On November 8, 2011, the merger of the American Music Center and Meet The Composer into New Music USA was officially completed, marking the end of a nearly year-long process. The new organization will operate in two broad program areas—grantmaking and media—reaching composers, performers, and listeners in all 50 states and projecting a more visible and audible profile for new American music all over the world. The media programs—which include NewMusicBox, Counterstream Radio, the MTC Studio, and the AMC Online Library—will embrace new media in its many forms as a vehicle for connecting musicians and audience members. The grantmaking programs will build on the rich histories of support within each organization by working to galvanize composers, ensembles, and communities to create, embrace, and disseminate new music. As of July 1, 2011, The American Composers Forum has taken on AMC’s former membership services, addressing the stated desire of composers across the country for a single comprehensive membership resource.
New Music USA will continue the work of the two national organizations, which have had a long history of promoting the contemporary music of the United States. The American Music Center, founded in 1939 by composers Marion Bauer, Aaron Copland, Howard Hanson, Harrison Kerr, Otto Luening, and Quincy Porter, has been dedicated to building a national community of artists, organizations, and audiences creating, performing, and enjoying new American music. Over the past decade, AMC has concentrated on advocacy for the community through a variety of online initiatives and has also continued to support the community through grant programs, an array of information services, and through engagement with the broader performing arts field. Meet The Composer was founded in 1974 as a project of the New York State Council on the Arts. Led by the visionary composer John Duffy, MTC soon became an independent organization dedicated to the idea of composers as active professionals with a central role in our country’s musical culture. In the more than thirty years since, MTC has grown to become a truly national organization, serving composers and audiences in all fifty states and promoting a thrillingly broad range of new music.
New Music USA is designed to build upon the combined and interconnected strengths of AMC and MTC. Its mission to increase opportunities for composers, performers, and audiences will be realized through two basic kinds of activity: Support and Promotion. By providing financial and other support, it will enable composers and other musical artists to create the new work that is the beating heart of our musical culture. And through its strong and evolving new media dimensions, it will seek to bring more attention to the field and engage a broad audience of potential listeners.
As New Music USA President and CEO Ed Harsh (who had served as MTC’s president) noted in a joint statement released today with Senior Advisor Joanne Hubbard Cossa (who served as AMC’s president and CEO and is retiring in December 2011):
Though the opportunities and challenges of 2011 could not have been imagined in 1939 at the time of AMC’s founding, nor even in 1974 when Meet The Composer first appeared on the scene, the core principles of both great organizations still ring clear and true.