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original America's Composers header art

The America's Composers Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> America's Composers

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) co-sponsored America's Composers for its 13-week run
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers co-sponsored America's Composers for its 13-week run

The Eastman School of Music co-sponsored America's Composers
The Eastman School of Music co-sponsored America's Composers

The Rockefeller Institute Eastman School of Music's Kilbourn Hall was the venue from which the America's Composers broadcasts were recorded
The Rockefeller Institute Eastman School of Music's Kilbourn Hall was the venue from which the America's Composers broadcasts were recorded


Dr. Howard Hanson, gifted composer and Director of the Eastman School of Music led the Eastman School of Music's All-Student Symphony and Symphonic Wind Ensemble for America's Composers
Dr. Howard Hanson, gifted composer and Director of the Eastman School of Music led the Eastman School of Music's All-Student Symphony and Symphonic Wind Ensemble for America's Composers

Background: The Eastman School of Music and ASCAP

The Rockefeller Institute added the Eastman School of Music to its campus in 1921--a $17M investment in its day. The imposing edifice housed the Eastman Theatre in Kilbourn Hall, a venue initially employed for screening films and mounting stage plays. By 1927, the Eastman School's student symphony debuted in the first of hundreds of performances in the Eastman Theatre over the years. Dr. Howard Hanson, a gifted young composer in his own right, arrived at the Eastman School in 1924, eventually becoming the Eastman School's Director.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) was founded in 1914 in an effort to ensure "that music creators are fairly compensated for the public performance of their works, and that their rights are properly protected. " The Society is entirely member-owned and has made a significant impact throughout the Music Industry for just over 98 years as of the writing of this article.

NBC, ASCAP, and the Eastman School of Music celebrate America's great composers

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) joined with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in sponsoring a series of thirteen weeks of celebration of America's great composers. It's perhaps only fitting that NBC and ASCAP obtained the talents of Dr. Howard Hanson and his Eastman School of Music Symphony and Dr. Frederick Fennel and his Eastman School Wind Ensemble to showcase the works of these great American composers. Fitting, because though these broadcasts were brilliantly performed under Dr. Hanson's direction, the Eastman School of Music Symphony was entirely composed of [then] current students of the Eastman School--no alumni or faculty whatsoever.

Also quite fitting, was ASCAP's whole-hearted sponsorship of the series. This was after all a series honoring America's great composers. And who better to promote such an undertaking than the society most influential over the years in protecting and promoting these great composers' works.

America's Composers premiered at midnight on February 2nd 1953--a Monday--and aired without preemption on that day and timeslot for its entire thirteen weeks.

From the January 24th 1953 issue of The Billboard:

ASCAP NBC Seg
To Aid Longhairs
 

Institutional Promotion to Originate From
Eastman School; 13-Week Series Set
 
     NEW YORK, Jan. 17.--The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, in cooperation with the National Broadcasting Company, will present a program titled "American [sic] Composers," starting Monday, February 21 [sic], 11:30-midnight, EST.
     The program particularly aimed at familiarizing listeners with the works of composers of serious American music, will originate from the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y.  The program, which is scheduled for a 13-week series, is definitely set for WNBC, but is also offered to network affiliates.
     The ASCAP-TV [sic] series has long been in the works.  It is another indication that the society is hyping its activity in serious music.
               Pitt Music Festival
     An earlier indication of similar interest by ASCAP in the serious music field was the Society's participation in the recent Pittsburgh Music Festival.  Viewed from an over-all vantage point, the Society's NBC program is indicative of the Society's increasing attempt to sell itself institutionally to the public.  Other instances, in addition to the Pittsburgh Festival, were the two ASCAP programs presented several months ago on the Ed Sullivan TV program.
     The NBC programs, emanating from the Eastman school, will be performed by the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Howard Hanson and the Eastman School Wind Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Frederick Fennel.
     The music for each program will be selected by a board of judges including Dr. Hanson; Howard Taubman, author and music editor of the New York Times, and Samuel Chotzinoff, NBC general music director.
     ASCAP said that altho the program is being provided by ASCAP, the music will not be limited to the works of ASCAP composers.  "The major emphasis will be on contemporary American music, but occasional excursions into the past will be made, particularly of American music which has not been too widely played."
     In addition to the Symphony and Wind Ensemble, the school's chorus will from time to time be utililzed, along with other instrumental combinations.
     Program format provides for a short address by a composer or figure in the music world on each program.
     Otto A. Harbach, ASCAP president, said the series would further the ASCAP goal of giving a hearing to new compositions--as well as more familiar works--by American composers.

