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Ann McMillan papers

 Collection 0400-SCPA

Ann McMillan (1923-1994) was an American composer and musician. The collection consists of music scores (published and manuscript), correspondence, curriculum vitae, articles, concert programs, newspaper clippings, newsletters, books, recordings, ephemera, and other memorabilia related to Ann McMillan’s career.


  • 1942-1994
  • Majority of material found in 1960-1989

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restricted files in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Please make an appointment with the curator: Tel: 301.405.9220, Email:


14.0 Linear Feet

Content Description

The Ann McMillan papers cover from the period from 1944 to 2004. The bulk of the materials date from 1965 to 1992. The collection contains biographical information, scores, drafts of notes and scores, magazine and newspaper clippings, pictures, cassette and reel tapes, and concert programs.

Historical Note

Ann McMillan was a composer born in New York City in 1923. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in composition and French horn from Bennington College in 1945. As a horn player, she was a student of Joseph Singer (New York Philharmonic), and was a member of the National Orchestral Association training program in the 1940s. Also in that decade, she was a composition student of Otto Luening and a student assistant of Louis Horst at the Martha Graham School of Dance. From 1949 through 1955, McMillan worked as a music editor and established the LP department at Red Seal, a classical record label owned by the RCA Victor Recording Company. Other collaborations as a music editor include Columbia Records LP Classical (1949), American Foundation for the Blind, NYC (1946), and Talking Book Studios (1944).

While working at RCA Victor, McMillan met the composer Edgar Varèse. Later, from 1953 to 1955, she became his student and assistant, collaborating with him on producing some of his compositions, including the tape portions in his works Déserts. Ann McMillan published articles on Varese’s life (“The Shape of Music, an Evening with Edgar Varese”, “Edgar Varese in Retrospect”).

From 1955 through 1957, McMillan was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Paris, to the Studio d’Essai with Pierre Schaeffer, RTF – Musique Concrête “Recording Techniques for Music Composition” (1955-57). Upon her return to the United States, McMillan worked for their overseas studio in New York as a program director of Radiodiffusion Television Française, NYC (1958-62). In 1955, she was a producer for the Broadcast Foundation of American “Lively Arts” program, a Music Director of WBAI-FM, Pacifica Network (1964-68), produced radio series for Iran Government Information Center (1975-76), wrote and produced free Lance Radio Essays for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in French and English, and for Voice of America’s Italian broadcasts via RAI (1960s).

McMillan was awarded a Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundation fellowships (1979 and 1972); grants from Creative Artists Public Service (CAPS) in 1972, and the New York Department of Cultural Affairs “Urban Corps grant” (1975 and 1978). Residency fellowships included The MacDowell Colony (1970, 73, 75 – 82), The Virginia Center for the Arts (1981), and the Ossabaw Island Project (1978). Other awards include receiving the American Composers Alliance Laurel Leaf Award in 1968 for her programming work with WBAI. McMillan was a later granted membership in the American Composers Alliance, and was also a member of the American Music Center, Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), Colony Fellow representative of the MacDowell Colony Corporation Board Member, and Composers Forum Adviser, NYC.

Some of her commissions included an orchestra work for Joel Thome's “Orchestra of Our Time” of New York City, a Trio for cello, piano, and tape for Jane Jeffrey Hollander, Whale-wail, in peace, en Paix a special commission for Folkways Records for Moses Asch, a violin and tape piece for Manuel Enriquez of Mexico City, Max Lifchitz, and the Quintet of the Americas. April-Episode for Harpsichord, live and abstracted on tape, was performed by Joseph Payne at Fenton House, London's Camden Festival, in March 30, 1979. The tape part of that piece is a complete piece itself, called Episode.

In 1977, her music was presented at the 13th annual Avant Garde Festival in New York City, commissioned by Charlotte Moorman and the Port Authority of New York.

McMillan gave workshops and lectures at McGill University (1981), Columbia University (1974), New York University (1967), Bennington College (1978), and the National Park Recreation Area, “Noise vs. music” (1977-78), in New York, “Arts Awareness II” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1974). Starting in 1990, McMillan worked as a guest editor of the Contemporary Music Review. She died on September 29, 1994 in New York City.


This collection is organized into three series.

  1. Papers
  2. Recordings
  3. Scores

Custodial History

Transferred to SCPA by Gina Genova of the American Composers Alliance in July 2015.

Related Materials

- American Composers Alliance (ACA) records, Special Collections in Performing Arts, University of Maryland Libraries. (finding aid)

- McMillan, Ann, composer. Whale - Wail, In Peace, En Paix: For Voice and Tape Structures of Whale and Other Animal Sounds. Recorded January 1, 1986. Folkways Records, 1986, Streaming Audio. (Check availability)

- McMillan, Ann, composer. Gateway Summer Sound: Abstracted Animal and Other Sounds. Recorded January 1, 1979. Folkways Records, 1979, Streaming Audio. (Check availability)

- New American Music, Vol. 1. Recorded January 1, 1975. Folkways Records, 1975, Streaming Audio. (Check availability)

Ann McMillan papers
In Progress
Samantha Flores
November 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States