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American Composers Alliance (ACA) records

 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.


  • 1937-2017
  • Majority of material found within 1960-1990

Use and Access to Collection

There are no restricted files in this collection. 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.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright was not transferred to the University of Maryland with the physical gift of the records. ACA or any successor organization retain any copyright possessed in the collection. The University of Maryland Libraries is granted permission for the use in scholarly research by the Libraries’ patrons under fair use in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act.


25.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The American Composers Alliance records cover the period from 1937 to 2017; the bulk of the materials date from the 1960s to the 1990s. The records consist 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 2019, ACA remains the oldest national organization of its kind, and represents over 200 member composers


This collection is organized into 14 record groups and four subgroups:

  1. Composer history files
  2. Administrative files
  3. Published recordings
  4. Committees
  5. American Music Center and Pioneer Editions
  6. Board of Governors
  7. Governing documents
  8. Events
  9. ACA/CRI recordings
  10. Composer programs and brochures
  11. Publications
  12. General membership
  13. Records of elected officers and staff
  14. BMI

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

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

Related Material

  1. American Composers Alliance minutes, Music Division, The New York Public Library
  2. Composers Recordings, Inc. Records, JPB 07-2, Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
  3. George Tremblay papers
  4. Robert Parris papers
  5. Lawrence K. Moss papers
  6. Aaron Avshalomov scores collection
  7. Jacob Avshalomov scores collection
  8. Raymond Luedeke papers
  9. Andrew Thomas papers
  10. Ann E. McMillan papers
  11. Harold Brown collection
  12. Michael Seyfrit papers
  13. Adolph Weiss and Paula Hughes papers
  14. Griffith Rose collection

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. In July 2019, Natalie Salive processed all materials accrued since 2016, files which Ms. Genova also arranged and described prior to their arrival at SCPA. At this time, Ms. Salive also converted the series to record groups to better accommodate future accruals.

Gina Genova and Jessica Freeman of the American Composers Alliance; Steve Quintilian; updated January 2015 by Pedro Gonzalez-Fernandez. Further revisions and integration of accruals, as well as conversion to record groups from series, by Natalie Salive, June/July 2019.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

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