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Official Records of the American Composers Alliance (ACA)

 Collection 0201-SCPA
The American Composers Alliance was founded in 1937 as an independent licensing association with the purpose of representing and promoting American contemporary classical music.The Official Records of the American Composers Alliance comprises composers' correspondence, photographs, news clippings, biographies and resumes, brochures and concert programs, published recordings, legal forms and contracts, and applications. The collection spans the history of the ACA since its inception in 1937.


  • 1937-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1960-1990

Use and Access to Collection

There are no restricted files in this collection.


25.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Official Records of the American Composers Alliance covers the period from 1937 to 2014; the bulk of the materials date from the 1960s to the 1990s. The collection consists of correspondence between ACA and member composers, photographs, news clippings, composer biographies and resumes, letters of recommendation, brochures and concert programs, published recordings, various licensing and copyright forms, applications for membership, and several financial and internal files.

Administrative History

The American Composers Alliance (ACA) was founded in 1937 by Aaron Copland, Virgil Thompson, Marc Blitztein, Wallingford Riegger, and others with the purpose of promoting American contemporary classical music. The ACA founded the record label Composers Recordings, Inc. (CRI) in 1954 and the American Composers Orchestra in 1977. Both organizations became independent entities shortly after their inception. (In 2006, the CRI catalog became part of New World Records, and the ACA works recorded on the CRI label remain available in a variety of formats.) In 1944, ACA became affiliated with the newly-formed Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), and became an official publisher-affiliate in 1972. The ACA was incorporated in 2005 and became a nonprofit corporation in 2007, with more than 200 members as of 2014.

By 2011, the catalog contained more than 12,000 titles. In 2000, ACA joined with Special Collections in Performing Arts at the University of Maryland (SCPA) to preserve ACA music score masters. These masters and copies deposited with ACA have been placed at SCPA for preservation, and for ongoing future access. The collection includes works from every year since 1905, many of which have been digitized, and since 2008 active members have been depositing their works in PDF format. A substantial portion of the ACA score collection is available through online subscriptions and sales of printed and electronic scores.

In 2007, ACA officially became a public nonprofit educational organization which includes American Composers Edition and Composers Facsimile Edition music. As of 2014, ACA remains the oldest national organization of its kind, and represents over 200 member composers


This collection is organized into three series:
  1. Series 1: Composer History Files
  2. Series 2: Administrative Files
  3. Series 3: Published Recordings

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift of the American Composers Alliance beginning in March 2011, and with several subsequent accruals.

Related Material

  1. George Tremblay Collection
  2. Robert Parris Papers
  3. Lawrence K. Moss Collection
For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Processing Information

Prior to acquisition, Gina Genova and Jessica Freeman, in their respective roles for the American Composers Alliance (ACA), extensively arranged and described the collection materials onsite at the organization's office in New York. Once at UMD, preservation processing and additional description was performed by Steve Quintilian, with value-added processing by Pedro Gonzalez-Fernandez in January 2015. Later in 2015 and into 2016, Mr. Quintilian processed further accruals to the collection, which had received arrangement and description attention from Ms. Genova at ACA prior to acquisition.
Official Records of the American Composers Alliance (ACA) Finding Aid
Gina Genova and Jessica Freeman of the American Composers Alliance; Steve Quintilian; updated January 2015 by Pedro Gonzalez-Fernandez
Description rules
Language of description
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 2014-07-24: EAD markup validated using Oxygen software by Amanda May, July 2014.
  • 2015-09-17: EAD markup validated using Oxygen software by John Davis, September 2015.
  • 2015-10-27: EAD markup validated using Oxygen software by John Davis, October 2015.

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library Library

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