The Philadelphia Music Teachers Association was organized as a local music teachers association in 1891. Theodore Presser, teacher and music publisher, founded the organization to promote the professional interests of teachers and improve the quality of teaching. In 1912, PhMTA launched a campaign to attract music students to the city by publicizing its cultural events. A rally meeting was held the following year for the purpose of discussing the protection of the business interests of teachers. The organization met monthly during the winter months to discuss music and education with noted speakers and artists. These activities were reviewed in the Etude magazine.
At annual dinners, eminent civic leaders and prominent musicians were invited to speak and perform. Among these guests were Percy Grainger, Victor Herbert, John Phillip Sousa and Joseph Levine. An article in a 1935 issue of the Etude reported that a new activity, The Little Recital Hour (an unauditioned student performance recital), had been initiated. This activity continued until 1963.
In 1960, the Board reorganized the association’s program and developed the format we follow today. We offer the Dr. Andor Kiszely Solo, Concerto and Ensemble Recitals which require an audition. In 1989 the organization voted to join the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), which offers expanded opportunities for PhMTA’s members and their students to participate in regional and national fesitivals and competitions. The Dorothy Sutton Performance Festival is held as a preliminary performance in which students are evaluated by an adjudicator. If the student is evaluated as well prepared, they may go on to the State competitions.
Members meet in the homes of other members to perform for each other in an informal Salon Musicale. Members performance recitals, lectures and board meetings are held at Jacobs Music in Philadelphia.