Underwood New Music Readings & Commission

Underwood New Music Readings & Commission
June 13-15
, 2016, Miller Theatre, New York, NY
Submission Deadline: December 11, 2015

American Composers Orchestra announces its 25th Annual Underwood New Music Reading Sessions to be held in New York City at Miller Theatre, Columbia University June 13-15, 2016.

Up to seven 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 ACO.

Writing 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 conducted by ACO Music Director, George Manahan. Additional mentor-composers include Robert Beaser, Stephen Hartke and Sarah Kirkland Snider.

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 include two sessions with the orchestra, a working-rehearsal and a run-through performance. The performances are professionally recorded, and each composer is given a high-quality audio recording to be used for archival, study and portfolio 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 participants.

Applicants may submit one work, up to 15 minutes duration for consideration. Applicants must submit an electronic submission form, the orchestral score, a resume, works list, and letter of recommendation. The submission deadline is December 11, 2015. Incomplete, illegible, or late applications will not be considered. Complete submission guidelines can be found here.

Support for the Underwood New Music Readings comes from Paul Underwood, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fromm Music Foundation and the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University. The project also receives public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts. Additional funding provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.