Meet the Leadership Team

Sameera currently advises clients within Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas) on a variety of legal matters and was formerly a corporate associate in Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s New York and London offices. Sameera holds an AB from Harvard College, where she was involved with the Lowell House Opera. Having previously served as a young patron of various arts organizations in London and New York City, Sameera joined the Board of ACO in 2018. Sameera’s dedication to ACO took on new relevance after a personal loss, which cemented her desire to help young, talented artists pursue their dreams, particularly in music.

Lyndsay Werking (she/her) is a self-described curious community connector. Her ultimate passion is original works created by living artists. She believes in the power of art to examine social issues, spark conversation, and bridge gaps between people. She joined ACO in May 2017 as the Director of Development and was appointed Acting President in September 2020. Accomplishments of recent years include launching ACO’s Commission Club, securing capacity building grants from the Altman Foundation and Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, working to design ACO’s new website, and increasing individual giving by sixty percent.

Twice Grammy-nominated composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel has become recognized as a dynamic and unconventional curator of concert series, via ACO’s concert season, SONiC Festival, Earshot Readings, and Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute. His honors include the Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, Herb Alpert Award, and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Bermel has received commissions from the Pittsburgh, National, Saint Louis, Boston, Seattle, and BBC Symphony Orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Guarneri and JACK Quartets, and ASKO/Schoenberg Ensemble, among others.

In his eighth season as Music Director of the American Composers Orchestra, the wide-ranging and versatile George Manahan has had an esteemed career embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. In addition to his work with ACO, Manahan continues his commitment to working with young musicians as Director of Orchestral Studies at the Manhattan School of Music as well as guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music. He also serves as Music Director of the Portland Opera. Manahan was Music Director at New York City Opera for 14 seasons. There he helped envision the organization’s groundbreaking VOX program, a series of workshops and readings that have provided unique opportunities for numerous composers to hear their new concepts realized, and introduced audiences to exciting new compositional voices. In addition to established composers such as Steve Reith, Mark Adamo, David Del Tredici, Lewis Spratlan, Robert X. Rodriguez, Lou Harrison, Bernard Rands, and Richard Danielpour, through VOX, Manahan has introduced works by composers on the rise including Adam Silverman, Elodie Lauten, Mason Bates, and David T. Little.

Robert Beaser is Artistic Director Laureate of the American Composers Orchestra and was co-music director and conductor of Musical Elements Ensemble from 1978 to 1989. In 1977 he became the youngest composer to win the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. Beaser’s Mountain Songs received a Grammy nomination in 1986. He has received Fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Goddard Lieberson, an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Nonesuch Commission Award, and a Barlow Commission. He was to elected to membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2002.

Internationally acclaimed musician Dennis Russell Davies is known for his extraordinary range of repertoire, technical brilliance and fearless music-making. He is Conductor Laureate of American Composers Orchestra, which he co-founded.  A maverick in his field, he is hailed as “one of the few conductors whose unquestioned commitment to music of our age has not severed his connections to the standard repertory.” An esteemed presence consistently at the forefront of both orchestral and operatic worlds, Davies is also an accomplished pianist, and continues to be in demand by orchestras, composers and fellow musicians worldwide for his inspiring collaborations and interpretive mastery.  

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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