American Composers Orchestra announces its 16th annual Underwood New Music Reading Sessions to be held at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts in New York City on May 8 & 9, 2007. Up to eight composers in the early stages of their careers will be selected to participate. One will be awarded a $15,000 commission to write a new work to be performed by ACO.
Writing for the symphony orchestra remains one of the supreme challenges for the aspiring composer. The subtleties of instrumental balance, timbre, effective part preparation, and communication with conductor and musicians are critical skills. But openings for composers to gain hands-on experience working with a professional orchestra are few. ACO’s New Music Reading Sessions are designed to give emerging composers the opportunity to work with an orchestra singular in its commitment to the development of the American composer and to hear their work performed by some of the country’s most outstanding contemporary music instrumentalists.
Led by ACO Artistic Director Robert Beaser, the Readings are the core of ACO’s ongoing professional training programs for emerging American composers.
At the Readings, composers will meet with ACO artistic staff, orchestra members, and composer advisors and receive critical commentary and feedback. Members of ACO’s composer advisory panel and guest composers participate in preliminary reviews of scores, post-Reading evaluations and selection of the composer to receive the commission award. The Reading are professionally recorded, and each composer a high-quality audio recording to be used for study purposes.
ACO’s related programs include an annual composer fellowship that allows a composer to work with ACO’s artistic and administrative staffs over the course of a season; and Orchestra Tech, a multi-year project to explore the past, present and future applications of electronics and digital technologies in orchestral music. Through Orchestra Tech, works employing electronics and digital technology are now encouraged for the Readings.
Lead support for the New Music Readings comes from Mr. Paul Underwood, the Fromm Foundation and The Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO’s emerging composers programs are made possible with the support of Jerome Foundation, and with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
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