College Music Symposium

woods_davidDavid G. Woods, University of Connecticut
General Editor, College Music Symposium


The original COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM began in 1960 and has been the premiere journal of The College Music Society, if not the entire music profession in Higher Education, since that time. Donald M. McCorkle, the first Editor of SYMPOSIUM, noted in his inaugural editor’s message that the Society, “hoped for a different sort of scholarly journal—a provocative journal—to cut across lines of specialization, to be a literary forum for discussing ideas and problems relating to college music. Whether this be in the liberal arts college or the professional music school, and whether the musician concerned be musicologist or composer, theorist or conductor, pianist or singer, music educator or administrator.”  To conclude his Editor’s Message, McCorkle noted that the “College Music Symposium addresses itself with optimism and vigor.”

For its first fifty years, SYMPOSIUM primarily included scholarly articles and reviews. At times, SYMPOSIUM also included abstracts of conferences and reports of music events. After SYMPOSIUM  developed, other publications emerged in CMS to meet the various needs of CMS members. These included a Newsletter, a Reports Series, the Music Vacancy List, Conference Proceedings, and two popular series of printed books in American Music.

CMS has evolved through the years in it use of technology to gather, manage, and disseminate information. Many of us remember the days prior to the Internet when the Music Vacancy List arrived in our mailboxes each month. As the years went by, CMS responded to tax laws and court decisions concerning publication efforts. For about five years, the Directory of Music Faculties and the MVL were owned and managed by a subsidiary corporation of the Society, CMS Publications, Inc. The publication efforts of CMS were dramatically expanded in those years and their current technological foundations laid. When the tax laws and tax codes changed at the dawn of the Internet, CMS was in a perfect position to bring publications back into the fold and to integrate them into the mainstream of its service offerings.

There have been many changes over the years in the publications of the Society. McCorkle’s vision and the need that it addresses still resonates deeply. So it was with renewed “optimism and vigor” that we launched, during the 2013 calendar year, a web-based Symposium for Society members, the music communiity, Higher Education, and the public.  This new SYMPOSIUM provides a forum through which all musicians and the general public can interact and communicate. As a part of its mission, SYMPOSIUM recognizes the richness of musical diversity and the challenge of balancing the traditions of the past with the possibilities of the future, and shares the fruits of music research and creative activity, develops and enhances music instruction, celebrates the importance of teaching, and fosters the continuing education and renewal of the public and musicians and scholars.

SYMPOSIUMin its on-line form at—has successfully completed its launch and quiet phases during which both its underlying technology and editorial processes have been refined and completed. At the meeting of the Board of Editors in St. Louis on November 1, 2014, the next steps for SYMPOSIUM were discussed including the refinement of the SYMPOSIUM title, the development of important marketing plans, and the inauguration of Digital Object Identifiers.

This annual report summarizes the growth and the development of the constituent parts of the new structure of the SYMPOSIUM. It also provides a blue print for the next phase of SYMPOSIUM as we continually look to refine the journal and expand its effectiveness.  I am pleased to report the release of the following work during 2014: