American Composers Orchestra

20th Century Snapshots - ACO's Special Millennium Series






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ACO Launches Millennium Series in 1999

Beginning in January, 1999, and continuing though the spring of 2001, Music Director Dennis Russell Davies and the American Composers Orchestra will undertake a special 11-concert project based on American themes, or thematic points of departure, of the past century to commemorate the Millennium. "The programs are based on evocative and provocative ideas," says Davies of the series dubbed 20th Century Snapshots, "that together make up a scatter-gun document, in 11 snapshots, of some of the things that happened in America in this century that could lead the way to the next one."

New works will be commissioned by ACO for the series from composers Muhal Richard Abrams, Laurie Anderson, Tania León, P.Q. Phan, Daniel Roumain and others.

1999's opening programs will include:

  • The Gershwin Circle, focusing on the international impact of American pianism, with George Gershwin and his music as a nucleus. The concert includes the world premiere of Vernon Duke's Piano Concerto written for Arthur Rubinstein, as well as works by Oscar Levant, Maurice Ravel and Gershwin, performed by pianists Leon Bates, Scott Dunn, Alan Feinberg and Ursula Oppens. (1/10/99)

  • Cuba: Sonidos de las Américas, spotlighting the complicated and difficult relationship between two close neighbors, the U.S. and Cuba, and featuring new works by contemporary Cuban composers. (3/14/99)

  • Walt Whitman, featuring the New York premiere of William Bolcom's A Whitman Triptych, written in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, and Paul Hindemith's When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd with mezzo-soprano Milagro Vargas and baritone André Solomon Glover, written to commemorate the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. (5/16/99)

Here is a preview of 20th Century Snapshots concerts in the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons:

  • October 31, 1999
    Commemorating significant events, incidents and specific acts of social action.
    ROBERT BEASER: The Heavenly Feast (ACO Commission)
    LOUIS BALLARD: Incident at Wounded Knee
    CURTIS-SMITH: GAS! - The Great American Symphony

  • January 9, 2000
    Exploring a variety of ethnic, national and musical backgrounds in American music.
    JOHN CAGE: Quartets
    AMY BEACH: "Gaelic" Symphony
    MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS: New Work (World Premiere, ACO Commission)
    DANIEL ROUMAIN: New Work World Premiere, (ACO Commission with support of the Helen F. Whitaker Fund)

  • February 27, 2000
    Our fascination with flight, one of the 20th century's most awe-inspiring achievements.
    KURT WEILL: The Lindbergh Flight
    SAMUEL BARBER: Night Flight, Op. 19a
    LAURIE ANDERSON: New Work based on the story of Amelia Earhart (World Premiere, Commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
    PHILIP GLASS: Scene from Act IV of "The White Raven" (U.S. Premiere)

  • April 2, 2000
    Celebrating two American idols, the landmark concert series they jointly produced in the 1920s and 1930s, and their living legacy.
    ROGER SESSIONS: Symphony No. 3
    COPLAND: Short Symphony
    ANTHEIL: Ballet Mécanique
    TBA: New ACO-Commissioned Work

  • October 15, 2000
    From the Pacific Rim to the West Coast... Asian influence in American music.
    P.Q. PHAN: New Work (World Premiere, ACO Commission with support of the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust)
    CHINARY UNG: Inner Voices

  • January 21, 2001
    Ellis Island to JFK
    American music continually enriched by immigrant composers.
    TANIA LEóN: New Work (World Premiere, ACO Commission)
    LUKAS FOSS: Concerto for Piano Left Hand
    SCHOENBERG: Variations for Orchestra
    Other work(s) TBA

  • March 18, 2001
    Berlin 1931
    A re-creation of a program of American music introduced to German audiences 70 years earlier by the inimitable Nicolas Slonimsky.
    ADOLPH WEISS: American Life
    CHARLES IVES: Three Places in New England
    CARL RUGGLES: Men and Mountains
    COWELL: Synchrony

  • April 22, 2001
    From Hollywood's heyday to the present day.
    MIKLOS ROZSA: Spellbound Concerto
    other works TBA


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