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Symphony Music
Network(s): NBC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): None
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 53-02-02 01 Guest Otto Harbach
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 53-02-02 to 53-04-27; NBC; Thirteen, 30-minute programs; Mondays at midnight
Syndication:
Sponsors: NBC; Eastman School of Music; American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP)
Director(s): Dr. Hanson, Howard Taubman, Samuel Chotzinoff [Selection Judges]
Principal Guests: Otto Harbach, Virgil Thompson, David Diamond, Morton Gould, Dr. Howard Hanson, Dr Cornelius W. de Kleviet, Dr Douglas Moore, Bernard Rogers, Randall Thompson, Aaron Copland, Harl McDonald, Norman Della Joio
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s): None
Composers(s): William Grant Still, Wayne Barlow, Dr. Paul White, Dr. Douglas Moore, Roger Sessions, Harl McDonald, George Gershwin, Robert Russell Bennett, Aaron Copland, Walter Piston, Norman Della Joio, John Philips Souza, Walter Hartley, William Purcell, Ron Nelson
Solists(s) James Alexander [Oboe]
Music Direction: Dr. Howard Hanson and the The Eastman School of Music Symphony;
Dr. Frederick Fennel and the Eastman School Symphonic Wind Ensemble
The Eastman School of Music Chorus
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Homer Bliss
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
13
Episodes in Circulation: 6
Total Episodes in Collection: 3
Provenances:

RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were the log of the RadioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.

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The America's Composers Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
53-01-26
--
--
53-01-26 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; Music (To 5:30)
53-02-02
1
Guest Otto Harbach
N
53-02-02 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers:
Otto Harbah, Speaker

53-02-02 Winona Republican-Herald
WKBH (NBC)--10:30--America's Composers
53-02-09
2
Guest Virgil Thomson
N
53-02-09 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers:
Virgil Thomson, Speaker

53-02-09 Winona Republican-Herald
WKBH (NBC)--10:30--America's Composers
53-02-16
3
Guest David Diamond
N
53-02-16 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers:
David Diamond, Speaker
53-02-23
4
Guest Morton Gould
N
53-02-23 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers:
Morton Gould, Speaker
53-03-02
5
Guest Dr Howard Hanson
N
53-03-02 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers:
Dr. Howard Hanson, Speaker
53-03-09
6
Guest Norman Della Joio
N
53-03-09 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers

53-03-09 Lowell Sun
AMERICA'S COMPOSERS:
Norman Della Joio, speaker; selections by Della Joio, Aaron Copland, Walter Piston; WBZ, 11.30
53-03-16
7
America's Student Composers
Y
53-03-16 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers:
Dr. Cornelius W. de Kleviet, Guest
53-03-23
8
Guest Unknown
N
53-03-23 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers
53-03-30
9
Guest Dr Douglas Moore
Y
[Close cut]

53-03-30 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers
53-04-06
10
Guest Bernard Rogers
N
53-04-06 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers:
Bernard Rogers, Guest
53-04-13
11
Guest Randall Thompson
N
53-04-13 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers:
Randall Thompson, Guest
53-04-20
12
Guest Aaron Copland
N
53-04-20 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers:
Aaron Copland, Guest
53-04-27
13
Guest Harl McDonald

Y
53-04-27 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; America's Composers:
Harl McDonald, Guest
53-05-04
--
--
53-05-04 New York Times
12:00-WNBC--News; Bob and Ray Show (Premiere)









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