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ACO Awards, Composers, Commissions, Performances in the News

Are you a composer looking for a score submission opportunity, or just what's new in the field?
Visit ACO's composer opportunity blog.

ArtsTech Award for Dan Trueman

Dan TruemanComposer-performer Dan Trueman, has received an ArtsTech Award from Technology in the Arts for his pioneering work on Silicon/Carbon: an anti-Concerto Grosso, that he created and premiered at ACO's Playing it UNsafe in spring 2008. Silicon/Carbon was the first-ever work for a hybrid orchestra of acoustic instruments and laptop computers. Trueman will be honored at a keynote and ArtsTech awards luncheon on October 10, 2008. Trueman’s approach to working artistically with technology reflects both a sensitivity to the native artist capabilities of new technologies but also a fierce drive to invent and reinvent that technology as needed.


Kristin KusterHistorical Commission for Kristin Kuster

Kristin Kuster, winner of ACO's 2004 Underwood Emerging Composers Commission and a participant in that year's New Music Readings has been commissioned by the Annapolis (MD) Symphony Orchestra for a March 2008 premiere. Kuster's new piece is Beneath This Stone. Kuster says the new work “captures the ebb and flow between the permanence and transience of historical renewal. The title comes from a plaque on a historical marker in Annapolis's Market Square with the title ‘History Stone.’ The plaque explains that the granite block to which it is attached was the cornerstone of a proposed fountain dedicated on the 200th anniversary of the Annapolis City Charter in 1908... It is my hope that my new piece, ‘Beneath This Stone,’ can serve as a living musical monument and tribute to Annapolis’ rich past, present and future.”


Brian CurrentBrian Current Wins Commission

Composer Brian Current has been commissioned to write a new piece for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and Continuum (the Canadian ensemble) in 2009-2010. The work will be for ensemble and electronics, and the commission is sponsored by the Ontario Arts Council. Current had his ACO premiere two seasons ago at Carnegie Hall with his Symphonyies in Slanted Time.


Neil Rolnick's iFiddle Concerto to be performed on Yale New Music series

Composer Neil RolnickViolinst/computer performer extraordinaire Todd Reynolds will perform Neil Rolnick's ACO-Commissioned iFiddle Concerto on Yale's New Music New Haven series. The world premiere of iFiddle Concerto was given by Todd Reynolds and the ACO on the Orchestra Underground "Tech & Techno" concert, March 2006, Carnegie Hall.

Thursday, December 21, 8pm
Morse Recital Hall (Directions...)
Yale School of Music, New Haven, CT
Admission is free.

Read more about Rolnick's iFiddle Concerto...

ACO Receives NYC Proclamation

ACO Executive Director displays proclamation from New York City Council on May 10, 2006 at New York City Hall.The Council of the City of New York honored ACO "for its outstanding contributions to the legacy of American music." The award was presented on May 10, 2006 by Gale A. Brewer, City Council Member, 6th District, Manhattan, in a ceremony at New York City Hall. On hand for the presentation were City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Dominick Recchia, Chair of the Council's Cultural Affairs Committee and council Member, 47th District, Brooklyn, as well as David Lennon, President of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians. Students from Louis D. Brandeis High School made the trip to City Hall for a civics lesson and to play samples of music they created as part of ACO's Music Factory educational program.

ACO Composer in Residence,
Derek Bermel, Wins Awards, Accolades...

Derek Bermel, Music Alive Composer in Residence ACO's newly appointed Music Alive Composer in Residence, Derek Bermel received to important awards recently: The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him a 2006 Academy Award, which honors Derek's outstanding artistic achievement and "acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice." Derek is also the new recipient of the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Award, founded by famed teacher Nadia Boulanger in 1939 to aid composers and other musicians of exceptional talent and integrity.

Time Out New York music writer Steve Smith called Elixir, Bermel's new work for ACO, premiered in May 2006 at Carnegie Hall, a "magical concoction that opened with a shimmer of bowed metal... Hushed strings and harp played a simple lullaby, which gained in microtonal complexity... Ghostly voices soon sounded out from Bermel's orchestra... Bermel's vocabulary drew upon Ives and Messiaen, but in strikingly original manner that yielded an utterly narcotic effect."

Read more about Derek's residency...

2004 readings commissionee Kristin Kuster and guest conductor Carl St. ClairKristin Kuster Gets Rave for Carnegie Hall Premiere

Kristin Kuster, the winning composer from ACO's 2004 New Music Readings, heard her commissioned work, Myrrha, premiered by ACO at Carnegie Hall on May 3. At the 2004 Readings, Kuster was singled-out as a "wonderfully ambitious" composer, "reaching deep for meaning and expressive breadth." And The New York Times seems to agree saying Kuster's Myrrha, "has an invitingly tart edge, and she writes commandingly for the orchestra."

Read an interview with Kristin Kuster...

ACO Awarded Unprecedented ASCAP Award

ACO has been awarded ASCAP's Jonathan S. Edward Award for the Strongest Commitment to New American Music for the orchestra's groundbreaking 2004-05 season. The award was presented at the American Symphony Orchestra League's national conference in June 2005. This is the second consecutive year that ACO has garnered ASCAP's highest orchestral honor, and ACO's 28th award overall--a record unmatched by any other orchestra. The award comes on the heals of a season that saw the expansion of ACO's Orchestra Underground to two sold-out concerts and included eight world premieres and commissions.

View a listing of the 2004-05 season's premieres
Go to the 2005-06 concert calendar

Michael Gatonska Awarded 2005 Underwood Commission

Composer Michael Gatonska has been named the winner of the 2005 Underwood Emerging Composers Commission, bringing him a $15,000 commission for a work to be premiered by American Composers Orchestra.
Find out more...

