Become an EarShot Partner

Overview and Partnership Benefits

EarShot is the nation’s first ongoing, systematic program for cultivating relationships between orchestras and emerging composers. A national network of new music readings and composer development programs, EarShot identifies fresh voices reflective of the rich stylistic and cultural diversity present in communities across the country. The program is completely customizable; activities are focused to serve each orchestra’s programmatic goals and community-defined vision.

EarShot is a program of the American Composers Orchestra, in partnership with American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA. 

 

EarShot creates opportunities for partner orchestras to:

  • Discover Rising Talent – ACO’s broad and inclusive recruitment efforts identify and cultivate a strong talent pool aligned with each orchestra’s programming goals and priorities
  • Develop New Audiences – ACO staff works hand-in-hand with partner orchestras to design educational programming and community-focused events as an extension of EarShot readings
  • Engage Your Donors – EarShot creates new opportunities for philanthropic support, including readings, commissions, educational programs, and cultivation events
  • Extend Your Reach – At a fraction of the cost of building an in-house recruitment and readings program, ACO has a proven track record of identifying composers whose work expands the definition of American orchestral music

EarShot Highlights

  • In 2018, EarShot reached over 2,000 new community members through multiple neighborhood performances at Grand Rapids Symphony, integrating the orchestra and participating composers with the highly visible ArtPrize festival. 
  • In 2018, Earshot curated a showcase of orchestral works by emerging women composers for the Philadelphia Orchestra. It resulted in all six composers being commissioned.
  • In 2019, EarShot supported the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by facilitating a call for scores and recruitment strategy that cultivated a robust pool of Black American composers, with educational programming integrated into the readings experience. 

Case Studies

Houston Symphony Orchestra

Built new relationships with seven Hispanic/Latinx composers

Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Reached 500 students and 40 adult educators in one day

Grand Rapids Symphony

Engaged 2,000 new audience members in partnership with ArtPrize

Outcomes

  • Each reading generates 8-12 high level orchestral works from emerging composers, aligned with programmatic priorities.
  • Composer-orchestra relationships extend beyond the EarShot readings. On average, 1-2 works by participating EarShot emerging composers are programmed on a future concert by partner orchestras; many orchestras commission new works from one or more of the participant composers.
  • Past participants indicate that EarShot is a defining moment in their early careers, jumpstarting relationships with professionals in the field and building artistic and civic practice skills towards future commissions and residencies.

Program Components

  • Each reading generates 8-12 high level orchestral works from emerging composers, aligned with programmatic priorities.
  • Composer-orchestra relationships extend beyond the EarShot readings. On average, 1-2 works by participating EarShot emerging composers are programmed on a future concert by partner orchestras; many orchestras commission new works from one or more of the participant composers.
  • Past participants indicate that EarShot is a defining moment in their early careers, jumpstarting relationships with professionals in the field and building artistic and civic practice skills towards future commissions and residencies.

Alumni

Selected composer alumni include:

  • Julia Adolphe
  • Andy Akiho
  • Lembit Beecher
  • Courtney Bryan
  • inti figgis-vizueta
  • Saad Haddad
  • Robin Holcomb
  • Jonathan Bailey Holland
  • Niloufar Iravani
  • Hannah Lash
  • Nicole Mitchell
  • Dawn Norfleet
  • Gity Razaz
  • Carlos Simon
For more, visit our EarShot composer alumni page here.

Partner Orchestras

Recent partners include:

  • Aguascalientes Symphony Orchestra
  • Berkeley Symphony
  • Buffalo Philharmonic
  • Colorado Symphony
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Grand Rapids Symphony
  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic
  • Jacksonville Symphony
  • Nashville Symphony
  • New York Philharmonic
  • San Diego Symphony
  • Houston Symphony
  • Oregon Symphony
  • Tucson Symphony

Diversity

EarShot recruits and selects emerging composers that reflect the rich stylistic and cultural diversity present in the communities our partner orchestras are privileged to serve.

In the 2019-2020 season, participants were:

  • 58.5% Cisgender Men
  • 35.5% Cisgender Women
  • 6% Transgender and Nonbinary
  • 34% Asian
  • 29.5% Hispanic and/or Latinx
  • 21% White
  • 17.5% Black
  • 5% Indigenous

EarShot Includes:

  • A proven program design, including a detailed production schedule and optimal timeline created in collaboration with the partner orchestra
  • Facilitation of EarShot composer applications including: call for scores and active recruitment; receipt, acknowledgement, and processing of submitted materials; assembly and administration of review panel
  • Network of diverse composers and organizational partners to assist with composer recruitment
  • Selection and payment of mentor composers to coach EarShot composers before and during the readings
  • A professional music engraver, to facilitate production of professional parts
  • Professional development workshops with established industry leaders
  • Quality recording of at least one reading made available for each composer’s personal reference (in compliance with section VII.C. of the 2020 IMA)
  • Marketing materials, including composer bios/images, EarShot logos and funding credits
  • Travel and lodging for 1-2 ACO staff, up to three mentor composers, and up to six participant composers
  • Public speaking training for participant composers, culminating in an onstage discussion and audience Q&A after the final reading
  • Collaboration with orchestra staff in engaging donors and planning events for supporters and community partners
  • Post-reading access to support for commissioning and consortia

Partner Orchestras Provide:

  • 2 or more orchestral services
  • Conductor and venue for readings and feedback sessions
  • Input from the partner orchestra’s Artistic Director and/or conductor on final composer selection
  • Library support for dissemination of parts and scores
  • Musician mentors for feedback and prep sessions
  • Opportunities to connect with audiences, donors, and community members, i.e. donor events, educational programs, or community-focused programs.
  • Commitment to commissioning one of the final participant composers for a future performance

ACO accomplishes its work in collaboration with the League of American Orchestras, American Composers Forum, and New Music USA, each of whom assists with recruitment, publicity, and program design.

Questions & Information

For more information and program pricing, contact Aiden Feltkamp, Emerging Composers and Diversity Director: 212.977.8495 ext 252; or aiden@americancomposers.org

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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