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. AMC was founded on a belief that access to information and active promotion could unlock the inherent power and promise of American music. A similar conviction guided MTC: that by giving creators of new work the opportunity to engage with their communities—and compensating them in a fair way—the landscape of new music could be changed forever.
At this moment we truly feel the energetic legacy of the people who have acted on these principles over the decades, beginning with Aaron Copland (above) and his colleagues in the 1930s and John Duffy and his colleagues in the 1970s. We honor their dedicated work, knowing the greatest tribute we can offer them is a commitment to look forward as they did to the possibilities of a new day.
And it is a new day. We have the fortune to be living in a time of explosive creativity and lightning-quick change. The kaleidoscopic range of music-making all around us defies labels and categories, both in terms of the way it sounds and the way it reaches listeners. As the spectrum of that kaleidoscope broadens, it reveals more and more ways to get people involved and excited by what we do. Let’s be clear: that public connection is the pathway to our bright collective future.
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 relentlessly to bring more attention and engagement from a broad audience of potential listeners. We trust that the synergy between these two dimensions will evolve in powerful new ways over the coming months and years.
An institution is only as strong as the people who join together to carry out its mission. New Music USA is fortunate to be governed by a committed Board, activated by a supremely talented staff, and advised by two councils of stellar professionals from the artistic and media worlds respectively. Beyond those institutional borders, though, we see New Music USA as a trust held on behalf of the entire community, the thousands and thousands of us who create, perform, produce, support and listen to new American music. If we can tap into the collective power of that community, the possibilities can be endless.
TPR's own John Clare served on the AMC board from 2010 and is now on the New Music USA media advisory board.