The American Bandmasters Association, founded in 1929, with John Philip Sousa as Honorary Life President, recognizes outstanding achievement on the part of Concert Band conductors and composers. The current membership (invitational) comprises approximately 300 band conductors and composers in the USA and Canada, and 80 Associate Members (music businesses and corporations that provide significant services to bands and to the publication of band music.)
A Message from Linda R. Moorhouse, ABA President
Welcome to the website of the American Bandmasters Association. As we know from music history, the early 20th century was a time when concert bands enjoyed immense popularity. These bands performed in various venues of all types, playing a repertoire mostly borrowed. Founded 90 years ago, the American Bandmasters Association was formed to further “the interests of outstanding American Band Masters, and of interesting composers, arrangers, and music publishers in Wind Band music . . . It would be the aim of the ABA to unite in a concerted effort to influence the best composers to write for the Wind Band.” The nine founding members1 of the American Bandmasters Association all shared a belief that through their combined efforts in mentorship and leadership, they could set standards in order to develop better concert bands, better music educators and conductors, and better repertoire for concert bands. Fast forward to 2019 and we now witness, first hand, so many incredible concert bands at all levels in all parts of our country and beyond. Concert halls continue to be built to showcase our ensembles, and our band repertoire has never been more sophisticated and robust with both renowned and budding composers writing for it every year.
The Members of the American Bandmasters Association represent more than 300 conductors and composers who are outstanding musicians, educators, and leaders in the band profession. We also have approximately 60 Associate Members who represent all facets of our music industry. Both our Members and Associate Members were invited to join this unique and esteemed organization.
While the ABA meets once a year for its annual convention, the Association is active year round with individuals and committees working tirelessly on various projects and publications. These include the Journal of Band Research, the Sousa-ABA-Ostwald Band Composition Contest, the Edwin Franko Goldman Memorial Citation, the ABA Legacy Recordings Project, and the ABA-University of Florida Bands Commissioning Project. Some of the activities of our ABA committees include researching trends in the band profession, writing position papers, finding gold-standard out-of-print repertoire to reprint, and sharing through our social media historical gems of wind band history and other items of interest. We also support other projects outside the ABA.
It is truly an honor to hold the office of President of the American Bandmasters Association, and my ties to one of the ABA founding members through my work at the University of Illinois only makes it that much more special. Throughout this next year of my presidency, I look forward to working with my ABA colleagues to continue to serve this wonderful profession of ours through continued mentorship and service to bands.
Musically yours –
Linda R. Moorhouse, DMA
President, The American Bandmasters Association
Associate Director of the School of Music, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1ABA Founding Members:
(1) Edwin Franko Goldman, leader and conductor of the Goldman Band
(2) Charles Benter, Director of the United States Navy Band
(3) J. Gagnier, Director of His Majesty’s Grenadier Guards Band of Montreal
(4) Victor J. Grabel, conductor of the Chicago Concert Band
(5) Albert Austin Harding, Director of Bands at the University of Illinois
(6) Richard B. Hayward, Director of the Toronto Concert Band
(7) Charles O’Neill, Director of the Royal 22nd Regiment Band of Quebec
(8) Arthur Pryor, Director of Arthur Pryor’s Band
(9) Frank Simon, Director of the ARMCO Band in Middletown, Ohio