Philadelphia Orchestra – Showcase for Works by Women Composers

Six composers’ works performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra in working session on September 6, 2018

September 6, 2018 (Philadelphia, PA)
Presented by Philadelphia Orchestra and American Composers Orchestra

As part of a collaborative working session, six women composers – all of whom have been commissioned previously through ACO’s programs – had their works read and recorded by The Philadelphia Orchestra in a rehearsal led by Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Composers engaged with the Orchestra’s leadership and Artistic Committee, and received feedback from co-facilitators, ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and native Philadelphian Melinda Wagner.

The Philadelphia Orchestra commissioned all six composers for future seasons.

This partnership stems from ACO’s commitment to emerging composers through its EarShot and Underwood New Music Readings programs. In an effort to catalyze gender equity among composers in classical music, ACO serves as a curator for diverse voices in American music.


“For the time in recent memory, the Philadelphia Orchestra reads through new scores – this time by women” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) [read more]

“A Labor of Love” (The Philadelphia Orchestra Blog) [read more]


Alumnae of ACO’s Underwood, EarShot, and Jazz Composer Orchestra Institute programs


MELODY EÖTVÖS (2014 Underwood New Music Readings) is a Bloomington IN-based Australian composer whose work draws on both multi‐media and traditional instrumental contexts, as well as substantial extra‐musical references to a broad rand of philosophical topics and late 19th Century literature. Melody has been the recipient of various awards including an APRA PDA (Australia 2009), the Soundstream National Composer Award (2012), and a Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commission administered by the League of American Orchestras, the EarShot Foundation (world premiere: Carnegie Hall October 23rd 2015). Current commissions include an orchestral work for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (Australia), Synergy Percussion + Vox (Sydney), the Chou’s composition award commission (China), and a piano and clarinet work for Guy Yehuda (USA). Melody holds a Doctor of Music (2014) from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music USA, and a Master of Music (2008) from the Royal Academy of Music, London UK.



HILARY PURRINGTON (2017 Underwood New Music Readings) is a New York City-based composer of chamber, choral, and orchestral music. Her work has been recognized by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC), among others. In the summer of 2012, she received funding through a Wagoner Foreign Study Grant to study Music Composition and German Language at the Freie Universität Berlin, and in the summer of 2013, she participated as a Fellow at the Yale School of Music Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Her music was performed at the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL, and has been performed by many distinguished ensembles including the Peabody Modern Orchestra, Yale Philharmonia, American Modern Ensemble, and the ChoralArt Camerata. Recent commissions include new works for the Chicago Harp Quartet, the Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble, and the Melodia Women’s Choir of NYC. Upcoming projects include commissions from Washington Square Winds, inFLUX, and the New York Youth Symphony. Purrington holds degrees from the Yale School of Music, The Juilliard School, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.



CHEN-HUI JEN  (2012 EarShot Readings San Diego Symphony) is a composer whose music presents an imaginative, spiritual, and poetic space with subtlety and sophistication. Jen writes music for music for orchestra, chamber, and solo, for both Western and Chinese instruments, also vocal and choral works, as well as works with computer and electronics. Since 2010, Dr. Jen has performed piano in a duo with her husband, composer/computer musician Jacob David Sudol. She earned a Ph.D. degree in Composition at the University of California, San Diego, where her mentor was Chinary Ung. Born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Chen-Hui Jen received her M.F.A. in composition at the Graduate School of Music at the Taipei National University of the Arts and B.F.A. in composition at the Music Department of the National Sun Yet-San University, under the instruction of Prof. Hwang-Long Pan and Dr. Tzyy-Sheng Lee.



ROBIN HOLCOMB (2016 Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute Readings, Naples Philharmonic) has performed internationally as a solo artist and the leader of various ensembles. Following Sundanese gamelan performance studies at UC Santa Cruz and several years spent sharecropping tobacco in North Carolina, Holcomb was active in New York for many years as a composer and performer with deep roots in the downtown avant-garde as one of the original Studio Henry mavericks. She has recorded her music for Nonesuch, Tzadik, Songlines, and the New World labels. Holcomb is a founder and codirector of The New York Composers Orchestra and WACO (The Washington Composers Orchestra), ensembles for which she is also conductor, pianist and a principal composer. Other current performing ensembles include a longstanding duo project with cellist Peggy Lee and The Robin Holcomb Ensemble. Composing instrumental and vocal music for a wide variety of chamber ensembles and soloists, she has been commissioned to create scores for dance, film and theatre.



XI WANG (2010 Underwood New Music Readings) has written original concert music, performed worldwide by notable orchestras and ensembles such as the Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic, Spokane Symphony, among others. Xi Wang is the recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts award, Meet the Composer, New Music USA, American Music Center, MacDowell Colony residency, as well as seven prizes from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Xi Wang has received commissions from the League of American Orchestras, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, Albany Symphony, Shanghai Philharmonic, Voices of Change, Great Dallas Youth Orchestra, Soli Chamber Ensemble, among others. Xi Wang’ received her B.M. from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, M.M. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and D.M.A. from Cornell University. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at the Meadow School of Arts of Southern Methodist University.



NINA C. YOUNG (2013 Underwood New Music Readings) writes music characterized by an acute sensitivity to tone color, manifested in aural images of vibrant, arresting immediacy. Her projects strive to create unique sonic environments that can be appreciated by a wide variety of audiences while challenging stylistic boundaries, auditory perception, and notions of temporality. Young’s works have been presented by leading cultural institutions such as Carnegie Hall, the National Gallery, the Whitney, LA Phil’s Next on Grand, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series. A graduate of McGill and MIT, Nina completed her DMA at Columbia University where she was an active participant at the Columbia Computer Music Center. Nina is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Director of Electronic Music at UT Austin, and a Visiting Composer at the Peabody Institute. She serves as Co-Artistic Director of NY-based new music sinfonietta Ensemble Échappé, a visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers, and board member of Qubit’s Harlem pop-up-venue Project-Q.  Peermusic Classical publishes her compositions.