ACO legacies

Meet the Composers

ACO exists to inspire, develop, support and build the art of American composers seeking to create new orchestral music. For over 40 years, we’ve worked with and celebrated composers such as Philip Glass, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Joan Tower, and George Lewis, and more recently Paola Prestini, Du Yun, Alex Temple and Matthew Aucoin. We have premiered over 350 pieces at venues across NYC including Carnegie Hall, Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and placed these works with esteemed orchestras nationwide. We are dedicated to promoting diversity and representing all the voices and views that reflect America today.

Please note: ACO is transitioning 40+ years of data.The current archive is not yet comprehensive. To see a full list of ACO Composers, please click here.

Joel Thompson

Emmy award-winning composer, Joel Thompson is a composer, pianist, conductor, and educator from Atlanta.

Jonathan Bailey Holland

A native of Flint, MI, composer Jonathan Bailey Holland’s works have been commissioned and performed by orchestras and chamber ensembles across America.

Headshot of American Composer Jonathan Blumhofer

Jonathan Blumhofer

Composer Jonathan Blumhofer was born in 1979 in Brooklyn, NY. His first musical activities involved studying violin and piano, and he later took up the viola.

Black and White Headshot of American Jazz Composer Jonathon Finlayson holding a Trumpet

Jonathon Finlayson

Born in 1982 in Berkeley, CA, Jonathan Finlayson began playing the trumpet at the age of ten in the Oakland public school system.

Headshot of American Composer Joseph Periera

Joseph Pereira

Joseph Pereira (1974) enjoys a multi-faceted career as a timpanist/percussionist, composer, conductor, and teacher. His work in all areas has been widely hailed for his creativity and virtuosity, and has been profiled in feature articles in both The New York Times (2006) and The Los Angeles Times in 2012 and 2015.

Headshot of American composer Joshua Groffman

Joshua Groffman

Joshua Groffman (b. 1984) of Millbrook, NY has written works for orchestral, vocal, and chamber ensembles, as well as for electronic media, theater, and film.

Headshot of composer Juan Jose Barcenas

Juan José Bárcenas

In his artistic work he has created more than 50 new works, including: chamber music, orchestral, electroacoustic, short films, multimedia, animation, video art and electronic improvisation, his work is characterized by the use of extreme fluctuations of the sound elements. He currently lives in the city of Santiago de Querétaro and performs as “Electronic Performer”, Composer, Sound Engineer and Multimedia Artist.

Headshot of American Composer Jules Pegram

Jules Pegram

Composer Jules Pegram (b. 1991) writes music modern in its sensibility and sophisticated in its craft, yet full of shimmering colors, boundless energy, and​ a​n unbridled lyricism that make it refreshingly accessible.

Julia Adolphe

A composer, writer, and soprano whose music embraces diverse artistic and sociological influences, unfolding intricate emotional narratives. Adolphe’s work has received performances across the United States and abroad.

Karena Ingram

Described as “…stunning” and “…beautiful musical depictions of nature…” by Symphony Number One, Ingram’s music is reputable for its imaginative use of color and textural exploration.

Headshot of American Composer Katherine Balch

Katherine Balch

Katherine Balch (b.1991) writes music that explores lyricism through textural soundscapes.

Keane Southard

Described as “a hugely prolific musician with a wide variety of skill sets” (, Keane Southard is a composer and pianist who believes deeply in the power of music to change how people think, feel, and act, and that it can be a catalyst for positive change in the world.

Composer Kenichi Ikuno looking over a piano

Kenichi Ikuno

Kenichi Ikuno Sekiguchi is a Mexican composer of Japanese heritage who was born and raised in Mexico City.

Kenneth Froelich

My work is inspired by this innate ability of music to speak on a completely abstract level.

Headshot: Composer Kerwin Young

Kerwin Young

A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producer-member of Public Enemy’s infamous production team, “The Bomb Squad”. Kerwin Young is a prolific international concert and media composer, recording producer, multi-instrumentalist, and cultural ambassador.

Headshot of American Composer Kevin Scott

Kevin Scott

Kevin Scott was born and raised in Dothan, AL, where his career began as a teenager playing bass in his father’s bluegrass band.

Black and White Headshot of composer Kitty Xiao

Kitty Xiao

Kitty Xiao is an Australian composer, pianist, and collaborative artist based in Rochester, New York.

Headshot of composer Krists Auznieks

Krists Auznieks

Auznieks’ quintet “Piano” was featured in The New York Times among the week’s best classical music moments. His opera NeoArctic, co-written with British techno producer Andy Stott, won Danish Reumert Prize and will have its US premier at The Kennedy Center in 2019.

American composer Kyle Rotolo sitting on a bench outside a cafe carrying an orchestral score

Kyle Rotolo

A featured composer in the 2014 American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood New Music Readings, Kyle Peter Rotolo (b. 1986) has been called “a very talented young composer with much to look forward to in the future” (Paula Brusky, Bassoon Chamber Music Composition Competition, Inc.).

Leanna Primiani

Leanna Primiani is a musical storyteller. Transforming traditional narratives, she writes music that changes how listeners see themselves and the world around them. Using electronics as well as orchestral instrumentation, she explores the limits of musical form, sound, and time.

Headshot of American Composer Lembit Beecher

Lembit Beecher

Lembit Beecher strives to create intimate, heartfelt, quirky and dramatically potent musical experiences. Born to Estonian and American parents, he grew up under the redwoods in Santa Cruz, California, a few miles from the wild Pacific.

Headshot of American Composer Liliya Ugay

Liliya Ugay

Described as “particularly evocative,” “fluid and theatrical… the music [that] makes its case with immediacy” (The Arts Fuse) as well as both “assertive and steely,” and “lovely, subtle writing” (Wall Street Journal) the music by the award-winning composer and pianist Liliya Ugay has been performed in many countries around the globe.

American Composer Lily Chen playing the guzheng, a Chinese plucked zither.

Lily Chen

Lily Chen (b. 1985), born in Taiwan, is a composer exploring sonic and theatrical potentials in both acoustic and electronic music.

Lisa Bielawa

Composer, producer, and vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition. She takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations.

Headshot of American composer Louis Chiappetta

Louis Chiappetta

Louis Chiappetta (b.1989) is a New York based composer. His recent projects have included Fracture, a series of clarinet miniatures written in collaboration with choreographer Thomas Peacock and the London Contemporary Dance School, Echoes of Embers for baritone and small ensemble, and Chroma for orchestra.

Mandy Fang

Hailed as “inventive and breathtaking” by the New York Times, Fang Man is a Chinese-born American composer.

Headshot of composer Marian L. H. Stephens

Marian L. Harrison Stephens

Marian L. Harrison Stephens is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. In August of 2007, she became the first African American to receive the Doctorate of Music degree in Music Composition from Indiana University’s (IU) Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana.

Mario Duarte

Mario (b. 1984) was born in Mexico City. He is a composer interested in the crossover between Science, Literature and Pre-Columbian cultures.

Watch ACO Composer Portrait Videos

To preserve and promote new American Music, we assemble and maintain an extensive video and audio archive of the works we perform.

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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