Underwood New Music Readings & Commission 2017

Underwood New Music Readings & Commission
June 21-23
, 2017 – DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York, NY
Submission Deadline: December 12, 2016


American Composers Orchestra announces its 26th Annual Underwood New Music Reading Sessions to be held in New York City at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, June 21-23, 2017.

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.

The Readings are led by ACO Artistic Director, Derek Bermel and conducted by ACO Music Director, George Manahan. Mentor composers Libby Larsen, David Rakowski and Trevor Weston will be on hand throughout the readings.

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 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 12, 2016. Incomplete, illegible, or late applications will not be considered. Complete submission guidelines can be found here.

Lead support for the Underwood New Music Readings comes from Mr. and Mrs. Paul Underwood.
Support of Readings also comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Fromm Music Foundation. Additional funding provided by the League of American Orchestras with support from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.