Saving American Musical Voices Campaign


Our community needs ACO’s continued work in the 2020-21 season. Will you join me in supporting their work with a gift?

At this moment in time, we face the potential loss of a generation of rising artists’ voices. We have never faced a moment quite as daunting as this one. The pandemic has shown us how vulnerable our freelance composers, soloists and rostered musicians are. Even the most successful working artists have watched cancellation after cancellation throw their entire livelihood into uncertainty and chaos.

From the beginning of the pandemic, ACO responded with the Connecting ACO Community initiative, commissioning composers and paying musicians to perform from their homes. When we needed work and hope that our careers would continue, ACO showed up.

I was fortunate to be one of the 19 composers selected to write a piece in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. My collaboration with countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus proved to be so fruitful and meaningful. If you haven’t seen it yet, I urge you to watch our video performance at left, or click here.” 

It is a rare luxury to not only receive a commission but to also have four performances built into the commission structure. American Composers Orchestra believed in my vision and paved the way both for the piece and for a conversation around and about its ideas, at a time when it’s crucial to make work about what’s happening in the world.

I consider ACO one of the most vital and crucial institutions for contemporary music. In these incredibly trying times for our country and around the globe when concerts and musical actives are put on pause, ACO provides opportunities for performers, composers, and audiences to gather, collaborate, and continue making music.

Thank you for this past month's Compose Yourself classes. I had a truly wonderful experience learning and communicating with other composers. I can not wait to hear the final recording from the musicians for that piece. The intensive program was truly amazing.

At this moment of change, ACO is investing in three areas:

#1 American Voices

  • “The Gathering: A Collective Sonic Ring Shout,” a new partnership with the Apollo Theater and National Black Theater, which centers the soul of Black folks and the heart of America’s brilliant and bitter present. Focused around the NYC premiere of Seven Last Words by Joel Thompson, this event is meant to awaken joy as a source of liberation and to find love as our form of resistance.
  • Composer to Composer Talks feature major American composers in conversation with each other about their work and leading a creative life. The intergenerational discussions will begin by exploring a single work with one composer interviewing the other. Attendees will gain insight to each work’s genesis, sound, influence on the American orchestral canon, and be invited to ask questions of the artists. 

#2 Emerging Composers

  • 12 Professional Development Webinars from October through May. These panel discussions will feature esteemed professionals in the industry about topics including Entrepreneurship and Creating an Ensemble, Film Composition, Fundraising via Supportive Individuals, and more.
  • Two EarShot Readings, orchestra readings like the one I joined in 2016, are planned for June 2021 including ACO musicians in NYC and the National Orchestral Institute in College Park, MD.
  • Pathways Pilot will provide a series of commissions and personalized mentorship to Anjna Swaminathan, a versatile artist in the field of South Indian Carnatic Violin.

#3 Students

  • Sonic Spark Ensembles: instrumental & voice instruction for 4th-12th graders.
  • Sonic Spark Lab: sparks curiosity in 4th-12th graders as they create original projects in small groups.
  • Compose Yourself: high schoolers learn to compose their own music.

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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