23rd Annual Underwood New Music Readings & Commission
Submission Deadline: Dec. 2, 2013
Readings: June 6-8, 2014
Up to six 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.
The Readings are led by ACO Artistic Director, Derek Bermel and Artistic Director Laureate, Robert Beaser; and conducted by ACO Music Director, George Manahan. Additional mentor-composers are Julia Wolfe and Ollie Wilson. The Underwood 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 — including the conductor and mentor composers. Members of ACO’s composer advisory panel and guest composers participate in preliminary reviews of scores, provide critical commentary and feedback, post-Reading evaluations and selection of the composer to receive the commission award.
The Readings are professionally recorded, and each composer is given a high-quality audio recording to be used for study purposes. Composers also participate in a series of professional development workshops covering such topics as promotion, score preparation and publishing, copyright and commissioning agreements, and other career essentials. Transportation and meals are provided for all participants.
‘One of the best orchestration lessons I have ever had.’
– Jason Freeman, past participant
The Underwood New Music Readings are part of EarShot, the national orchestral composition discovery network. EarShot activities include new music readings and other composer development programs with orchestras around the country. EarShot is coordinated by ACO in collaboration with American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA (formerly American Music Center and Meet The Composer). Lead support for the Underwood New Music Readings comes from Mr. Paul Underwood, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fromm Music Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University along with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Lead support for the Underwood New Music Readings comes from Mr. Paul Underwood, Fromm Music Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
‘The Readings serve up invaluable insight into the art of orchestral writing.’
– Carter Pann, past participant