New Music Readings
June 6-8, 2014, DiMenna Center , NYC
Submission Deadline: Dec. 2, 2013 at 5:00PM (EST)
THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE HAS PASSED.
This page is for reference only.
Composers Orchestra announces its 23rd Annual Underwood New Music
Reading Sessions to be held in New York City at The DiMenna Center for Classical
Music 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
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 Olly 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
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
the best orchestration lessons
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.
Readings serve up invaluable insight
art of orchestral writing.'
Carter Pann, past participant
Eligibility & Guidelines
- Applicant must be either a U.S. citizen or non-citizen
lawfully and permanently residing, or studying full-time, in the United
- There are no age restrictions; however, applicants should
be composers at the early stages of their professional careers.
- Each composer may submit only one composition for
consideration. Works that have been previously submitted to ACO for
consideration may not be resubmitted.
- Composers selected to participate in prior ACO
Music Reading Sessions are ineligible.
- Only works that will not have been performed or read by a
professional orchestra nor received a public performance in the New York
metropolitan area prior to the reading date are eligible.
- Your submission may be considered for other eligible
EarShot activities during the 2013-14 season if you check the appropriate
box on the application form.
- Do not submit recordings.
- Only works completed after January 1, 2009, will be
- Compositions must be less than 15 minutes in length. A
portion or movement from a longer work may also be considered.
- Instrumentation should not exceed ACO's standard
symphonic complement: winds at 3,3,3,3; brass at 4,3,3,1; harp, keyboard,
timpani plus 3 percussion, and strings (10, 8, 6, 6, 4). Works with
instrumentation which exceed the above will be considered only with advance
- Works employing electronics, MIDI, digital technology,
and/or sound reinforcement in combination with the above instrumental forces
will be considered. (See special requirements below.)
- Works requiring soloists will not be considered.
- If selected, composers must provide professional, legible
orchestral parts and scores prepared according to guidelines established by
the Major Orchestral Librarians Association. Materials must be delivered to
ACO offices no later than 5 PM, March 1, 2014.
- The quality of the score submitted is the primary
evaluation criteria. It is therefore in the applicant's best interest that
the score be clear, accurate, and the best representation of the composer's
work. The additional background and educational information is for
eligibility and documentation purposes, these materials are not considered
in the general review of scores.
- Incomplete, illegible, or late applications will
not be considered.
How to Apply
Before submitting an
application, carefully review the eligibility & submission
guidelines above. The submission receipt (not postmark) deadline is December
2, 2013, at
submission must include the following:
A completed submission form.
You may print and
mail your submission:
Or, you may
complete your submission online
- One bound copy of the score, clearly labeled with the
composer's name and title of the work on the cover page. If you apply
online, your score may be uploaded as a PDF file.
- A current resume for the composer including educational
background, major teachers, awards, professional affiliations. (May be
uploaded as a PDF.)
- A list of works, including title, year composed,
instrumentation, duration, and performance history. (May be uploaded as a
- One letter of recommendation from an established composer
or other music professional, attesting to the applicant's accomplishments
and potential as an orchestral composer. The recommendation may be sent
under separate cover or uploaded as a PDF.
- A self-addressed stamped envelope suitable for the return
of materials. All supporting materials remain the property of American
Composers Orchestra. ACO is not responsible for lost scores.
- For works with electronics, MIDI, and/or digital
technologies: include a one-page statement describing the rationale for its
use, as well as any pertinent production requirements and technical
specifications. (May be uploaded as a PDF.)
Underwood New Music
American Composers Orchestra
244 West 54th Street, Suite
New York, NY 10019-5515
- For questions or further information:
call: 212-977-8495 ext. 202
Readings give young
a unique opportunity
Roger Zare, past participant
Since its the New Music Readings have helped to identify a new
generation of composers, in many cases offering these emerging artists
their first hearing of a new work. In 2013, composer
A.J. McCaffrey was awarded the Underwood Commission.
Past participants include:
Janet Jieru Chen
Michael Thomas Foumai
Amy Beth Kirsten*
Andrew McKenna Lee
Paul Yeon Lee*
Lansing D. McLoskey
John Fitz Rogers
Daniel Bernard Roumain*
C. Bryan Rulon
Programmed/commissioned by ACO
+Recipient of Audience Choice Award
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.