American Composers Orchestra


Francis Goelet, champion of new music



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concert schedule

The Francis Goelet Legacy

Francis Goelet, who died in 1998, was a true believer in the development of new music, Goelet was a longtime friend and supporter of ACO, as well as other leading music organizations including the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and New World Records. Over the years, Goelet underwrote the commissioning and production of more new American orchestral music and opera than any other individual.

Among the composers he helped champion are many of this century's most respected: Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter, Roger Sessions, Toru Takemitsu, Luciano Berio, George Rochberg, Jacob Druckman, William Schuman, Ellen Zwilich, David Diamond, Steve Reich, John Zorn and Richard Danielpour to name a few.

Goelet was a generous donor to ACO commencing with the orchestra's tenth anniversary in 1986. His support allowed ACO to commission more than 20 new works by mostly young and emerging composers (listed below) whose pieces have helped define not only ACO's mission and commitment to American music, but have richly contributed to the repertoire of American symphonic music. Since Mr. Goelet's passing, the Estate of Francis Goelet has continued to support new music and commissions at ACO.

Mostly recently, the Goelet Estate provided ACO with a leaderhip grant to support the production of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra, performed by ACO at Carnegie Hall on April 6, 2003. This is a musical work which Goelet had more than a passing interest in. The opera was originally commissioned with the support of Francis Goelet, for the opening of the Metropolitan Opera House in 1966. And when the premiere performance was widely panned, it was Goelet who approached Barber a second time with the offer to re-commissioned a newly revised version of the opera, which was performed at the Juilliard School in 1975.

Francis Goelet was a man who understood that great art isn't made overnight, but that it must be nurtured, encouraged, supported and cherished.

After Mr. Goelet died, ACO dedicated its September 27, 1998 concert to his memory. ACO is greatful for the continued support of his estate, which keeps the living legacy of new American music alive and well.

Francis Goelet/ACO Commissions

David Diamond—Symphony No. 9
Leonard Bernstein, conductor
November 17, 1985

Milton Babbitt—Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
Charles Wuorinen, conductor; Alan Feinberg, piano
January 19, 1986

Shulamit Ran—Concerto for Orchestra
Catherine Comet, conductor
February 1, 1987

Aaron Jay Kernis—Invisible Mosaic III
Stanislaw Strowaczewski, conductor
February 5, 1988

Anthony Davis—Notes from the Underground
Paul Lustig Dunkel, conductor;
Joseph Passaro, percussion
April 24, 1988

Tania León—Kabiosile
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor;
Ursula Oppens, piano
December 6, 1988

Robert Hall Lewis—Symphony No. 4
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
October 28, 1990

Michael Torke—Bronze for piano and orchestra
David Zinman, conductor;
Michael Torke, piano
January 6, 1991

Wayne Peterson—Widening Gyre
Paul Lustig Dunkel, conductor
February 10, 1991

Daniel Asia—Black Light
Lawrence Leighton Smith, conductor
October 13, 1991

Arthur Kreiger—Riverside Variations
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
May 3, 1992

Richard Wernick—Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor;
Ràscher Saxophone Quartet
November 8, 1992

Roger Reynolds—Dreaming
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
January 10, 1993

Shelia Silver—Three Preludes for Orchestra
Paul Lustig Dunkel, conductor
March 21, 1993

Gan-ru Ge—Chinese Rhapsody
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
March 20, 1994

David Felder—a pressure triggering dreams
Paul Lustig Dunkel, conductor
May 11, 1997

Ingram Marshall—Kingdom Come
Paul Lustig Dunkel, conductor
November 2, 1997

Sebastian Currier—Microsymph
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
December 7, 1997

Robert Ashley—When Famous Last Words Fail You
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor; Thomas Buckner, baritone;
Sam Ashley, Jacqueline Humbert, Joan LaBarbara, chorus; Tom Hamilton, electronics
December 7, 1997

Augusta Read Thomas—Brass Axis
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
Ràscher Saxophone Quartet
January 11, 1998

Muhal Richard Abrams—Tomorrow's Song as Yesterday Sings Today
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
January 9, 2000

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