Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc., which records under the label New World Records, was founded in 1975 as a Bicentennial project of the Rockefeller Foundation. New World’s original mission was to produce a 100-disc anthology of American music encompassing the broadest possible spectrum of musical genres. The resulting set of recordings, together with their extensive liner notes, provide a core curriculum in American music and American studies. In 1978 the Anthology was completed and distributed free of charge to almost 7,000 educational and cultural institutions throughout the world, with an additional 2,000 Anthologies being sold at cost to other similar institutions. Through these recordings two hundred years of music and American cultural history were brought to life.
Like the university press, New World strives to preserve neglected treasures of the past and nurture the creative future of American music. It continues to produce recordings of music by underrepresented American composers, issuing approximately 8-10 new titles per year. Through the production of over 500 recordings some 700 American composers have been represented to date. It remains the only recording company that concentrates exclusively on America’s musical heritage, and it does so with award-winning recordings which enlist musicians and performing organizations of the highest caliber. Over the years, twenty New World titles have received Grammy Award nominations and three of them have won—Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra in 1984, Leonard Bernstein’s Candide in 1986, and Ned Rorem’s String Symphony in 1989.
In 2007 Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc. also acquired the historically significant label CRI (Composers Recordings, Inc.), which included 344 titles on compact disc and an additional 347 out-of-print LP releases that had never been reissued. All CRI albums, along with their accompanying liner notes, have since been digitized and made available for purchase “on demand” under the New World’s NWCR/NWCRL imprint, bringing the combined size of its catalog (also available at www.newworldrecords.org) to over 1,200 titles.
DRAM (www.dramonline.org) is a digital subscription service providing scholars, students and other educational communities unlimited on-demand access to the New World Records and NWCR/NWCRL catalogue(s), along with similar music from 34 partner labels/archives. The Database currently offers over 4,000 hours of recorded content for streaming, with new material being continuously added. In 2011 DRAM introduced Sound American (www.soundamerican.org), a quarterly online digest that presents material from DRAM in a less formal context. Sound American is a free-to-access resource designed to challenge the perception that new and experimental music is somehow beyond the average listener.