9 Composers Selected for two EarShot Readings + Sphinx Venture Fund Grant

Nine Composers Selected from Nationwide Call for Scores for June 2023 EarShot Readings with ACO and EarShot Choreography Workshop with The Next Festival of Emerging Artists 

Plus ACO is Awarded Sphinx Venture Fund Grant for its New Project EarShot: Advancing Equity through Publishing & Repertoire Development

EarShot Readings: American Composers Orchestra – June 1-2, 2023 

Participating Composers: Younje Cho, Henry Dorn, Brittany J. Green, Oswald Huỳnh, Amy Nam, Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei

Mentor Composers: Derek Bermel, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and Daniel Bernard Roumain

EarShot Readings and Choreography Workshop: The Next Festival of Emerging Artists – June 8, 2023

Participating Composers: Michael R. Dudley Jr., Emil Ernström, and Akari Komura

Mentor Composers: Peter Askim, Aaron Jay Kernis, Kamala Sankaram

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) continues its commitment to the creation and development of new orchestra music, and to the next generation of composers, through its spring 2023 EarShot Readings program. For over a generation, EarShot Readings have provided all-important career development and public exposure to the country’s most promising emerging composers, with over 250 composers participating. Readings alumni have won every major composition award, including the Pulitzer, Grammy, Grawemeyer, American Academy of Arts & Letters, and Rome Prizes. Orchestras around the globe have commissioned EarShot alumni.

Today, ACO announces nine composers selected from a competitive nationwide call for scores, who will participate in EarShot Readings with ACO and in an EarShot Choreography Workshop with the Next Festival of Emerging Artists in New York in June 2023. 

ACO’s EarShot Readings will be conducted by Tito Muñoz, with mentor composers Derek Bermel, Mary Kouyoumdjian and Daniel Bernard Roumain. The participating composers are Younje Cho, Henry Dorn, Brittany J. Green, Oswald Huỳnh, Amy Nam, and Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei. Two open-to-the-public events will be held – a working rehearsal on Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 10:30am and a public reading of the works on Friday, June 2, 2023 at 7:30pm at the New School Tishman Auditorium (63 Fifth Avenue, NYC).

The Next Festival of Emerging Artists EarShot Choreography Workshop will explore pieces for string orchestra by EarShot composers Michael R. Dudley Jr., Emil Ernström, and Akari Komura with new choreography by The Next Festival of Emerging Artists Fellows (to be announced). The mentor composers are Aaron Jay Kernis, Kamala Sankaram, and The Next Festival of Emerging Artists Artistic Director Peter Askim, who will also conduct. The Choreographer Mentor is Sidra Bell. An open-to-the-public workshop of these works-in-progress will be held on Thursday, June 8, 2023 at 7pm at the New School Tishman Auditorium (63 Fifth Avenue, NYC).

Additional EarShot Readings in 2023 include programs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (May 9 and 10), Naples Philharmonic (May 15 and 16), Dallas Symphony Orchestra (June 20), and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (October 3 and 4). Selected composers will be announced in February 2023.

Now encompassing all of ACO’s composer advancement initiatives, EarShot is the first ongoing, systematic program for developing relationships between composers and orchestras on the national level. Through these orchestral readings, CoLABoratory fellowships, consortium commissions, and professional development, EarShot ensures a vibrant musical future by investing in creativity today. 

Each EarShot Readings installment includes a series of private readings, feedback sessions, and work with mentor composers. Composers also receive a recording of their work. Feedback sessions with principal players and artistic and music directors provide crucial artistic, technical, and conceptual assistance. In addition, EarShot includes a series of online Professional Development Sessions which covers topics including creative collaboration, self-publishing for composers, fundraising, and orchestral commissions and contracting. 

Composer-orchestra relationships extend beyond the EarShot Readings. On average, 1-2 works by participating EarShot composers are programmed on a future concert by partner orchestras; and since 2009, 28 works have been commissioned by partner orchestras from EarShot participants. Surveys indicate that over 50% of EarShot composers receive a commission or performance due to connections and industry notice during a reading.

