Equity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism

Classical orchestral music is rooted in the musical traditions of white, western European culture. ACO recgonizes this history and addresses systemic inequities by focusing on these three connected but distinct areas of work. Each of these words means something different to different people. At ACO, we strive to incorporate equity, inclusion and anti-racism work across all program areas. Below are some specific examples. 


In all aspects of our organization, but especially in programming, hiring, emerging composer platforms, and education initiatives, we are continually asking the following questions: Are we providing equal opportunities to all individuals? Are we identifying the biases within our industry and our organization, and working to mitigate them? What are the barriers to access and how can we remove them?

Examples of this work in practice include but are not limited to:

  • Paying artists fairly, according to the W.A.G.E. recommendations
  • Redesigning composer recruitment with a focus on identifying and inviting BIPOC, women, transgender and nonbinary artists to apply.
  • Offering childcare support for emerging composer participants during the EarShot Readings.


ACO is committed to fostering environments that are welcoming, safe, and accessible for all who are present. Evidence of inclusion in action can be seen in different facets of our work:

  • ACO staff signatures and name tags at events include gender pronouns
  • Concert programs include commissions, premieres and performances by composers from North, Central, and South America
  • Regular staff training on inclusion and anti-racism
  • Events hosted at fully-accessible venues
  • Mandatory compliance of zero tolerance policy for harassment from all emerging composers


Classical orchestral music is rooted in the musical traditions of white, western European culture. ACO recognizes this history and its own place within it. ACO pledges to fight racism within our own organization and the world of classical music. Please read ACO’s Statement Against Racism published on June 24, 2020.

Our Mission & Vision

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, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.

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