American Composers Orchestra - Innovating Right Before Your Ears

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From the Director

FAQs for schools

For information contact:

Kevin James
Director of Education
212-977-8495, x252













For Middle and High School students
WITH or WITHOUT musical experience.
4 or more sessions.

Master composers and performers work with your students on developing the courage, and technique necessary for a confident and creative approach to improvisation. In most cases this will be achieved through a combination of demonstrations and engaging, hands-on activities focused around the study and preparation of one of the composer’s works. The results will be presented at a culminating event alongside a guest ensemble in a performance at your school.

Possible Program Examples:

If your school currently has an ongoing music program:

  • 3 workshops with your music students on improvisation techniques led by acclaimed composer/performer

  • 3rd workshop - the Manhattan Brass Quintet also attends, performs for the music students and participates in a rehearsal/workshop with them.

  • Culminating event: MBQ performs and is joined by the students for a raucous and improvisation filled rendition of a piece they’ve rehearsed together.

If your school currently does NOT have an ongoing music program:

  • 3 workshops with your students led by acclaimed composer/percussionist.

  • 1st is a demonstration and performance of percussion techniques done entirely on home made instruments and found objects.

  • 2nd & 3rd - students create a battery of instruments drawn from their school environment and learn about creativity, form, rhythm, listening skills and identity while creating a new work of their own.

  • Culminating event: SO Percussion performs for the student body and is joined by the student ensemble to perform the student created work for the school.

The Music Factory programs of ACO are designed to promote student achievement, inspire creativity and develop baseline transferable skills through close engagement with some of the worlds finest composers and musicians.

Taking unique advantage of one of the city’s most underutilized resources - New York is home to more accomplished composers than any other place in the world - ACO Music Factory programs are hands-on minds-on, performance based activities aimed at students from the 4th-12th grades and are appropriate for in-school or after-school settings.

All provide high-impact learning opportunities for music students of any level, and many are appropriate for schools and students without musical experience. For most ACO Music Factory programs the length and number of artist visits is adaptable to the needs of the school, from a single event to a full semester or year.

For 35 years the ACO has been the only orchestra in the world dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation and promotion of music by American composers. Since it’s founding the orchestra has commissioned and premiered more new works by American composers than any other orchestra. ACO serves as an incubator of ideas, research and talent, as a catalyst for growth and change among orchestras, and as an advocate for American composers and their music.

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