About ECS Publishing
Incorporated in 1993 in Boston, Massachusetts, ECS Publishing is the parent company of E.C. Schirmer Music Company, Galaxy Music Corporation, Highgate Press, Ione Press, and the record label, ARSIS Audio.
E.C. Schirmer Music Company remains one of a few American independent classical music publishers in business today. Although it was founded in Boston in 1921 by Ernest C. Schirmer (nephew of music publisher Gustav Schirmer), there has never been a direct relationship between the E.C. Schirmer and G. Schirmer music companies. The company remained in the hands of the Schirmer family until 1985, when Robert Schuneman became the principal owner and President.
About Galaxy Music Corporation
Galaxy Music Corporation, an American publishing house of 20th century classical music, was founded in 1930 by Marshall Kernochan, a cultivated New Yorker who had a great love of classical music. Though not professionally trained, Marshall Kernochan was an accomplished pianist and a composer of light ballades and art songs. He knew very little about music publishing, but he was able to engage George Maxwell as managing editor of the new publishing firm. Maxwell had held a very high position in the American branch of Ricordi & Company, the prestigious Italian publishing house, and over the years had made valuable contacts with major music publishers in this country and abroad. Early on he secured for Galaxy the U.S. agencies of three important European publishers: Chester, the English publisher of Manuel deFalla; Adolphe Fuerstner Ltd., the German publisher of Richard Strauss; and Editions Russes de Musique, the Russian publisher of the early 20th century ballets of Igor Stravinsky. Clearly, it was an auspicious beginning for the new music publishing firm. Tragically, George Maxwell died six months after Galaxy began operations, and without him at the helm, each of the three European firms soon severed their relationships with Galaxy.
To replace George Maxwell, Marshall Kernochan engaged A. Walter Kramer as the company's managing editor. Kramer, a former editor of Musical America, was a solid musician and a composer primarily of choral and vocal music. For the next 25 years under Kramer's editorial direction, the Galaxy catalogue was predominately devoted to choral octavos and music for solo voice and to a lesser degree sacred organ music. It was a well-respected publishing house in those fields and had in its catalogue several highly acclaimed American choral and vocal composers. Among these were Katherine K. Davis (K. K. Davis), in those years the dean of American women composers of choral music, and John Work, a composer renowned for his arrangements of African/American spirituals, several of which were used in the musical score for the ballet Revelations, the signature ballet for the past 50 years of the famed Alvin Ailey Dance Company. An interesting connection at Galaxy in those early years between Marshall Kernochan and the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius developed out of their mutual devotion to the Order of Masonic Lodges; they called each other brother. Sibelius composed several choral works for Galaxy including the hymn Onward Ye Peoples, which with orchestral accompaniment was premiered at the 1939 New York World's Fair. A simple arrangement of Onward Ye Peoples sold tens of thousands of copies in those early years and was probably sung by almost every American school child. (Those were the years when singing in the classroom was routine in American public schools.)
In 1955 Marshall Kernochan died and his son John took over the company. John Kernochan, like his father, was passionately devoted to classical music. An accomplished flutist and a member of several madrigal groups, he was a frequent concertgoer to the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera and was as familiar with the orchestral and operatic literature as well as many musicians. He was also a young law professor at Columbia University who would become an internationally recognized authority on intellectual property.
Galaxy Music Corporation was very fortunate to have as its new owner a man whose profession involved copyright law and whose favorite avocation was classical music. The younger Kernochan wanted to expand Galaxy's role as a music publisher beyond the fields of choral and vocal music. To implement that goal he hired the young American composer Robert Ward as the company's new managing editor. Ward was well respected as a composer of symphonic and operatic music and as an administrator at the Juilliard School had acquired considerable executive skills. His primary goal was to bring into the company new compositional talent, particularly composers of orchestral, operatic and instrumental music. Among those were William Bergsma, Douglas Moore, Otto Luening, Vladimir Uussachevsky and Richard Peaslee. To be able to publish those composers who belonged to the performing rights society Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), Galaxy, which was an exclusively ASCAP company, formed a BMI affiliate, Highgate Press.
Lohn Kernochan was eager to insure that Galaxy maintain its fine reputation in sacred and secular choral music, and among the new choral composers added to the catalogue were Gordon Young, Eugene Butler, Gerald Kechley and Alice Parker, who in the mid-20th century had taken over the mantle from K.K. Davis as America's most well-known woman composer of choral music.
