Composer Legacy Program

"What will happen to all my music scores and parts?....."


The Custodial Management Plan of the American Composers Alliance provides for the continued availability of the composer’s work for research, publication, recording, sales, and rentals, through the custodial management activities of the American Composers Alliance (ACA), in collaboration with Special Collections in Performing Arts at the University of Maryland.

This visionary program through ACA allows for the preservation of ACA scores, parts, and manuscript materials, in a state-of-the-art archival facility at the university.

Access and availability is enhanced when the composer places their materials into a central archive, with an agreement that allows the library staff to manage and provide access to the scores for research and performance.

Many important works of music are lost from memory when they go out of print, or when the composer's family is unable to continue managing requests directly. Permissions not clarified by the copyright holder in advance cause problems later when librarians holding music in their collections do not have permission to copy materials for library patrons and performers if requested. ACA is working with Special Collections in Performing Arts at the University of Maryland on this ACA Legacy Plan, which simplifies way that 20th and 21st-century music scores can be made available more efficiently in the future.

Composers and their estates retain copyright control of ACA published music, while providing ACA with an exclusive license to distribute, sell, rent, license, and collect 50% performance royalties for their ACA scores. Composers and estates can continue to license their works for films and dramatic performances or for recordings - mechanical and streaming income, or they can elect to have ACA license and collect on those uses of their music as well.

The ACA Custodial Plan is designed for the best possible benefit to the composer's legacy, whether materials are in physical or digital format (or both). Electronic music score files can be made available to performers and researchers around the world without printing and shipping. It also allows the publisher to request reprints without moving the physical materials and master scores, which can remain safe in the archive environment.

The ACA Custodial Management Program is an ongoing, long-term project shared between ACA publishing and distribution activities, and Special Collections in Performing Arts at the University of Maryland library access.

The ACA archive collection contains correspondence and papers of its founders, including Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, and Elliott Carter, as well as the music scores - masters and recordings for Bulent Arel, Miriam Gideon, Robert Helps, Otto Luening, Hall Overton, Dane Rudhyar, Halsey Stevens, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Karl and Vally Weigl, and so many others.

Please contact ACA for more information, or fill out the online info request for the Legacy Plan.