The Philadelphia Orchestra and American Composers Orchestra (ACO) will partner for a one-day showcase on September 6, 2018, during which the Orchestra will rehearse works by six women composers as part of a collaborative working session. The selected composers, all of whom have been commissioned previously through ACO’s programs, will have their works read and recorded by The Philadelphia Orchestra in a rehearsal led by Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, the composers will participate in meetings with Orchestra leadership and roundtable conversations with the Orchestra’s Artistic Committee and mentor composers, and will receive feedback from co-facilitators, ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and native Philadelphian Melinda Wagner.
“Identifying and collaborating with living composers from all backgrounds is of paramount importance to our organization and for the future evolution of this art form,” said Jeremy Rothman, vice president of artistic planning for The Philadelphia Orchestra. “Our goal is for these readings to foster dialogue between composers and musicians, provide valuable tools for composers to have their works heard and promoted, and spark deeper relationships with a broader selection of composers.”
The six invited composers––selected from the alumnae of ACO’s Underwood, EarShot, and Jazz Composer Orchestra Institute programs––will travel to Philadelphia to work collaboratively with the Orchestra. The composers are Melody Eötvös (2014 Underwood New Music Readings), Hilary Purrington (2017 Underwood New Music Readings), Chen-Hui Jen (2012 EarShot Readings San Diego Symphony), Robin Holcomb (2016 Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute Readings Naples Philharmonic), Xi Wang (2010 Underwood New Music Readings); and Nina C. Young (2013 Underwood New Music Readings).
ACO president Ed Yim added, “Many of the six invited composers were originally identified through the Women Composers Readings and Commissions program, made possible by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Embedded in our Underwood New Music Readings and in EarShot, the program is a systematic approach for identifying emerging female orchestral composers. We are delighted to be collaborating with the great Philadelphia Orchestra and support its desire to strengthen and diversify its programming with these six vibrant artists.”
American Composers Orchestra is both a performing orchestra and a catalyst for the creation and programming of new orchestral music by American composers through several platforms. For nearly 30 years, ACO’s own Underwood New Music Readings have presented new works and given emerging composers feedback from mentor composers, musicians, and conductors. Based on the model of the Underwood readings, ACO also enables orchestras around the country to identify and collaborate with emerging composers through EarShot, a joint program with the League of American Orchestras, New Music USA, and the American Composers Forum. The Women Composers Reading and Commission Program (a partnership with the League of American Orchestras) and the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute offer additional opportunities. Cumulatively, these programs offer composers an array of opportunities to be heard on a national stage.
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