Sonic Spark Lab Registration

ACO Sonic Spark Lab


ACO SONIC SPARK LAB is a hands-on, project-based composition program. Sonic Spark Lab inspires curiosity, grows imaginations, and helps students learn to engage with their creativity to build an idea from just a spark to artistic realization.

This class is perfect for students with an interest in self expression. It provides approaches for funneling our creative energies into music and prepares students to more deeply explore the creative arts. To get the most out of our classes, students should have some prior music experience, but there are no minimum requirements beyond enthusiasm. 



scroll down this page to find the registration form and more info



In Sonic Spark Lab we explore questions such as:

  • Where do our best ideas live and how do we find them?
  • How do skills and ideas come together to create meaning?
  • How does collaboration magnify our efforts?
Things that make this class fun:
  • Class size is limited to assure individualized attention
  • Class time is built around the examination of all variety of approaches to sound exploration
  • Students will complete at least one individual project and one collaborative project during each semester (12-14 weeks).

I am extremely appreciative for all of the time, work, and dedication that the SPARK Team has given to my children. It has made a wonderful difference and a lasting impact on their Creativity, Confidence, Learning.

His teacher was such a gift. The way [they] talked to the class, encouraged their creativity, and offered such kindness to the group was beautiful... a wonderful experience during this time.

Important Info

This Class is for:
There will be separate classes for MIDDLE SCHOOL aged students and HIGH SCHOOL aged students during the summer

Classes will meet:
All classes will be offered on a hybrid basis. Please indicate on the registration whether you prefer to attend in-person or via zoom.  Specific locations for in-person classes are still TBD, but are generally hosted by an ACO partner organization at a convenient location  in Manhattan. 

ALL STUDENTS WISHING TO ATTEND IN-PERSON CLASSES MUST BE FULLY VACCINATED and may be asked to provide their proof of vaccination each time they enter the building.

Days & Times:
Classes for Middle Schoolers will take place on MONDAYS and THURSDAYS, 10-11:30am
Classes for High Schoolers will take place on TUESDAYS and FRIDAYS, 10-11:30am

*adjustments may be made in response to student availability. 

Summer Schedule:
Middle School – July 7, 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28  August 1, 4, 8, 11 (final class/presentations TBD) 
High School – July 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26, 29  August 2, 5, 9, 12

Final presentations
Final presentations may take place on a separate day shortly after the final class


* Scholarships are available. ACO is committed to assuring that all interested students are able to participate regardless of need. Look for the appropriate check box on the registration form below.


Fill out and submit the form below – you’ll need to scroll through this section to see all the questions. When you hit “Submit”, you’ll receive a confirmation that your registration has been received at the top of the form.

Questions & Information

If you have any questions or would like further information on how you child could benefit from ACO Education programming, contact Kevin James, Education Director: 212.977.8495 ext. 202 or

Meet the Teaching Artists

All of our Teaching Artists are active professional composers with burgeoning careers and exceptional teaching skills.

Nick Dunston is a Brooklyn-based composer, bassist, and scholar. An  “indispensable player on the New York avant-garde” (The New York Times), his performances have spanned a venues and festivals across North America and Europe, with bands led by artists such as Tyshawn Sorey, Vijay Iyer, Marc Ribot, Ches Smith, Anthony Coleman, Amirtha Kidambi, Dave Douglas, Darius Jones, and many others.

As a composer, Dunston writes in multiple genres and disciplines. In 2019 he was awarded the Van Lier Fellowship by Roulette Intermedium, which supported the world premieres of The Floor is Lava!, and La Operación “a work so dramatic and large that is both a response to socio-historical truth as well as a reflection on his own identity…” (I Care If You Listen)

Nick Dunston Headshot

 Mary Prescott is a Thai-American interdisciplinary artist, composer and pianist. She explores the foundations and facets of identity and social conditions. Prescott has created large-scale music-theater works, improvised music, multimedia chamber opera, sound journals, film scores, and numerous solo and chamber concert works. Prescott is a 2019-21 American Opera Projects Composer Fellow, and a 2019/20 Resident Artist at Roulette. In 2019, she received a Roulette Jerome Foundation Commission, and the National Performance Network Creation and Development Fund Award

As Co-Founder of the Lyra Music Festival at Smith College, Prescott was named a New York Foundation for the Arts Emerging Leader. She has served as faculty at the Goppisberger Music Festival in Switzerland and the Louisiana Chamber Music Institute.

 J.L. (Jess) Marlor is a multidisciplinary artist, composer, songwriter, performer, and educator. Called “refreshingly bold” by Opera Wire, J.L. primarily writes chamber music, opera, musical theater, and contemporary classical music. Best known for her vocal music, J.L. has written for Wet Ink Ensemble, SparkDuo, The DeCamera Singers, Mivos Quartet, OperaRox, LoftOpera, and the New Music Gathering, 

J.L. creates multi-genre works involving, among others, Balkan folk techniques, musical theater, bel canto, riot grrrl punk, folk singing, and American protest music.

As an electric guitarist, J.L. performs as the frontwoman of the indie rock band, THB, at venues such as Arlene’s Grocery, Union Pool, The Knitting Factory, and others.  J.L. also performs regularly as a singer and lead guitarist of the punk-rock musical turned concert experience, Riot Antigone, at La Mama, Ars Nova and Joe’s Pub. A passionate educator J.L. teaches composition and musicianship with the NY Phil’s Very Young Composer program, The Symphony of Westchester’s Songcatchers program, and the American Composers Orchestra.

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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