Additionally, composers participating in EarShot have access to future opportunities including: 

The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commissions Program for women composers, an initiative of the League of American Orchestras in partnership with ACO, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. The Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commissions Program is embedded in EarShot; recipients are selected from women and non-binary composers who have participated in EarShot Readings. Since its inception in 2014, the Program has commissioned 22 new works. This season, the Program expanded to commission six composers to write for an unprecedented 30-orchestra consortium between 2023 and 2025 – the selected composers are Anna Clyne, Sarah Gibson, Angel Lam, Wang Lu, Gity Razaz, and Arlene Sierra.

EarShot Readings also generate multiple commissions for artists discovered through the program, made possible with the support of Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting. Their generous investment in EarShot amplifies the available resources of ACO and its orchestral partners to support these newly created works. A long-time supporter of composers at all stages of their careers, Justus Schlichting shared the following:

“Five years ago I met with six talented, ambitious young composers. I was shocked to discover that not one of them had any interest in writing for symphony orchestra. The barriers to developing their orchestral-writing craft were insurmountably high, while the rewards if they were to get an orchestral commission were negligible. All I could think was, where will the exciting new music for the next generation come from, if the best composers abandoned the field?  Since then, I have searched for programs that address this situation. ACO’s Earshot and CoLABoratory projects are exactly what I had hoped to find, providing brilliant young composers a path to create the orchestral music that we will be able to enjoy for years to come.”

Finally, ACO is proud to be awarded a two-year $100,000 grant from the Sphinx Venture Fund for a new project that is an expansion of EarShot which deepens ACO’s support of composers, orchestras, and educational institutions nationally. EarShot: Advancing Equity through Publishing & Repertoire Development, will measurably increase the percentage of Black and Latinx composers with ongoing sustainable careers in the American classical orchestral field. ACO is creating a multifaceted strategy that amplifies the work of Black/Latinx composers through publishing works featured in EarShot programs, leveraging ACO’s national orchestral network to facilitate repeat performances of those works, commissioning new works for youth/school orchestras, and creating education modules that place composer teaching artists within youth/school orchestras for one semester in connection to those composer’s ACO commissions. Over two years, American Composers Orchestra anticipates publishing the works of at least 16 composers, commissioning eight new works for youth/school orchestras, and creating 16 education modules that place Black/Latinx composer teaching artists within youth/school orchestras for one semester. 

To date, ACO has partnered with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Houston Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Tucson Symphony, and Aguascalientes Symphony Orchestra (Mexico) through EarShot. EarShot operates in partnership with American Composers Forum, New Music USA, and the League of American Orchestras.

Details for EarShot Readings: American Composers Orchestra on June 1-2, 2023

Conductor: Tito Muñoz

Mentor Composers: Derek Bermel, Mary Kouyoumdjian and Daniel Bernard Roumain

Open-to-the-Public Working Rehearsal: Thursday June 1, 2023 at 10:30am

Open-to-the-Public Reading: Friday June 2,  2023 at 7:30pm

Location: New School Tishman Auditorium (63 Fifth Avenue, NYC)

Tickets: https://americancomposers.org/events/acos-earshot-in-nyc 

About the Participating Composers:

Younje Cho (b. 1990) is a composer of instrumental and electroacoustic music, whose in-depth exploration of music is based on a profound interest in a wide variety of changes resulting from the psychological and instinctual happenings that occur when people encounter sound. Cho has been commissioned by the Korean National Symphony Orchestra following selected for the 2023 KNSO Composers’ Atelier. His works have been performed by Coram Deo, Spektral Quartet, Keon Woo Piano Ensemble, Hye Bum Piano Ensemble, Piano Echo, Y-Us piano ensemble, Ewha Brillante, and Communion Ensemble. He has participated in various music festivals, including Bowdoin International Music Festival, Seoul New Music Festival, and Jecheon International Film Music Festival. Cho, born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in composition and double majoring in computer music composition at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he holds the position of a Music Theory Associate Instructor, and where studies under the guidance of Dr. David Dzubay, John Gibson, and Chi Wang. In 2018, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Yonsei University in Seoul. His principal composition teachers have included Andreia Pinto Correia, P.Q, Phan, Aaron Travers, Jies un Lim, Hong-SeokLee, and Yie-Eun Chun.

