October 15, 2024

2024 Gala & Creative Catalyst Awards

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Be Part of 10 New Works

2023-24 Commission Club

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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

Wang Lu

Wang Lu is currently a doctoral candidate in composition at Columbia University. Her works have been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Shanghai National Chinese Orchestra, Musiques Nouvelles Ensemble of Belgium, Phoenix Ensemble of Basel, and Beijing New Music Ensemble, Argento Ensemble, So Percussion, ICE, counterinduction, and Momenta String Quartet. She is particularly interested in Chinese folk songs as well as ancient Qin opera, through the prism of contemporary instrumental techniques and new sonic possibilities. Lu will present her work Surge on July 7th in Aspen, CO as part of the Virginia B. Toulmin Commission Consortium.  

Patricia Leonard

Patricia Leonard is a composer of opera and musical theater;
her musical education includes the Boston Conservatory and The Juilliard School. Her principal composition teachers are Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici and Larry Bell. Ms. Leonard’s works have been
performed in major cities in the U.S. and Europe, interpreted by celebrated musicians from the New York Philharmonic, Zurich Opera, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Boston Symphony/Pops/Ballet, and featured soloists such as Grammy Award-winning clarinetist Eddie Daniels, Met Opera soprano Wendy Bryn Harmer and renowned pianists Simon Mulligan and Christopher Oldfather. Ms. Leonard was one of four 2024 ROCO Earshot Composers.

Eunsung Kim

Eunsung Kim is a German-based Korean composer. Kim earned his Bachelor’s degree in composition at Seoul National University under Tae Bong Chung. He went on to earn his Master and Konzertexamen’s degree from Music University of Franz Liszt Weimar, where he studied under Michael Obst und Ulrich Kreppein. His recent distinctions include the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University Competition, Weimarar frühjahrstage für zeitgenössische Musik Competition, Joseph Joachim
Chamber Music Competition, among others. Kim's work, Kaleidoscope for Orchestra, was performed at the June 14th Earshot Reading. Learn more about Earshot and watch the June 14th livestream.