16 ii 1998
In November 1984, fourteen composers of electroacoustic music gathered at the California Institute of the Arts just north of Los Angeles. They were there to consider the establishment of a national society for electroacoustic music to represent the US in the International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music (ICEM/CIME). It was at CalArts that the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) was born.
Since then, SEAMUS has become an important professional society for composers, performers, educators and students of electroacoustic music in the US and around the world. Our 400+ members include some of the most established and important composers in the field, as well as young composers just beginning to establish their careers. While SEAMUS is no longer part of ICEM/CIME, it remains the representative society for electroacoustic music in the US.
The Society's strength comes from its programs, and from its membership. All SEAMUS activities depend largely on the participation by individual members for the benefit of the membership at large. The annual National Conference, which draws about 100 to 150 members from across the country, is run primarily by the local hosts. Works included in the SEAMUS Compact Disc Series are selected by members attending the National Conference. Concerts produced as parts of ElectroAcoustic Music Week are organized and managed by individual members for the benefit of their local communities.
This sense of individual participation and control of the organization is at the heart of SEAMUS' success. Our financial base comes from membership dues, in-kind support from universities and colleges, and individual gifts. SEAMUS does not receive direct support from the US government, and receives corporate support only in the form of in kind contributions to National Conferences and events.
Despite limited sources of funds, SEAMUS has been extremely successful in providing its members with quality benefits and an atmosphere that facilitates new opportunities for performance, distribution and personal development. The JournalSEAMUS and SEAMUS Newsletter provide a wealth of information on events and opportunities happening across the US. SEAMUS On-Line, the official web site for the society, provides up-to-date information on SEAMUS-sponsored events, an on-line database of opportunities in electroacoustic music, and links to other members, organizations and web sites important to the membership. Issues of the SEAMUS Compact Disc Series are distributed free to members upon release.
Two main events mark the SEAMUS calendar: ElectroAcoustic Music Week and the SEAMUS National Conference. EAMusic Week was officially initiated last November with twenty-eight performances and events scattered across North and South America. In November 1994, SEAMUS sponsored a nationwide series of concerts, all scheduled for the tenth anniversary of the society's founding. The success of this event has led to an annual celebration of electroacoustic music sponsored and managed by local sites, but coordinated by SEAMUS. In future years, EAMusic Week will become an important performance venue for SEAMUS members, and an opportunity for local communities to organize and present concerts.
The SEAMUS National Conference is the society's crown event. This annual meeting presents a juried selection of the best and most innovative music by US composers. Each year, the meeting travels to a new city and site, this year meeting at Dartmouth College, April 16-18. Future meetings will take place in San Jose State University and the University of North Texas.
SEAMUS is not only a society to promote and present electroacoustic music. Part of our mission is to help young composers develop their skills and repertoire in electroacoustic music. SEAMUS offers a student membership rate substantially lower than the regular membership. The Society's commitment to young composers is also manifest in the ASCAP/SEAMUS Student Commissioning Program. With financial support from the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP), SEAMUS commissions a new work from a student composer who displays exceptional talent and potential at the National Conference. The commissioned work is then presented at the next conference and is automatically included in the SEAMUS CD Series.
Although SEAMUS is no longer part of any international federation, we been active in establishing bilateral relations with other national electroacoustic societies. SEAMUS and the CEC have collaborated on several projects over the past years, and had representation at our mutual conferences and events. There are some exciting possibilities for collaboration and connection between SEAMUS, CEC and other national societies that may be announced over the next few years.
SEAMUS' success is rooted in its membership. Full membership is open to anyone who is a US citizen or legal resident. An Associate Membership, with all the benefits of full membership except voting, is available to anyone regardless of nationality or residency.
We are membership driven, member run and member focused. We succeed without government support because we carefully limit our programs and listen to our members. We remain a relevant part of our member's lives because they make us relevant.
You can find out more about SEAMUS by visiting SEAMUS On-Line: