ASMAC History: Seventy Nine Years and Still Going Strong
In 1938, a group of composers and arrangers writing music for movies, being dissatisfied with the lack of appreciation for their efforts, decided to band together and form an organization to promote their general interests.This group of arrangers and composers were outstanding practitioners of their art, and possibly, man for man, may not be equaled to the present day: Eddie Powell, Conrad Salinger, Walter Scharf, and many others. They dubbed their group “The American Society of Music Arrangers” (ASMA), the predecessor to ASMAC.Despite the fact that they were also composers, they decided to stress their importance as arrangers, where their rights were sadly nonexistent. At that time, there were eight major studios, and each studio had its own thirty-five to fifty-piece staff orchestra on full employment. One of ASMA’s first goals was to also be fully employed. When they tried to get a royalty for their orchestrations, they were dismally bound for failure, a situation that still exists to this day. They concentrated on other values, like screen credits, better working conditions, improved union scales, even parking privileges, and anything they could think of that might not be too objectionable to the powers that were.
The first president of ASMA was Robert Russell Bennett. In 1987 the name ASMA was changed to ASMAC, a belated recognition of the fact that most members were also practicing composers. The membership has now grown to over 500 and the goals and camaraderie are also continuing to expand by welcoming members who are, or have been, active in the preparation of music for movies, theatre, recording, television and live performances. Through monthly luncheons, seminars and master classes and workshops, and “Honor our Own” events, we strive to bring the long term members into contact with students and young professionals seeking to become composers or arrangers in an unofficial mentorship program.
ASMAC offers annual scholarships in both arranging and composing; and annually recognizes leaders in our field by presenting one or more of the following: The Golden Score Award; The President’s Award; and the Irwin Kostal Award.
ASMAC Outreach Mission Statement
A.S.M.A.C. is an acronym for the “American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers”. The society was formed in 1938 with Robert Russell Bennett as its first President. Its original title was A.S.M.A. The word “Composers” was added to the organization’s name in the late 1980’s.
A.S.M.A.C. is an organization whose mission is to promote the arts of Music Arranging, Composition and Orchestration within the entertainment industry community and the general public.
A.S.M.A.C.’s purpose is to provide its membership a place to make contact with each other to exchange ideas and information about the art of music and the music industry. A.S.M.A.C. seeks to educate and inform both the general public and the commercial arts community about the roles its members play in the creation of music past and present. A.S.M.A.C. also encourages emerging arrangers and composers in their development.