Ostwald Award ArchivesUmbrella Collection name:
American Bandmasters Association Research Center
Individual Collection name:
Type: Scores, recordings, and information files on the American Bandmasters Association's Ostwald Award.
Collection dates: 1956-current
Description: This collection contains recordings and scores of the pieces that have been awarded the Ostwald Award of the American Bandmasters Association.
Statement of provenance: The provenance of this collection parallels that of the ABA Research Center as a whole.
History: The Ostwald family became interested in band music in 1936, when Ernest Ostwald offered to finance for one year the New York magazine, School Music News. Together with his younger brother Adolph, Ernest immigrated to America after the First World War, and became involved in the business of manufacturing chauffeur, livery, and other types of uniforms.
The Ostward uniform manufacturing company continued to developed and by the mid-1930s the Ostwalds started to focus on band uniforms. Together with the J.C. Penney network of stores, the Ostwalds were able to expand nationally, and provide a wide selection of band uniforms to schools, universities, and various groups of amateurs or professionals interested in performing band music. While many uniform companies turned to military uniforms during World War II, the Ostwald name came to dominate the band uniform market. The Ostwalds capitalized on this success and built their own factory on Staten Island.
In 1951, the Ostwalds joined the American Bandmasters Association as one of their associate members and suppliers. Together they established the ABA/Ostwald Award, which is given to the best band composition written in the preceding year. Ernest Ostwald died in in 1956, before the first award was presented in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Since the mid-1950s, the ABA/Ostwald Award has grown in importance and prestige, and has attained a position of national and international prominence. A foundation was created to assure continued funding for the future, and today, the ABA/Ostwald Award is among the most prestigious composition prizes in the United States. This set of web pages allows you to listen to fragments of the winning music, see parts of the scores, and meet the winners through a comprehensive collection of biographies and photographs. Much of the research for this project was done by Lynne Jacobsen. Liviu Marinescu created the original web pages.
Access: Materials from this collection must be used in the Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10 to 5, Monday through Friday. Please make an appointment with the curator.