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date: 04 April 2020

Society for Asian Musiclocked

  • Martin Hatch


The Society for Asian Music (SAM) was formed in 1959–60 in close association with the Asia Society. Prominent among its organizers were Paul Sherbert (president of the Asia Society), Willard Rhodes, professor of music at Columbia University (chairman of the board of SAM), and Henry Cowell, composer (president of SAM). At the society’s first public meeting, on 27 March 1960, more than 100 members enrolled. The stated purposes of the society were to “encourage and cultivate a greater understanding and knowledge of Asian music in the United States by means of lectures, discussions, concerts and recordings, and to make available in the United States authoritative books, articles, films, musical scores and similar materials” (EthM, v/1, 1961, 71–2). The initial performance sponsored by the society was the United States debut of Ravi Shankar. Subsequent to that, volunteer SAM members and Asia Society staff produced a series of monthly performances and lectures on Asian performing arts of such prominent Asian artists and scholars as Ali Akbar Khan, Chatur Lal, Kishibe Shigeo, T. Viswanathan, and ...

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