American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is proud to announce its 33rd concert season, which includes three Orchestra Underground centerpiece concerts presented by Carnegie Hall in Zankel Hall (November 30, January 29, April 9), the 19th annual Underwood New Music Readings at Miller Theatre at Columbia University (May 21 and 22), the Composers OutFront! series featuring composer-performers at informal venues throughout New York City, plus a performance at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia (January 30). ACO continues championing inventive new American orchestral music during its 2009–10 season, which includes seven commissions, eight world premieres, and several U.S., New York, and Philadelphia premieres. Composers featured this season include Curt Cacioppo, Sebastian Currier, Paquito D’Rivera, Michael Fiday, Donal Fox, Erin Gee, John Korsrud, Missy Mazzoli, Huang Ruo, Roger Zare, Charles Ives, and Louis Andriessen. The season’s conductors will be Stefan Lano, Anne Manson, and Jeffrey Milarsky.
ACO’s 2009–10 concert season continues the ensemble’s exploration of the orchestra as the fulcrum of multimedia performance with the premiere of rising-star composer Erin Gee’s Mouthpiece XIII: Mathilde of Loci, Part 1, with video by Colin Gee, featuring electronically processed voice and live actor; and the premiere of the orchestral version of Sebastian Currier’s New Orleans-inspired Next Atlantis, with video by Pawel Wojtasik. The season also features several premieres of works by composers reacting to or inspired by specific people and events in the world around them – in addition to Currier’s Next Atlantis, notably Michael Fiday’s HST: In memoriam Hunter S. Thompson, Paquito D’Rivera’s Conversations with Cachao, and a new work by Curt Cacioppo lamenting the destruction caused by Native American relocation policies. Finally, ACO will showcase orchestral music by composers who have incorporated diverse influences in their work ranging from jazz and Americana, to Chinese musical styles and Cuban folk traditions. As always, the ensemble continues its mission of commissioning both young emerging composers and those deserving of their first “big break” who have not yet had the opportunity to compose in such a large format.
ACO's Orchestra Underground
Orchestra Underground is ACO’s subversive and entrepreneurial exploration of the orchestra as an elastic ensemble that can respond to composers’ unhindered creativity in experimental and innovative ways. The ensemble has embraced new technology, eclectic instruments and influences, spatial orientation, new experiments in concert format, and multimedia and multi-disciplinary collaborations. Since the opening of Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall’s subterranean state-of-the-art auditorium, Orchestra Underground has played to sold-out audiences, with 50 world premieres and newly commissioned works.
Nov. 30, 2009, at 7:30pm.
On Monday, November 30 at 7:30pm, ACO will present "Traditions and Transmigrations" at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall. The concert celebrates the blending and juxtaposition of traditions, and the journey involves in any exploration of new musical territory. The program includes the world premiere of new works commissioned by ACO from Curt Cacioppo, Erin Gee, and Donal Fox; the New York premiere of Huang Ruo's Leaving Sao; and a performance of Charles Ives' Tone Raods Nos. 1 and 3. Stefan Lano makes his Carnegie Hall debut as guest conductor.
Curt Cacioppo, a composer who “has fashioned a rich language which gives him the flexibility and range with which to say what he believes in musically, emotionally, spiritually” (Academy of Arts and Letters), describes his ACO-commissioned work, When the Orchard Dances Ceased, as “a meditation, or a lamentation, on the destruction of the Navajo peach orchards in Canyon de Chelly during the 1860’s, part of a scorched earth/forced relocation policy carried out against the tribe by the government.… The souls of those trees will be given voice in what I write.” Cacioppo is the Ruth Marshall Magill Professor of Music at Haverford College near Philadelphia. Trained from an early age as a pianist, he holds music degrees from Kent State University, New York University, and Harvard University. For more information and audio, visit http://curtcacioppo.com.
Erin Gee's musical output has largely revolved around her unique and fascinating vocal experiments, which she often uses two microphones to produce. According to the website Kultur Steiermark, “Erin Gee’s music defies a simple description. Often, an impression of ephemeral, fragile poetry is formed from the gossamer-quality of the work, which continually aspires to plumb the possibilities of the human voice...” In recent years Ms. Gee has worked with her brother, Colin Gee, a filmmaker and actor who previously worked with Cirque du Soleil and who has recently been an actor-in-residence at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her new multimedia work for ACO, Mouthpiece XIII: Mathilde of Loci, Part 1, will meld video created by Mr. Gee (who will also perform live), electronically processed voice, and Ms. Gee as vocal soloist, with the orchestra. Mouthpiece XIII: Mathilde of Loci, Part 1 is based on a fictionalized account of the life of Matteo Ricci, proponent of the Memory Palace or the Method of Loci, a mnemonic technique. Erin Gee currently lives in Austria, where she completed her Ph.D. in music theory from the University of Music and Dramatic Arts Graz in 2007. The commission and performance of Erin Gee's new work is made possible by a new collaboration between ACO and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc., which shares ACO's commitment to emerging American artists. For more information and audio, visit www.erin-gee.com.
