Formed in 1929 "for the purpose of furthering the interests of outstanding American Band Masters, and of interesting composers, arrangers, and music publishers in Wind Band music," the American Bandmasters Association (ABA) continues to champion the causes of American bands and bandmasters today. Its members' accomplishments include the election of John Philip Sousa to the Hall of Fame of Great Americans, the publication of the Journal of Band Research, and the establishment of several awards and prizes, including the Ostwald Band Composition Contest and the Edwin Franko Goldman Memorial Citation.
The current membership (invitational) comprises approximately 300 band conductors and composers in the USA and Canada, and 70 Associate Members (music businesses and corporations that provide significant services to bands and to the publication of band music.)
The American Bandmasters Association Research Center was brought to the University of Maryland at College Park on June 3, 1963, as the result of an agreement between the American Bandmasters Association (ABA) and the University of Maryland to jointly sponsor an agency that would provide a repository and clearing house for materials and information concerning the history and development of the wind band.
Now managed by Special Collections in Performing Arts, The ABA Research Center holds the papers and collections of several ABA members, as well as the archives of the ABA itself. In addition, the ABA Research Center has a large number of band scores, photographs, and recordings.
Please visit the finding aid for more information.
The ABA Archives covers the period from 1929 to the present. The collection consists of publications, including the Journal of Band Research and the ABA Newsletter; correspondence; conference materials and programs; meeting minutes; committee reports; financial and administrative records; oral histories; directories and membership lists; photographs, memorabilia, and recordings.
Record Group I: Board of Directors - Correspondence and information bulletins relating to the Board of Directors.
Record Group II: Officers - Correspondence and information bulletins relating to a particular officer. Record groups are divided into subgroups by Office, then Officer/Term and arranged chronologically.
Record Group III: Committees and Initiatives - Reports and correspondence pertaining to a particular committee. Record groups are divided into subgroups by title of committee.
More information about the Sousa/Ostwald Composition Contest Committee, including a list of winners, can be found at the Sousa/Ostwald Award tab.
Record Group IV: Annual Conference - Programs, correspondence, travel information, news clippings and planning materials pertaining to each Annual Conference. Record groups are divided into subgroups by year of convention.
Record Group V: Publications - Manuscripts and correspondence pertaining to particular ABA publications. Some copies are included. Record groups are divided into sub groups by title of publication.
Record Group VI: Oral History - Interviews and keynote addresses, in various media, formats pertaining to the history of the ABA.
Record Group VII: Memorabilia
Record Group VIII: Recordings - Recordings of concerts from ABA Annual Conventions; an inventory is available upon request.