American Women Composers Midwest, Inc. (AWCMI) collection, 1977-2001
- TitleAmerican Women Composers Midwest, Inc. (AWCMI) collection MSAWCM04
- PublisherSpecial Collections
- RepositorySpecial Collections
- Physical Description23.0 Linear feet
- AbstractThis collection documents the administration, financing, and programming of American Women Composers Midwest, Inc. from its founding meeting in 1982 to 2001. Also included are a small number of documents from 1977 - 1982 relating to the parent national organization. Materials include correspondence, meeting minutes and agendas, reports, incorporation papers, financial records, brochures, press releases, concert programs, published reviews, grant materials, membership lists, and mailing lists. The collection also includes an archive of biographical material, musical scores, and audio recordings of performances.
- OriginationAmerican Women Composers. Midwest Chapter.
Women composers, performers, and music lovers founded the national organization, American Women Composers, Inc. in 1976. The organization sought to improve the visibility of past and present women composers through increased performance opportunities, educational initiatives, and support for contemporary composers. American Women Composers Midwest, Inc. was founded in Chicago in 1982 and incorporated in 1983 as a chapter of the national organization. For many years, the Midwest chapter was the most active branch of the organization, operating virtually autonomously from the national. In 1993, the AWCM split from the national organization to become a fully independent non-profit organization. It continued to share the goals of the national organization to promote and support women composers.
A working board consisting of composers, performers, and professional people administered the organization and developed its program. In 1992, AWCM affiliated with Arts Bridge, an arts management organization that assisted new arts agencies with financial and administrative affairs. AWCM participated in a management audit that led to a new organizational work plan and the hiring of part-time staff members. A board committee structure was instituted and a schedule of Board meetings with written agendas was created. AWCM successfully applied for a and received grants from a wide range or organizations including The Joyce Foundation, the Sara Lee Foundation, Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Foundation for Women. In addition, AWCM was funded through memberships, donations, and offers of professional assistance.
Early activities of the local branch included presenting concerts in the Chicago Metropolitan area and the Midwest and sponsoring public lectures. AWCM sponsored its first concert of music by women composers at the Chicago Public Library Cultural Center on March 5, 1982. Chicago area composers in the program included Shulamit Ran, Jan Remer, Darleen Cowles, Janice Mitchell, Mindy Wagner, and Rami Levin. AWCM established a respected performance series combining self-produced concerts and performances arranged in cooperation with other arts organization such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Through the years, concerts introduced listeners to a wide range of historic music. Composers ranged from the 18th century composer Maria Teresia von Paradis, to 19th century Clara Schumann, and early 20th century composer Alma Mahler. Committed to presenting music by women of color, in 1987 AWCM sponsored a performance at Chicago's Kennedy-King College that featured large-scale choral and orchestral works by African American women. A crucial component of programming was the presentation of work by current composers and AWCM presented the music of Shulamit Ran, Tanis Leon, Marta Ptaszynska, and Ellen Taafe Zwillich, among others. By 1997, AWCM had sponsored over 150 concerts in the Midwest, primarily in Chicago.
AWCM's Member Services Program was designed to assist young, emerging composers. Reading Sessions -- for which AWCM solicited members' scores, rented a hall, and engaged musicians -- allowed composers the chance to hear how their new works or works-in-progress sounded when performed. The ability to discuss their work with musicians also aided their evaluations. Meet-the-Composer/Artist Seminars were also sponsored and symposia addressing various professional issues. AWCM's archive of scores and recordings provided a resource for conductors, music directors, performers, and scholars. Through its archive, AWCM acted in an advisory capacity to arts groups wishing to perform music by women.
At the suggestion of the Chicago Board of Education, in 1992 AWCM designed and presented an educational outreach program for high school students reflecting diversity within the public schools. "A Multicultural Mosaic of Music by Women" showcased the works of Latino, Eastern European, Asian, and African American women composers. The program's goals included engendering ethnic and racial pride, acquainting students with the work of women composers, and encouraging young women to consider a career in music. In 1994, a pilot program extended educational outreach to elementary students. Presented at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, "New Songs for Children" was an interactive program that exposed students to the music of many cultures. By 1996, AWCM was presenting its program to over 3000 Chicago public school students annually.
American Women Composers Midwest appears to have ceased functioning sometime in 1999 or 2000.
This collection documents the administration, financing, and programming of American Women Composers Midwest, Inc. from its founding meeting in 1982 to 2001. Also included are a small number of documents from 1977 - 1982 relating to the parent national organization. Materials include correspondence, meeting minutes and agendas, reports, incorporation papers, financial records, brochures, press releases, concert programs, published reviews, grant materials, membership lists, and mailing lists. The collection also includes an archive of biographical material, musical scores, and audio recordings of performances. Copying is restricted for all musical scores and audio recordings.
The materials in this collection have been divided into four series:
- Series I: Administrative Files
- Series II: Financial Records
- Series III: Programming
- Series IV: Archives
American Women Composers Midwest, Inc. (AWCMI) collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago