Story posted August 16, 2006
The administrative office of the American Musicological Society (AMS), the national organization devoted to advancing music research, learning, and scholarship, has moved from the University of Pennsylvania to Bowdoin College.
"We are honored to welcome the American Musicological Society to Bowdoin and to support its ongoing work," said Bowdoin President Barry Mills. "The AMS is a highly respected organization in the field of music that will complement our ongoing efforts to enhance music education and scholarship at the College."
The AMS is a membership-based non-profit organization comprising mostly teachers of music appreciation and music history at colleges and universities across the United States and around the world.
"The field has always been centered around big research universities," noted Mary Hunter, A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Music. "For a small college like Bowdoin — not a graduate institution — to be able to host an organization like the AMS makes a very good rhetorical point. And it makes a strong statement to students about the value of intellectual work here at Bowdoin."
The AMS move to Bowdoin comes at a time when the College is experiencing a resurgence in the arts on campus fueled by improved facilities and more success attracting students with strong backgrounds and interest in visual art and art history, music, theater, and dance. In recent years, Bowdoin renovated Pickard Theater and built Wish Theater. Currently, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art is undergoing an extensive renovation, and the former Curtis Pool Building is being converted into a state-of-the-art, 290-seat recital hall.
With its relocation to Bowdoin, the AMS will have more space, staff, and resources to better serve its membership. It also hopes to expand its public offerings.
"I'd like to see the AMS become involved in the lives of both the campus and the community," said Executive Director Robert Judd. "Presenting or sponsoring events, like colloquia and public lectures, for example, that would inform or educate people about the music they love. I'd like to work with the College to see that take shape."
The move from Penn was precipitated by the recent appointment of Judd's wife, Cristle Collins Judd, as Bowdoin's new dean for academic affairs.
According to AMS President Elaine Sisman, writing in the February AMS newsletter, "The decision to leave Philadelphia after nearly fifty years was not taken lightly by the Board; after careful deliberation it voted unanimously to approve the change. We are confident that Bob Judd and his staff will make the transition as seamless as possible."
The AMS office is located in the Boody-Johnson House, 256 Maine Street. Judd confirmed that the move, completed last month, has not disrupted the organization's operations. "We're fairly independent. Operations have turned more and more electronic, and much of what we do is Web-based."
The American Musicological Society serves its members and the community at large through the publication of the AMS Journal, published three times a year and featuring articles on music scholarship; an annual meeting, attended by about half of its more than 3,600 members ("We get together and talk about music for four days, on every topic under the sun," explained Judd); and a professional development system overseen by various committees (such as publications, awards, and career-related issues). The AMS has taken a leading role in promoting musical scholarship through fellowships (it currently offers five full fellowships for graduate study) and awards, including prestigious awards recognizing the most outstanding books and articles published each year.
The Society is also in the midst of its OPUS (Opening Paths to Unlimited Scholarship) capital campaign. The AMS endowment funds research, travel, and publication for teachers, graduate students, and independent scholars.