Orchestra Tech:
The Orchestra Technology Initiative

ACO—Research & Development for the Field

Technology is a key area where research and development are needed and where ACO can have a maximal impact on the field. Through its many performances and collaborations with composers, ACO is uniquely familiar with the challenges and complexities presented by the inclusion of technology in an orchestral setting.

Among ACO's experiences with technological innovations are:

  • World premiere in 2000 of the full realization of George Antheil's original Ballet Mécanique, employing 16 computer-networked hybrid acoustic-electronic pianos.

  • A decade ago, the orchestra premiered the world's first work for MIDI-enabled conductor's baton by composer-innovator Morton Subotnick.

  • Other recent performances have included new multimedia works by this year's Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun, and music for electric violin and orchestra by the "wired" performance artist Laurie Anderson.

In organizing Orchestra Tech, ACO draws not only on its extensive production experience, but also on its experience in organizing and hosting multifaceted convenings of composers, which it has done in six international festivals of Latin American music.

With these experiences, ACO, in alliance with its network of advisors and project partners, constitutes a potent force in focusing national attention on the present and future of technological applications in music for symphony orchestra. We know of no other effort by any other organization that approaches the scope and range of activities proposed under the Orchestra Technology Initiative.

Over its first quarter-century of operation, ACO has become recognized in the music community as a catalyst for the development of new work, and as a resource for the identification of promising new talent and ideas in American orchestral music. As American Composers Orchestra has grown and matured, it has come to see its role as extending beyond performance. As the field has changed, so have the challenges and issues faced by composers and orchestras. Consequently, ACO has increasingly focused its energies on specific ideas, concepts, and issues in orchestral music, examining these through longer-term initiatives that encompass commissioning, performance, education, professional development, outreach and dissemination activities. In short, ACO now views a quality performance as the beginning of a series of interrelated activities designed to impact the field, not as an end unto itself.

Orchestra Tech represents a substantial, meaningful and timely exploration of an area of musical activity that requires these types of focused energies. To restate our aims, Orchestra Tech seeks to encourage the integration of technology into the modern orchestra, stimulate development of new symphonic music using expressive technologies, influence the evolution of the orchestral aesthetic, and demonstrate the impact technology can have on orchestras, new music and culture in general.

Click below to find out more:

Orchestra Tech Initiative IntroPurpose
On the Digital SidelinesOverview of Activities
Other Orchestra Tech Programs

ACO Homepage