Donal Fox is a composer, pianist, and improviser in jazz and classical music who served as the first African-American composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony. He is the Martin Luther King Visiting Artist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the 2009–10 academic year. In the 2003–04 season, he was a featured concert artist with ACO’s Improvise! Festival, for which he gave the New York premiere performance of T.J. Anderson’s piano concerto Boogie Woogie Concertante. His new work will be a concerto for improvised piano and orchestra, featuring the composer as soloist. Fox will have spontaneous interactive dialogue with the orchestra and the conductor on the musical material presented by the orchestra (fully notated) in a real-time narrative and commentary. He has made numerous recordings, and his works are published by Margun Music, G. Schirmer and Leonellis Music. For more information and audio, visit www.leonellismusic.com.
Huang Ruo, originally from Hainan Island, China, was a participant in ACO’s 2002 emerging composer readings. A composer with the unique ability to blend traditional Chinese styles with Western music, Huang will perform as vocal soloist in his work Leaving Sao in a version for high male voice “in folk style,” an unusual sound for Western ears. Composed in 2001, the work will receive its New York premiere on this program. Although the title was taken from a poem written by poet Qu Yuan (fourth century B.C.) from the ancient kingdom of Chu, the composer has written an original poem with the same title in a modern form and literal use of words. Huang moved to the U.S. in 1995 and holds a B.M. from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and M.M and D.M.A. degrees in composition from the Juilliard School. Huang is currently a member of the composition faculty at SUNY Purchase. For more information and audio, visit www.huangruo.com.
ACO's performance of Charles Ives' Tone Roads Nos. 1 and 3 in this concert provide a touchstone of iconic Americana. Optimistic, idealistic, fiercely democratic, Ives unified the voice of the American people with the forms and traditions of European classical music. The result, in his most far-reaching work, is like nothing ever imagined before him: music at once unique and as familiar as a tune whistled in childhood, music that can conjure up the pandemonium of a small-town Fourth of July or the quiet of a New England church, music of visionary spirituality built from the humblest materials – an old gospel hymn, a patriotic tune, a sentimental parlor song. For more information, visit www.charlesives.org.
Conductor Stefan Lano makes his ACO and Carnegie Hall debut with this concert. He served as the music director of the Teatro Colón from 2005 to 2008. He began conducting through his work as composer and after an extensive tenure on the music staff of the Vienna State Opera. The 1976 premiere of his Sinfonie Nr. 1 (Yuval) at the Newport Music Festival afforded him his initial experience in the symphonic genre, both as composer and conductor. After completing degrees in composition at Oberlin College, he was awarded a full scholarship for study at Harvard University, from which he holds a Ph.D. in composition. Following the first South American performances of the complete version of Alban Berg’s Lulu, Lano was invited to inaugurate the 1993 season of the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In 1988, he was appointed Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for three seasons prior to returning to Europe. He has won critical and public acclaim with a diverse repertoire at major musical centers in Europe, Japan, Canada, South America and the United States of America. For more information, visit www.stefanlano.com.
January 29, 2010 at 7:30PM.
Orchestra Underground's "Conversations" is an exploration of the new muical dialogues possible when multimedia and electronics are combined with a live, vibrant orchestra. The concert includes the world premiere of Time-Lapse by Roger Zare, commissioned by ACO through its Underwood New Muisc Readings program: the world premiere of Sebastian Currier's Next Atlantis for orchestra, electronics, and video; and the New York premiere of Paquito D'Rivera's Conversations with Cachao. Anne Manson will be the conductor.
Roger Zare won the ACO 2008 Underwood Emerging Composer Commission with his work Green Flash, for which he also received a BMI Young Composer Award in 2007. According to conductor Anne Manson, “Roger is an exciting and sophisticated young composer and a wonderful orchestrator. It will be fascinating to see how he develops over time.” His new work, Time-Lapse, will be a fifteen-minute essay for orchestra, focusing on coloristic possibilities and dramatic gestures. Originally from Sarasota, FL, Zare started composing at age fourteen, writing a composition for string orchestra that was premiered by the Pine View School Chamber Symphony in Sarasota. His music has also been performed by the Pine View Chorus, the Shawnee Mission Northwest High School Orchestras, the Florida West Coast Symphony, ensembles at the Sarasota Music Festival, the Santa Monica Symphony Wind Quintet, and the USC Thornton Symphony and Wind Ensemble. He recently completed his M.M. in composition at the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Christopher Theofanidis, and will begin doctoral studies at the University of Michigan in the fall. He holds a B.M. in composition from the University of Southern California. For more information and audio, visit www.rogerzare.com.
