music Clubs were our major supporters for several years. Then, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) took over. 3
QUINCY PORTER: It is quite possible that a questionnaire recently sent out to a large number of American composers by the American Music Center would be of some use in making up a list of new works (or somewhat forgotten older ones). The composers were asked their own opinion about works which they consider of importance which did not, or do not at present, receive the recognition they deserve – works not only of their own, but by other American composers. 4
OTTO LUENING: Together with Ray Green and Ernst Bacon, I worked on an elaborate proposal to commission, perform, and record American compositions under a grant from the Ford Foundation
OTTO LUENING: For the next twenty years I served as chairman of various AMC boards that included many of our prominent American composers. I was often in the office in New York and the rest of the time I supervised the center by mail, telephone, and telegram from wherever my travels took me. 7
AARON COPLAND: Along with many of our country’s composers, I am still a proud member of the American Music Center. 8
1. Cited from The Odyssey of an American Composer: the Autobiography of Otto Luening [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1980] Order from Amazon.
.2 Cited from Copland: 1900 Through 1942 by Aaron Copland and Vivian Perlis [New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984] Order from Amazon.
3. Cited from The Odyssey of an American Composer: the Autobiography of Otto Luening [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1980] Order from Amazon
5. Cited from The Odyssey of an American Composer: the Autobiography of Otto Luening [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1980] Order from Amazon.
6. Cited from Copland: 1900 Through 1942 by Aaron Copland and Vivian Perlis [New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984] Order from Amazon.