Call for Scores: EarShot Readings

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Be Part of 10 New Works

2023-24 Commission Club

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May 12th-19th at Perelman Arts Center

An American Soldier

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June 1st, 2o24 at the kennedy center

The Gathering

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Who we are. The American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is a national discovery and development pipeline for new orchestral music, focused on bringing the full spectrum of American music to orchestral stages, providing a gateway to the orchestral composition and performance process, and amplifying the expressive power of orchestral music to enable a vibrant future for all Americans. We've made incredible strides over the past 4+ decades, and we are just getting started.

What we do. For composers of all experience levels, we offer an end-to-end composition accelerator to get you from idea to performance in partnership with orchestras nationwide. For orchestral commissioners, we offer a comprehensive suite of resources and relationships to realize your artistic vision. For students and educators, we offer an array of programs and resources designed to nurture creativity through music composition and improvisation. For our country, we bring new works into the world that represent the American experience through the imagination of today’s composers.

Meet ACO

Founded in 1977 by a collective of fearless musicians based in NYC, the American Composers Orchestra expands the definition of American orchestral music to ensure a vibrant and inclusive future. Over more than 40 years committed to artistry, creativity, community, and equity, ACO has blossomed into a national institution that cultivates and develops the careers of living composers, providing a direct pipeline to meaningful partnerships with orchestras across the country.

Composer Advancement

For over 40 years, ACO has discovered and developed the careers of composers whose work expands the definition of American orchestral music. Our national EarShot composer advancement initiatives are the nation’s first ongoing, systemic program for building relationships between composers and orchestras through Readings, CoLABoratory fellowships, consortium commissions, and professional development.

Performances and Events

Join us for electrifying performances featuring world premiere works by artists whose creativity knows no bounds. The American Composers Orchestra performs at Carnegie Hall, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, the Apollo Theater, and beyond.​

Educational Programs

For 30 years, ACO has positioned music composition as a gateway to creative thinking, problem solving, and self-expression. Our long-term Sonic Spark residencies nurture the imagination through creative rituals and play, cultivating personal, social, and academic growth. Sonic Spark serves students at all levels of experience, including those who have never played an instrument before, are learning to write music for the first time, or are on track to develop high level careers in the field.

Featured Artists

Autumn Maria Reed

Autumn Maria Reed is a Wisconsin-based composer of orchestral and musical theater works. She plays the double bass with Dayvin Hallmon's The Black String Triage Ensemble and Black Diaspora Symphony Orchestra, which performs string music for trauma and violence victims. Reed advocates for ending the stigma of mental illness, as in her orchestral piece, Mental Health Suite: The Persistent Past & The Fearful Future. Reed will workshop this work in June at the upcoming EarShot Readings with ROCO in Houston, Texas.

Sofía Scheps

Sofía Scheps is a Uruguayan composer and an assistant professor to the chairs of Composition and Orchestration, at the Theory and Composition Department, at the School of Music of the University of the Republic (Uruguay). Working at the frontiers of experimentalism, electroacoustic music, mixed media, chamber music, and sound art, Scheps also devotes part of her time to sound design and music for cinema, television, and theater. Her piece, demografía acústica: % / acoustic demography: %, is part of ACO's June 13-14th EarShot Reading in New York.

Michael Begay

Michael Begay is a Diné performer/composer of chamber music, experimental sound, Native American flute, and metal music. Begay's newly commissioned CoLABoratory work, Diné Thought/Life Process, will be based on the Diné learning and thought process: Nitsáhákees (Thinking), Nahat’á (Planning), Iiná (Living out plan), Siihasiin (Reflect). As the piece progresses, field recordings will be triggered by the orchestra, via microphone/capture device connected to a MAX/MSP patch and audio interface.  Learn more about Begay's commission and CoLABoratory.