Sebastian Currier, whose work Microsymph was commissioned and premiered by ACO in 1997, will realize the orchestral version of Next Atlantis, a multimedia piece with video by Pawel Wojtasik, that the composer originally envisioned for string quartet. Inspired by New Orleans, Next Atlantis weaves together sounds of water, elegiac strains for strings, murmurings of Dixieland, and visual depictions of an imagined future when the city is but a collective memory, having been fully submerged by the rising sea. Currier holds a D.M.A. from the Juilliard School and taught at Columbia University from 1998 to 2007. Among his many awards are the 2007 Grawemeyer Award, the Berlin Prize, Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and residencies at the MacDowell and Yaddo colonies. For more information and audio, visit www.sebastiancurrier.com.
Paquito D'Rivera Conversations with Cachao (2007) is an homage to the Cuban mambo star and bassist Israel “Cachao” López, and is built on elements of Cuban traditional music. Conceived as a double concerto for contrabass, clarinet/alto sax & orchestra, it comprises three movements: Israel (Cachao’s first name), Guajira (a Cuban folk form) and The Return (a fantasy on the mind of every exiled). ACO’s performance will feature the composer on alto saxophone and clarinet, and Robert Black on double bass. D’Rivera is the winner of nine GRAMMY Awards, and is celebrated for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. Born in Havana, Cuba, he performed at age ten with the National Theater Orchestra, studied at the Havana Conservatory of Music and, at seventeen, became a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony. As a founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, he directed that group for two years, while at the same time playing the clarinet and saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he was a founding member and co-director of the innovative musical ensemble Irakere. With its explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical, and traditional Cuban music never before heard, Irakere toured extensively throughout America and Europe. For more information, visit www.paquitodrivera.com.
Conductor Anne Manson is recognized throughout the world for her conducting achievements and is a passionate advocate of music of the present. She was the first woman to conduct at the Salzburg Festival, where she led the Vienna Philharmonic and a cast that included Samuel Ramey and Philip Langridge in a production of Boris Godunov, which met with great critical acclaim. Manson has served as music director of the Kansas City Symphony (1999–2003). She launched her career in 1988 as Music Director of the London-based Mecklenburgh Opera, where over a span of eight years she programmed operas ranging from Mozart to 20th-century rarities, while commissioning world premieres from a host of contemporary composers. Manson’s first appearance with ACO was as one of the conductors for the 2008 Underwood New Music Readings, during which she conducted Roger Zare’s Green Flash. For more information, visit www.annemanson.com.
April 9, 2010, at 7:30pm.
"Louis & the Young Americans" illustrates composer Louis Andriessen's influence on the next generation of North American composers by showcasing the music of three of his recent students – Missy Mazzoli, Michael Fiday, and John Korsrud – in world premieres commissioned by ACO. The concert, a rare look at the American impact of this Dutch composer, will also include Andriessen's Symphony for Open Strings and will be conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky. The concert kicks off a month-long celbration of Andriessen's music at Carnegie Hall.
Louis Andriessen, current holder of Carnegie Hall's Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair, is widely regarded as the leading composer working in the Netherlands today and is a central figure in the international new music scene. His works are a mirror of American music and are eclectic, anti-establishment, and often employ American vernacular, jazz, and cinema music. His Symphony for Open Strings is written for twelve string players, each with altered tuning, so that, as the composer explains, “the ensemble has all the chromatic tones over a range of nearly four octaves at its disposal, but for a melody of four consecutive tones four players are required.” Andriessen studied at the Hague Conservatory with his father and Kees van Baaren, with further studies in Milan and Berlin with Luciano Berio. For more information, visit www.boosey.com.
Missy Mazzoli's These Worlds In Us was originally composed in 2006 and was selected for the Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute and Readings that same year. It was chosen for a second performance by the Minnesota Orchestra the following year. Aaron Jay Kernis, Minnesota Orchestra’s composer-in-residence, says, “These Worlds in Us was an audience favorite at the Orchestra’s 2006 Future Classics concert...” The performance by ACO will be the world premiere of a version re-orchestrated for Orchestra Underground. Mazzoli studied composition at Boston University. In 2002 she received a Fulbright grant and traveled to the Netherlands, where she studied with Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. In 2006 she received her M.M. at the Yale School of Music. Mazzoli is also an active pianist and often performs with Victoire, an ensemble she founded in 2008. She is executive director of MATA, a non-profit organization dedicated to commissioning and presenting works by young composers from around the world. For more information and audio, visit www.missymazzoli.com.
