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The Edward Collins Fund for American Music (ECFAM) is beginning work on its mission by restoring the music legacy of American composer Edward Joseph Collins (1886-1951).

Collins had an impressive career as music composer, pianist, conductor and teacher. His various journals and letters also provide unique insights into American culture, as well as that of Europe and its classical music scene during the first half of the 20th century.

Collins's music had languished since the 1950s, likely because of a lack of reference recordings.

Toward returning Collins’s music to the “living” repertoire, ECFAM plans to:

  • select an archive where original scores, manuscripts, correspondence, journals, and memorabilia can be deposited, for eventual access by scholars and the public (completed: archives located at Chicago’s Newberry Library)
  • coordinate digital engraving of all extant works , to be made available for performance through publication (approximately 85% of extant works have been edited, proofed, and professionally engraved; completion of engraving is projected in 2006)
  • undertake new recordings of all works, toward publication of complete recorded anthology that includes previously recorded music (seven CDs recorded to date, with two more projected for completion in 2005; anthology release planned for 2006, the composer’s 120th birth anniversary year)
  • seek publication of all music by an established international company (two major publishers have indicated interest and are reviewing materials)
  • coordinate publication of a revised composer catalogue (working edition completed)
  • organize anniversary concerts and events (50th death anniversary, 2001, completed; 120th birth anniversary, 2006, as funds permit)
  • commission and publish a new biography (completed)
  • provide information to editors or authors of key music reference works, such as the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and the Orchestral Handbook (ongoing)
  • promote Collins performances, especially those with related broadcasts (ongoing)
  • identify and recover lost works, as well as any existing audio or video recordings of the composer or his music, through research in key biographical cities and regions (e.g., Chicago, northeast Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Berlin, New York, etc.) (ongoing)
  • create a multimedia website, possibly with the capacity for downloading or purchase of music publications, recordings, and other content (first stage, early 2005; ongoing)
  • support scholarly work, possibly to include a book-length study, that places Collins’s music in a historical context (ongoing)
  • promote media coverage (ongoing)
  • support production of audio/video documentaries for public radio or television (tbd, as funds become available)

Using the experience gained from this research-based pilot project, ECFAM plans to restore the music legacies of other 20th century American composers.