Henry Dorn (b. 1988 Little Rock, AR) is a composer/conductor. His compositions have been performed by noteworthy ensembles, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Grammy-winning Harlem Quartet, Aizuri Quartet, the Elysian Trombone Quartet, Argento Ensemble, the Sanctuary Jazz Orchestra, the Dallas Wind Symphony. Dorn has worked with the United States Army Field Band, United States Air Force Band, and most recently guest conducted the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” He has received the Inaugural Future of Music Faculty Fellowship from the Cleveland Institute of Music and an ASCAP Foundation’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award. Dorn holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting degree from Michigan State University and completed studies at the University of Memphis and at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently a doctoral candidate in composition at Michigan State University. He has studied conducting with Kevin L. Sedatole, Harlan D. Parker, and Kraig Alan Williams. His composition teachers include David Biedenbender, Ricardo Lorenz, Alexis Bacon, Oscar Bettison, Kamran Ince, and Jack Cooper, and he has had additional studies with Kevin Puts, Joel Puckett, Derek Bermel, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Joseph Schwantner. www.henryldorn.com 

Brittany J. Green (b. 1991) is a North Carolina-based composer, creative, and educator. Her music facilitates intimate musical spaces that ignite visceral responses at the intersection of sound, video, movement, and text. Recent works engage sonification and black feminist theory as tools for sonic world-building, exploring the construction, displacement, and rupture of systems. Her artistic practice includes spoken and electronic performance, interdisciplinary collaboration, experiential projects, and acoustic and electroacoustic chamber and large ensemble works. Her music has been performed throughout the United States and Canada and presented at TIME:SPANS, New York City Electronic Music Festival, the Boulanger Initiative’s WoCo Fest and more. Her collaborators include the The JACK Quartet, Emory University Symphony Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Transient Canvas, Music from Copland House, and Castle of our Skins. Brittany has been in residence at Copland House and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and holds awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Charles Ives Scholarship), ASCAP Foundation (Morton Gould Award) and New Music USA (Creator Development Grant). She is currently a doctoral candidate and Dean’s Graduate Fellow at Duke University. www.brittanyjgreen.com 

Oswald Huỳnh (b. 1997) is a composer whose works navigate Vietnamese aesthetics and tradition, language and translation, and the relationship between heritage and identity. Huỳnh’s work has been commissioned, premiered, and performed by ensembles including the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Pacific Chamber Orchestra, Akropolis Reed Quintet, Tacet(i) Ensemble, [Switch~ Ensemble], Del Sol String Quartet, and more.Huỳnh’s music has been presented at the Mizzou International Composers Festival, Bay View Music Festival, Powell Hall, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, and International Composition Institute of Thailand, among others. He is the winner of the Musiqa Emerging Composer Commission (2022), IPO Classical Evolve Composer Competition (2022), Black Bayou Composition Award (2022), Rena J. Ratte Memorial Award (2019), and has received recognition from the New York Youth Symphony, Society of Composers, and Pacific Chamber Orchestra. Huỳnh will serve as the Composer-in-Residence with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra for the 2023-24 season. Huỳnh holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lewis & Clark College and a Master of Music from the University of Missouri. Currently based in Portland, Oregon, he is working at the American Composers Forum as the Artist Support Associate and teaching music theory with the Portland Youth Philharmonic. www.oswaldhuynh.com 

