Iconic American publisher Henry Luce coined the phrase “The American Century” in a 1941 Life magazine editorial intended to wake the nation from its isolationism and to summon it to a new role among the world’s leading nations. Now in the second decade of the 21st century, we have the perspective to see that much of what Henry Luce and others advocated during the 20th century about America’s international role in fact came to fruition. Paraphrasing from Luce’s essay, by the close of the 20th century Hollywood movies, American television, American slang, American machines and products were recognized in every community in the world.
What has never been examined in much depth, either at home or internationally, is America’s art music. During the same period as the flourishing of American jazz, Hollywood, television and fast food, American composers writing music derived from European structural and theoretical models were composing major works for solo instruments, chamber ensemble, orchestra, chorus and opera, all of which would come to be recognized as containing an “American Voice.”
The amount of repertoire from these composers is enormous and seldom heard. With over a hundred composers and multiple hundreds of compositions amongst them, ACM was created to fill a vacuum in America’s cultural fabric by bringing these inspired, well-crafted works out of their obscurity with committed, insightful performances which they unquestionably deserve.