Day 1 – Thoughts on the Underwood New Music Readings
— by Pin Hsin Lin, participant composer
Day one of ACO’s Underwood New Music Readings has ended. What a wonderful day full of professional and helpful activities! I am in my hotel room reviewing the feedback about my piece from distinguished mentor composers, the wonderful maestro, and experienced orchestra principals and librarian. Here is what happened since yesterday when I flew to New York City from my current city, Champaign, IL:
The night before the readings, my fellow composers and I participated in a welcome reception where we had the chance to meet ACO board members, ACO Executive Director Michael Geller, and ACO Development Director Barbara Burch. At this wonderful party, I learned about ACO’s vision and mission and what’s going on in the new music industry in the United States.
I also had the chance to meet with mentor composers, Robert Beaser, Steven Stucky, Melinda Wagner, and Derek Bermel, and maestro George Manahan. In this short meeting, I briefly described what I want to express through my music and what I would like to learn from this reading event. Then they shared with me their comments about my music.
During the working rehearsal, the 1st reading, I met the distinguished composer Aaron Jay Kernis and shared our composing experiences. The audience showed their enthusiasm and support to the young composer participants. They often came to us and introduced themselves. The concert hall was full of learning and communication, which encouraged me to want to write more new music in the future.
After the reading, we met with the mentor composers and conductor again, along with orchestra principals for a “NUTS AND BOLTS” session, where we discussed the effectiveness of different notations, formal concerns, score engravings, and compositional issues. The comments of maestro Manahan and mentor composers were very professional and right on point.
As a composer, my creating and orchestration chops are only half the story. How composers present themselves is important. Further, having well prepared, well thought-out scores and individual part scores are essential parameters for a successful work.
This was an amazing experience I will benefit from for my entire compositional career. The greatest lessons in composing orchestral work are learned during the process of having music performed, especially read by top-notch musicians like ACO. I also learned a lot from my fellow composers’ works.