Twin Cities-based composer and harpist Amy Nam (b. 1994) writes and performs music out of a desire to nourish her own sense of curiosity, and that of her listeners. In 2020, the Rochester, NY-based ensemble fivebyfive commissioned Nam’s work ...of breath and fire, through the support of Chamber Music America’s Classical Commissioning program. Currently Nam is completing a series of residencies with fivebyfive to perform this work around New York State. Nam has received awards from the BMI Foundation, the Eastman School of Music, and the Lyra Society, among others. Her music has been performed and workshopped by ensembles including the Pacific Chamber Orchestra, M5 Mexican Brass, and the Tennessee Valley Music Festival Orchestra. Also an active harpist, Nam Nam is on performance faculty at Luther College in Decorah, IA. She has appeared as a soloist with the Vanderbilt University Orchestra and the McGill Contemporary Ensemble. Nam holds degrees from Vanderbilt University, where she graduated with first honors as the Blair School of Music’s Founder’s Medalist, McGill University, where she studied harp with Jennifer Swartz and composition with John Rea, and the Eastman School of Music, where she studied composition with David Liptak, Robert Morris, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. www.amynam.com 

Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei (سبزقبایی رضا دانیال) (b.1993) is a creator who aims to emphasize the malleability of time and how we experience it, not just in the concert hall but in everyday life as well. His work has been presented and commissioned by organizations including: the JACK Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the New York Youth Symphony, National Sawdust, Intimacy of Creativity Festival, TAK Ensemble, Beth Morrison Projects, the New York Festival of Song, loadbang, bassist Robert Black, the Banff Centre, Contemporaneous, Guerilla Opera, the Moab Music Festival, [Switch~] Ensemble, the Young New Yorkers Chorus, Pro Coro Canada, The Esoterics, OPERA America, and VocalEssence among others. Sabzghabaei is a doctoral candidate at Cornell where his current research focuses on Persian Choral Music. Outside of music and sound-based projects, Daniel also translates Persian poetry, most recently exploring the works of Hafez, Rumi, and Saadi. www.danielsabzghabaei.com 

Details for EarShot Readings and Choreography Workshop: The Next Festival of Emerging Artists on June 8, 2023 

Conductor: Peter Askim

Mentor Composers: Peter Askim, Aaron Jay Kernis and Kamala Sankaram

Open-to-the-Public Workshop: Thursday June 8, 2023 at 7pm

Location: New School Tishman Auditorium  (63 Fifth Avenue, NYC)

Tickets: https://americancomposers.org/events/earshot-the-next-festival-of-emerging-artists 

About the Participating Composers:

Composer, trumpeter, and educator Michael R. Dudley Jr. (b. 1994) has developed a career branching in multiple directions and defying conventions of genre. He has played at venues like NYC’s Birdland with groups such as the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Christian McBride Big Band, having recorded as a lead trumpet player on multiple GRAMMY®-winning recordings by the John Daversa Big Band and Brian Lynch Big Band. As a composer he earned a 2022 ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award, and was recently named as a finalist for the San Francisco Symphony’s Emerging Black Composers Project. His recent collaborations include the likes of Donny McCaslin, and his compositions and orchestrations have been performed by the Sphinx Virtuosi (for their 2022-23 international tour), Charlotte Symphony, Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, New Canon Chamber Collective, and Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, with more premieres scheduled soon. He currently lives in Potsdam, NY (among occupied land of the Kanienʼkehá:ka) where he serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. www.michaelrdudley.site 

Originally from Stockholm, Sweden, composer Emil Ernström (b. 1996) grew up in Sweden, Hungary, and the United States and his work draws from a variety of influences. Traversing electronic music, sampled sounds, and traditional instruments, Ernström’s music frequently explores the contrast between immersive textures and rhythmic structures through minimalist procedures and unconventional sound worlds. His music has been performed by Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Mare Balticum, Sō Percussion, and Trio Immersio, among other ensembles. Awards include a scholarship from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, a Yawkey Community Service Fellowship and an Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Besides concert music, Ernström’s music often interacts with theater, dance, installation and film and his work has been heard at Inter Arts Center (Sweden), the Yale Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, and the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. He earned a Masters in Music Composition from the Malmö Academy of Music at Lund University, where he studied with Bent Sørensen and Alessandro Perini. He graduated from Yale College with a BA in music, studying composition with Kathryn Alexander and Konrad Kaczmarek. He currently lives and works in Philadelphia. www.emilernstrom.com 

