G. Schirmer, Inc.

American classical music publishing company
G. Schirmer, Inc.
A Schirmer cover page of several of Bériot's works.
Parent companyWise Music Group
Founded1861; 163 years ago (1861)
FounderGustav Schirmer Sr.
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationNew York City
Publication typesSheet music, books
Fiction genresMusic
Official websitewww.schirmer.com

G. Schirmer, Inc. is an American classical music publishing company based in New York City, founded in 1861. The oldest active music publisher in the United States,[1] Schirmer publishes sheet music for sale and rental, and represents some well-known European music publishers in North America, such as the Music Sales Affiliates ChesterNovello, Breitkopf & Härtel, Sikorski and many Russian and former Soviet composers' catalogs.[2]


The company was founded in 1861 in the United States by German-born Gustav Schirmer Sr. (1829–1893), the son of a German immigrant.[3] In 1891, the company established its own engraving and printing plant. The next year it inaugurated the Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics. The Musical Quarterly, the oldest academic journal on music in the U.S., was founded by Schirmer in 1915 together with musicologist Oscar Sonneck, who edited the journal until his death in 1928. In 1964, Schirmer acquired Associated Music Publishers (BMI) which had built up an important catalog of American composers including Elliott Carter, Henry Cowell, Roy Harris, Charles Ives, Walter Piston, and William Schuman, adding to a Schirmer's ASCAP roster which had already included Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Morton Gould, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Virgil Thomson, as well as composers from the earlier part of the century such as Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Dee Libbey, Charles Martin Loeffler, John Alden Carpenter, and Percy Grainger.

The company was owned by the Schirmer family for over 100 years until Macmillan, a major book publisher, purchased it in 1968. Macmillan then sold G. Schirmer (except for its reference division, now part of Cengage Learning) to its current owner, Robert Wise, in 1986, the owner of popular music publisher, Music Sales Group, Inc. According to a spokesman, the purchase price was around US$7 million.[2] The Music Sales Group changed its name to Wise Music Group in February 2020.

As the sale of Schirmer did not include The Musical Quarterly, the future of the journal remained uncertain until its transition in 1989 to publisher Oxford University Press. In 1986, Schirmer also joined with the Hal Leonard Corporation, a print distributor of jazz and popular music, who became the sole distributors of Schirmer's printed music. The last member of the family named for the founder was Gus Schirmer IV, a theatrical director, producer, and agent, who died in 1992 at the age of 73.[4]

Composers published by the company

The Schirmer/AMP catalog includes composers such as Billy Joel, John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, Gabriela Lena Frank, John Harbison, Aaron Jay Kernis, Leon Kirchner, Peter Lieberson, André Previn, Gertrude Ross, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun, Du Yun, Robert Xavier Rodriguez, and Joan Tower.[5]

The company also publishes The G. Schirmer Manual of Style and Usage. G. Schirmer is a member of the Music Sales Group of Companies, the Music Publishers Association, the National Music Publishers Association, and the Church Music Publishers Association.


  1. ^ Ramsey, Guthrey P. Jr. (Spring 1996). "Cosmopolitan or Provincial?: Ideology in Early Black Music Historiography, 1867–1940". Black Music Research Journal. 16 (1): 21. doi:10.2307/779375. JSTOR 779375.
  2. ^ a b "G. Schirmer Is Sold". New York Times. May 16, 1986. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  3. ^ Robinson, John (February 1, 2000). "Fit to Print: A "Hyperhistory" of the current state of American music publishing". New Music Box. Retrieved Dec 19, 2021.
  4. ^ "Gus Schirmer Jr., 73, a Director, Producer and Promoter of Theater". New York Times. June 13, 1992. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  5. ^ Office, Library of Congress Copyright (1949). Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third series. p. 570.

External links

Authority control databases Edit this at Wikidata
  • ISNI
  • VIAF
  • France
  • BnF data
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • United States
  • MusicBrainz label
  • RISM