ACO UNMR 2015 Image banner website

24th Annual Underwood New Music Readings

On May 6 and 7, American Composers Orchestra will hold its 24th annual Underwood New Music Readings conducted by Music Director George Manahan at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music. Seven emerging composers were chosen from an international pool of more than 400 applicants from seven countries and 37 states ranging in age from 9 to 84. ACO’s Readings include two public events – a working rehearsal on May 6 at 10:30am, and a run-through performance on May 7 at 7:30pm. Both events are free and open to the public, giving audiences a chance to look behind the scenes at the process involved in bringing brand new orchestral music to life. The 24th Annual Underwood New Music Readings are under the direction of ACO’s Artistic Director, composer Derek Bermel, with mentor composers Gabriela Lena Frank,and Kevin Puts.

The conductors, mentor composers, and principal players from ACO provide critical feedback to each of the participants during and after the sessions, which will be professionally recorded. One composer from the Underwood New Music Readings will be chosen to receive a $15,000 commission to write a new piece for ACO, to be premiered during the orchestra’s 2016-2017 season. In addition, on both May 6 and 7, audience members will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite pieces, and the composer chosen as the “Audience Choice” winner will be commissioned to compose an original mobile phone ringtone. The ringtone will be available free of charge to everyone who voted.

The Underwood New Music Readings also offer composers, students, or anyone interested in learning more about the business of being a composer a Career Development Workshop on Thursday, May 7 from 10am-4pm at the DiMenna Center. These invaluable talks, led by leaders in the industry, provide information ranging from copyright and commission agreements, to music preparation, to promotion, and fundraising.

The workshops are a practical guide for any composer wishing to gain a better understanding of these critical aspects to success as a composer today. Previously only available to participants in the Readings, ACO has made a limited number of spaces available to aspiring composers from the community for a small registration fee.

The cost for the Seminar is $30, which includes lunch. Reservations required.

Thursday May 7, 2015 from 10-4
Cary Hall @ The DiMenna Center

topics include:

Copyright and Commissioning Basics
James Kendrick, Esq. (Alter & Kendrick) LLP

Be Prepared: Introduction to professional score and parts production
Bill Holab, Principal & Owner, Bill Holab Music Services

Support Structures for Composers
Ed Harsh, President and CEO, New Music USA
John Nuechterlein, President and CEO, American Composers Forum

Publicity and Promotion
Christina Jensen, principal, Christina Jensen PR
Jessica Lustig, managing director, 21C Media Group
Steven Swartz, founder and partner, dotdotdotmusic
Frank J. Oteri, Composer Advocate, New Music USA, moderator

Getting It Out There: What’s Going on in the Recording Industry Anyway? Programming Yourself in Today’s Market – panel discussion
Sean Hickey, NAXOS USA
Frank J. Oteri, New Music USA
John Nuechterlein, American Composers Forum


Support for the Underwood New Music Readings comes from Paul Underwood, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fromm Music Foundation and the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University. The project also receives public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts. Additional funding provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

May 6, 2014
10:30 AM
Reading #1 (working rehearsal)
Cost: Free
Make Reservations Cary Hall, DiMenna Center


May 7, 2014
10:00 AM
Career Workshops
Cost: $30
Buy Tickets Cary Hall, DiMenna Center


May 7, 2014
7:30 PM
Reading #2 (run throughs)
Cost: Free
Make Reservations Cary Hall, DiMenna Center


All events occur at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music
450 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018