Akari Komura (b.1996) is a Japanese composer-vocalist. From an early age, she has been involved in performing arts by playing the piano, singing, and dancing modern ballet. Her interest in the somatic practice and embodied consciousness is central to her creative process. Komura is interested in curating a participatory performance space that invites a community of musicians and listeners for a collective conscious, meditative, and healing experience. Her breadth of work spans multimedia/electronics, vocal music, chamber ensemble, and interdisciplinary collaborations with dancers, visual artists, and architects. Her works have been presented at the Atlantic Music Festival, Composers Conference, Resonance 104.4 FM (UK), International Composition Institute of Thailand, Nief-Norf, Montreal Contemporary Music Lab (Canada), Radiophrenia 87.9FM (Scotland), and soundSCAPE (Italy). She holds an M.M. in Composition from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Vocal Arts from the University of California, Irvine. Her major teachers include Evan Chambers, Roshanne Etezady, Stephen Rush, and Frances Bennett. Komura is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Composition at the University of California San Diego. www.akarikomura.com 

About American Composers Orchestra 

Founded in 1977, American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, middle school through college composer education programs, and composer advancement programs to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders. ACO identifies and develops talent, performs established composers, champions those who are lesser-known, and increases regional, national, and international awareness of the infinite variety of American orchestral music, reflecting gender, racial, ethnic, geographic, stylistic, and age diversity. To date, ACO has performed music by 800 American composers, including over 350 world premieres and newly commissioned works.

Now encompassing all of ACO’s composer advancement initiatives, EarShot is the first ongoing, systematic program for developing relationships between composers and orchestras on the national level. Through orchestral readings, CoLABoratory fellowships, consortium commissions, and professional development, EarShot ensures a vibrant musical future by investing in creativity today. Serving over 350 composers since inception, ACO Readings in NYC began in 1991, and since 2008, national Readings have been offered in partnership with orchestras across the country in collaboration with the League of American Orchestras, New Music USA, and American Composers Forum. Readings composers have gone on to win every major composition award, including the Pulitzer, Grammy, Grawemeyer, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Rome Prizes.

ACO has received numerous awards for its work, including those from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and from BMI recognizing the orchestra’s outstanding contribution to American music. ASCAP has awarded ACO its annual prize for adventurous programming 35 times, singling out ACO as “the orchestra that has done the most for new American music in the United States.” ACO received the inaugural MetLife Award for Excellence in Audience Engagement, and a proclamation from the New York City Council. Read more: www.americancomposers.org

About The Next Festival of Emerging Artists

Founded in 2013 by composer, conductor and bassist Peter Askim, The Next Festival of Emerging Artists is committed to advancing contemporary concert music through performance, audience engagement, and the nurturing of emerging artists with a passion for 21st century music.

The Festival provides young performers and composers (ages 20-30) an immersion into 21st century music. Initially a one-week intensive, the Next Festival is now a multi-week experience comprised of performances, individual lessons, coachings, masterclasses, and more. The Festival also includes workshops and recordings of Fellows’ compositions, multi-disciplinary collaboration, and improvisation with choreographers and dancers. Read more: https://next-fest.org/  

For ACO’s Upcoming Events, visit: www.americancomposers.org/performances-events 

EarShot is a program of American Composers Orchestra completed in partnership with American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA. The program is made possible with lead support from Altman Foundation, Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting, Mellon Foundation, Sphinx Venture Fund, TD Charitable Foundation and Fromm Foundation, additional support is provided by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, and the League of American Orchestras with support of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Public funds are provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lead support for EarShot CoLABoratory is generously provided by TD Charitable Foundation and Altman Foundation.

EarShot: Advancing Equity through Publishing & Repertoire Development is powered by the Sphinx Venture Fund.

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