Michael Fiday's music has been described as “clearly structured, colorful and unflaggingly compelling work” (Philadelphia Inquirer). His new work for ACO, HST: In Memoriam Hunter S. Thompson, will be a portrayal of the “full-spectrum” of the journalist and author, taking into account the contradictions inherent in this fabled American iconoclast and embedding musical elements into the work that reflect the times that affected and shaped the man. Fiday began his musical training as a violinist at age eleven, turning his attention to composing a few years later. He studied composition at Univ. of Colorado and the Univ. of Pennsylvania, and with Andriessen in Amsterdam under the auspices of a Fulbright Grant. Fiday is the recipient of numerous awards, grants and residencies from, among others, BMI, ASCAP, American Composers Forum, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council. He is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the College-Conservatory of Music at University of Cincinnati. For more information, visit www.michaelfiday.com.
John Korsrud hails from Vancouver, BC, and is a composer and trumpet player. His new work will be informed by his experimental music and jazz. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1990, was a frequent participant at The Banff Centre between 1984 and 1994, and studied composition with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the Netherlands from 1995 to 1997. He is the leader and principle composer of the 17-piece Hard Rubber Orchestra, a highly active jazz/new music ensemble that has toured to Europe and Canada, released two CDs, and is the recipient of Canada’s largest arts prize, The Alcan Arts Award. For more information and audio, visit www.johnkorsrud.com.
Jeffrey Milarsky, a former ACO percussionist and frequent conductor, is a leading conductor of contemporary music in New York City. In the U.S. and abroad, he has premiered and recorded works by contemporary composers, including Charles Wuorinen, Fred Lerdahl, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Lasse Thoresen, Gerard Grisey, Jonathan Dawe, Tristan Murail, Ralph Shapey, Luigi Nono, Mario Davidovsky, and Wolfgang Rihm. Milarsky is professor in music at Columbia University, where he is the music director/conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra. Also at Columbia University, Mr. Milarsky is the music director and conductor of the Manhattan Sinfonietta, which concentrates on 20th- and 21st-century scores. He is also on the faculty of The Manhattan School of Music as artistic director and conductor of the percussion ensemble and directs AXIOM, Juilliard’s newest contemporary music ensemble.
& Saturday, May 21 & 22, 2010
ACO will hold its 19th Annual Underwood New Music Readings for emerging composers Friday and Saturday, May 21–22, 2010, in Miller Theatre at Columbia University. In what has become a rite of passage for aspiring orchestral composers, up to six composers from throughout the United States will be selected to receive a reading of a new work, and one composer will be selected to receive a $15,000 commission for a work to be performed by ACO during an upcoming season. Each participating composer receives a rehearsal, reading, and a digital recording of his or her work. Review and feedback sessions with ACO principal players, mentor-composers, guest conductors, and industry representatives provide crucial artistic, technical, and conceptual assistance. To date, more than 100 composers have participated in the New Music Readings, including such award-winning composers as Melinda Wagner, Derek Bermel, Randall Woolf, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and Jennifer Higdon.
The proceedings are open to the public free of charge, and will take in a new schedule format so as to be more convenient for the general public: The first day of Readings will be presented from 10 am to 12:30pm on Friday, May 21; and the second day of Readings will take place on Saturday evening, May 22, at 8pm, during which all selected pieces will be performed in their entirety. ACO’s artistic director, Robert Beaser, directs the readings. George Manahan and José Serebrier are guest conductors. Mentor composers are Derek Bermel and George Tsontakis. The deadline for composers interested in applying to the Underwood New Music Readings is Friday, December 4, 2009. Application guidelines and other information are available at www.americancomposers.org/nmr/.
Composers OutFront! puts composers on the stage and gives audiences context for their music prior to upcoming premieres with ACO. Four Composers OutFront! events will be presented at venues throughout New York City during the 2009-10 season. The featured composer-performers will be Donal Fox in a solo piano performance, Erin Gee in a concert demonstrating her innovative work as a vocalist, John Korsrud in a jazz performance, and Missy Mazzoli with her band Victoire. Dates and locations will be announced in September at www.americancomposers.org.
Subscriptions for the Orchestra Underground concerts in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall are currently available for $105 or $135 and can be purchased at CarnegieCharge 212-247-7800, www.carnegiehall.org, or at the Carnegie Hall Box Office. Single tickets are priced at $38 or $48, and go on sale to the public September 10.
For ACO's concert at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, subscriptions and tickets are available by calling 215-898-3900 or online at www.pennpresents.org.
Major support of American Composers Orchestra is provided by The Achelis Foundation, Amphion Foundation, Arlington Associates, ASCAP, ASCAP Foundation, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, BMI, BMI Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Edward T. Cone Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Fromm Music Foundation, GAP Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, John and Evelyn Kossak Foundation, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc, Meet The Composer, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Virgil Thomson Foundation, Paul Underwood Charitable Trust, The Isak and Rose Weinman Foundation and The Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.