In the burgeoning field of educational music Galaxy launched two projects. It acquired the copyright of the advanced violin studies entitled Cotemporary Violin Technique by Ivan Galamian, the legendary violin teacher at the Juilliard School. In building technique this two volume set would become invaluable for aspiring young violin virtuosi. As well, Galaxy published a series of early grade piano instruction books by Donald Waxman, composer and piano pedagogue. The series, entitled Pageants for Piano, broke new ground in the highly competitive field of beginner piano methods in its use of gradated short pieces written in a contemporary harmonic and rhythmic language rather than a traditional one. The books were enhanced with whimsical illustrations by two of America's foremost illustrators of children's books, Alice and Martin Provenson. These educational publications gave Galaxy an entree into many retail music dealers, where the company had not before had a presence.
In the early 1960's John Kernochan bought the English firm of Augener, an old, well established company that like G. Schirmer in America had published virtually the entire 18th and 19th century piano, instrumental and chamber music literature. The firm had also published orchestral music of Gustav Holst, John Ireland and Frederick Delius. Galaxy had previously become the U.S. agent for Stainer & Bell, an English firm noteworthy for its large catalogue of English renaissance music as well as the early orchestral scores of Ralph Vaughn Williams, including the Sea Symphony, the London Symphony, Fantasia on Christmas Carols and Five Mystical Songs. These works of Vaughn Williams along with those of Holst, Delius and Ireland added considerable prestige to Galaxy's expanding orchestral rental library.
In 1963 Robert Ward's new opera The Crucible, based on the Arthur Miller play, was premiered by the New York City Center Opera Company to immediate critical acclaim and won the Pulitzer Prize in music for that year. It was published by Highgate/Galaxy and over the years has become one of the most frequently performed American operas in this country and abroad. In 1965 Ward left Galaxy to become president of the North Carolina School of the Arts and, several years later Donald Waxman was appointed managing editor of the firm. In this role he furthered the mission of his predecessor. New composers were added to the catalogue, established ones such as George Perle, Seymour Barab and George Rochberg and emerging young composers such as Robert Xavier Rodriguez, Bruce Adolphe and Allen Shawn. A joint publication series of contemporary American chamber music was created between Galaxy and the Columbia University Press. Many new piano educational works were published, most notably compositions by the pedagogue Margaret Goldston. The popular Pageants series was expanded to include collections of recital pieces, etudes and piano ensembles.
Galaxy's art director was Adelaide Kernochan, the wife of the president. Many of the covers she designed for Galaxy publications received Paul Revere awards, which are given annually by the Music Publishers Association (MPA) for graphic and artistic excellence.
In the early 1980's Professor Kernochan conceived of and launched a unique series of anthologies of sacred and secular renaissance vocal music, a genre he loved. The series was entitled Renaissance Voices and its editors included such renowned early music specialists as Denis Stevens, Jerome Roche and John Steele. These handsomely engraved anthologies of motets by Lassus and madrigals by the great figures Marenzio and Gesualdo as well as less familiar ones, such as d'lndia and Gagliano, were widely acclaimed within the rapidly expanding early music movement of the post war years.
By the mid nineteen-eighties, in just over 5O years from its founding, Galaxy Music Corporation had built a reputation as a fiercely independent publishing house, one that had maintained a standard of excellence in the quality of its music and in the engraving and graphics of its orchestral, opera, instrumental, choral and educational publications. It had the unusual distinction of being best known as a publisher of contemporary American concert music and of renaissance English and Italian vocal ensemble music, two historical periods that are three centuries apart.
In 1989, nearing retirement from Columbia University Law School. Professor Kernochan decided to sell Galaxy Music Corporation and Highgate Press. He feared that after he passed away the company would be sold to a publishing house that might not maintain Galaxy's high standards or keep its catalogue intact. He chose to sell Galaxy to the E.C. Schirmer Company of Boston, a company that was in many ways very much like Galaxy. It, too, had been founded in the early twentieth century and had remained in the ownership of one family, a branch of the well-known Schirmer family of New York. As well, like Galaxy, it had built a catalogue largely of choral music, a catalogue that was even larger than Galaxy's and contained best-selling choral publications of some of America's most renowned 20th century composers. At the time the E.C. Schirmer Company had recently been bought by its music editor Robert Schuneman. His immediate goal was to modernize the business and production sides of the company's operation so as to bring it in line with the technical advances that were overtaking book and music publishing in the late 20th century. The original E.C. Schirmer Company, its affiliates and the new Galaxy acquisition were combined under a new name, ECS Publishing.
Thus, Galaxy's legacy and its fine catalogue have remained intact and are in the competent hands of an outstanding music publishing company that has as its proud logo, "Committed to the Composer's Craft."
-Donald Waxman, March 15, 2014