Paul Yeon Lee Wins Hinrichsen Award

Paul Yeon Lee, an alumnus of ACO's annual New Music Readings and the 2001 winner of ACO's Whitaker Emerging Composers Commission, has been named the recipient of the 2005 Walter Hinrichsen Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Award is given for the publication of a work by a gifted composer. Lee's ACO-commissioned work Ballade No. 1, will be premiered by ACO in a future season. Lee received his DMA from the university of Michigan, where he studied with Leslie Bassett, William Bolcolm and Bright Sheng. He has also been an ASCAP Award-winner and fellow of the MacDowell Colony.

Double Kudos to Manly Romero

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was also kind to Manly Romero, recognizing him with a Charles Ives Scholarship for 2005. The Scholarship, given to students of great promise, comes right on the heals of ACO's premiere of Romero's Blanco, Azul, Rojo at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 23, 2005. Romero is another winner of ACO's Whitaker Commission, having participated in the New Music Readings in 2003. There must be something in the water out there in Ann Arbor, because Romero is also a DMA student at the University of Michigan, studying with William Bolcom and Michael Daugherty.

T.J. Anderson Elected to Academy

Composer T.J. Anderson , whose Boogie-Woogie Concertante, was featured in ACO's Improvise! festival in April 2004, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Academy was founded in 1898 to "foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts." Anderson will be inducted at a ceremony in New York in May, 2005. Congratulations T.J.!

Alvin Singleton Premiers New Work April 14

Alvin SingletonComposer Alvin Singleton--who last year was commissioned by ACO and the Koussevitzky Foundation for When Given A Choice, a work premiered as part of ACO's Improvise! festival--will have a new work premiered on April 14, 2005 at Merkin Hall in NYC. The new piece is entitled Say You Have This Ball of Meaning, and is scored for percussion, harp, accordion, baritone solo, and string orchestra. Thomas Buckner is the baritone soloist. Text are by MacArthur Fellow Patricia Hampl.

Michael Gordon & Ridge Theater in London "Gotham" By Michael Gordon and Ridge Theater

Gotham, the multimedia collaboration between composer Michael Gordon and Ridge Theater, commissioned and composed for ACO's debut "Orchestra Underground" concert in Zankel Hall in 2004 will get its European premiere on March 11, 2005 in a performance by the London Sinfonietta. [listen to an excerpt of Gotham]

Tania León & Derek Bermel Featured with BBC Symphony

  • Tania León's Kabiosile commissioned and premiered by ACO in 1988 will be featured in a BBC Symphony program on March 4, 2005 in a series of programs that explore the influences of African music. The BBC Symphony will also record the work.

  • Derek Bermel's Dust Dances, the piece that earned him recognition and participation in ACO's 1994 Emerging Composers Readings will be included in the same March 4, 2005 BBC Symphony Program. Bermel's ACO-commissioned clarinet concerto, Voices, has previously been performed by orchestras from Los Angeles to Boston.

Composer/violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, Still Taking NYCDaniel Bernard Roumain

Composer/violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain was the subject of a January 2, 2005 profile in The New York Times. Roumain was ACO's first Van Lier Emerging Fellowship Composer, and a recipient of the orchestra's Whitaker Emerging Composer Commission. ACO commissioned and premiered his Harlem Essay for Orchestra and Digital Audio Tape in 2000. Lately, Roumain has been serving as assistant composer-in-residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. And he continues his work with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and teaching aspiring composers in his Harlem neighborhood. Says Roumain in the article, "I used to be very interested, as a composer, in documenting the African-American experience. Now I'm interested in the human experience. I'm interested in reaching a broader audience, but I'm not as interested in celebrity as community. I believe that where classical music began was in forwarding an idea for the common good. It's become something different in some ways. But I still believe that composers are the priests of that, the keepers of the flame."

Coleman Wins Award for ACO-Commissioned Work

Congratulations to ACO's Whitaker Commission-winner and readings session alumnus Dan Coleman. Coleman has won the prestigious Sylvia Goldstein Award from the Copland House, for his ACO/Helen F. Whitaker Fund-commissioned piece L'alma respira. The honor comes with a check for $5,000. Eminent composers Martin Bresnick, Bright Sheng, and Joan Tower served as judges.

A case study about ACO's "Coming to America" project that took place in 2002-03 ago has been released. The study has been posted on Americans for the Arts - Animating Democracy website. The report details the full scope and challenges that ACO faced, as the only orchestra selected for this important Ford Foundation initiative that explored arts-based civic dialogue. [find out more...]

 Nicolas Slonimsky: Perfect Pitch

Electra Yourke, daughter of pianist, composer, conductor, and musical lexicographer Nicolas Slonimsky recently expanded his 1988 autobiography. The book tells the fascinating story of Slonimsky's journey from his native Russia to France and the United States, where he became known as a champion of modern music. ACO performed "Berlin 1931" on January 21, 2001, a re-creation of a program of American music introduced to German audiences 70 years earlier by Slonimsky.

Perfect Pitch is published by Omnibus Press,
and is available in bookstores worldwide and online.

2004 readings commissionee Kristin Kuster and guest conductor Carl St. ClairComposer Kristin Kuster Wins 2004 Underwood Commission

Kristin Kuster has been named winner of the 2004 Underwood Commission, an honor that includes a $15,000 prize and a world premiere performance by the ACO at Carnegie Hall [find out more...]

ACO-Xchange Offers Professional Networking Opportunity

If you want to keep up with what's happening in new American music, check out ACO's professional networking resource ACO-Xchange.

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