About Theodore Presser Company

In October 1883, with $250 in cash, Theodore Presser began publishing The Etude music magazine in Lynchburg, Virginia. The immediate success of this magazine for piano teachers prompted him to seek larger publishing facilities in Philadelphia the next year, and to invent mail-order subscriptions for national sales.

His need for repertoire for The Etude led him to publish new music, at first only in the magazine and then separately as Theodore Presser Company. Presser purchased The John Church Company (Sousa’s primary publisher) in 1930 and acquired Oliver Ditson Company in 1931. Through Ditson, Presser traces its origins to 1783, making it the oldest continuing music publisher in the United States. In 1972 Presser acquired Elkan-Vogel and its US distribution rights for European publishers including Durand, Leduc, Lemoine, and many others.

Theodore Presser

Theodore Presser (b. 1848 – d. 1925)

Covers of The Etude, left to right: 1928, 1927, 1930, 1919, 1883, 1919, 1933, 1945, 1936

Covers of The Etude, left to right: 1928, 1927, 1930, 1919, 1883, 1919, 1933, 1945, 1936

Theodore Presser formed the Presser Foundation in 1916, nine years before his death. The Presser Foundation created a retirement home for piano teachers, and 100 years later still awards scholarships and endows schools to further the cause of music education.

The Theodore Presser Company remains dedicated to carrying out the aims and goals Mr. Presser established more than a century ago: service with integrity, to music and musicians, commitment to quality, and a vision for the future.

In the 1950’s, composer George Rochberg became Presser’s editor and recruited William Schuman to join the catalog, marking the beginning of Presser’s role in American symphonic and recital music. Today Theodore Presser Company is a celebrated leader in this field. For a full list of featured composers, please visit our Composer Page.

In addition to its own catalog, Presser represents the music of more than 70 U.S. and foreign publishers.

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