Release (2006_07)

ACO’s 2006-07 Season
Marks 30th Anniversary Putting Composer-Performers “Out Front”

Six World Premieres at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center; Orchestra Underground in NYC & Philly; Derek Bermel is Composer in Residence

Composers OutFront!American Composers Orchestra announces its 2006-07 concerts, marking the orchestra’s 30th year as this country’s most provocative and fertile source of innovative new American orchestral music. The new season focuses the spotlight on the composer as performer, from its ground-breaking Orchestra Underground series at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, to a new collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, and a special 60th birthday tribute to John Adams. ACO expands its celebrated New Music Readingsfor emerging composers through events in New York City, and in Philadelphia, where the orchestra has taken up a residency at the University of Pennsylvania‘s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

ACO’s home base series, its 20th season presented by Carnegie Hall, includes three performances. In Zankel Hall, ACO kicks-off its fourth year of Orchestra Underground in two concerts, October 13 and March 26, subtitled “Composers OutFront!” Featured composer-performers include world premieres by composer-bass clarinetist Evan Ziporyn, composer-conductor Brad Lubman, composer-violist Kurt Rohde, and composer-pianist Vijay Iyer, with additional premieres and performances by Michael Gatonska, Michael Gandolfi, composer-electric guitarist Steven Mackey, composer-harpsichordist Harold Meltzer, and Tania León. Since ACO launched Orchestra Underground in 2004, the series has played to sold-out houses and attracted new listeners, stretching the definition of the symphony orchestra through non-traditional instrumentation and spatial orientations, technological innovation, and multimedia collaborations.

ACO’s Carnegie series culminates April 27 in Stern Auditorium, with “An Adams Apple: John Adams at 60,” an all-Adams concert with the composer conducting. Soloists are violinist Leila Josefowicz in Adams’s Violin Concerto and baritone Eric Owens in The Wound Dresser.

ACO enters into a new collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, November 16 – 18, with three performances of a program that explores the intersection of jazz and the orchestra, featuring music by George Gershwin, Charles Mingus, John Lewis, and the world premiere of a newly commissioned work by ACO’s Music Alive Composer in Residence Derek Bermel.

Orchestra Underground:
Composers OutFront!

Oct. 13, 2006 at Zankel Hall, NYC;
Oct. 15, 2006 at Irvine Auditorium, Philadelphia

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 7:30pm in Zankel Hall, ACO kicks-off its season with the first Orchestra Underground “Composers OutFront!” concert. Three newly commissioned world premieres are on tap: Underwood Emerging Composers Commission-winner Michael Gatonska, Evan Ziporyn and Brad Lubman, as well as inventive music by Michael Gandolfi and the ever-surprising Charles Ives. Continuing ACO’s forays into multidisciplinary collaboration, the concert includes contributions from video artists Ean White and Boom Design Group, composer-percussionist Susie Ibarra, composer-singer Corey Dargel, as well as amplified cello soloist Lauren Radnofsky. In addition to being featured as composer, Brad Lubman conducts, in his ACO debut.

Michael Gatonska, winner of 2005 Underwood Emerging Composers CommissionThe world premiere of After the Wings of Migratory Birds is the result of Michael Gatonska’s participation in ACO’s 2005 Underwood New Music Readings. Gatonska describes this new work as “an overall circulation of sound forms, energies and dynamic elasticity from beginning to end.” Gatonska’s music has earned him two ASCAP Awards, participation in the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, and the Chicago Symphony First Hearing Award. This summer his music was featured in the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Melinda Wagner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer-advisor for ACO says, “Michael demonstrates a unique ability to thread together finely-carved, diverse ‘glimpses’ of music into a convincing, organic whole-a temporal kaleidoscope of style and color.”

Michael Gandolfi’s As Above receives its New York premiere. Gandolfi has an ongoing interest in the musical possibilities of theater, film, and the physical sciences. Created in collaboration with video artist Ean White, As Above will be presented with a “live” performance of the video element by White, with the screen integrated into the ensemble, “allowing the ensemble to be free from the constraints of a ‘fixed track,'” says the composer. Gandolfi’s music has been performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and Boston Modern Orchestra Project, among others. He is a faculty member of the New England Conservatory of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center. Ean White has developed video, sound, conceptual and performance art installations for over twenty years, collaborating with Mobius Artist Group, Boston Performance Artists and others. He is on the faculty of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and holds a teaching residency at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art.

Evan Ziporyn, composer & bass clarinet“You’d have to look far and wide to find someone to compare with Evan Ziporyn… who has gone to greatly imaginative lengths to expand the dimensions of his instrument,” says the Newark Star-Ledger. Ziporyn makes his ACO debut as bass clarinet soloist in hisBig Grenadilla. Named for the wood from which clarinets are made, the composer calls the piece, “an attempt at ancestor worship, on two levels: the instrument dreams of its living, rooted reality, with the orchestra playing the role of its environs. Meanwhile, I bow my head in homage to my own musical ancestors, particularly Stravinsky & Woody Herman, who together premiered the Ebony Concerto in Carnegie Hall 60 years ago. In the African steppe of my mind, it remains the Kilimanjaro.”

Brad Lubman, conductor-composerBrad Lubman’s newly commissioned work, as yet untitled, will be scored for winds, percussion and electronics, and will feature Lauren Radnofsky on amplified cello and a live video installation by Boom Design Group. Apart from his career conducting orchestras and ensembles such as the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, musikFabrik Cologne, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Boston Symphony Chamber Players and Steve Reich and Musicians, Lubman has created a gem-like body of compositions for electronics, soloists and chamber ensembles that have been performed by the Guild Trio, The New Millennium Ensemble and Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. He is also currently professor of conducting at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, and the founder of Brad Lubman’s Electric Fuzz ensemble.

Lauren Radnofsky has played cello in the Bang on a Can Marathon, the Lucerne Festival, and the Contemporary Festival of Havana, Cuba. She is co-founder and cellist of Brad Lubman’s Electric Fuzz, and in the fall of 2006 will guest direct Musica Nova at the Eastman School of Music.

ACO and Jazz at Lincoln Center

Nov. 16, 17 & 18, 2006 at Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, NYC

ACO teams-up with Jazz at Lincoln Center in a new partnership to explore the intersection of jazz and the symphony. The collaboration extends ACO’s interest in breaking-down barriers between the world of improvisation and the orchestra-an interest that led ACO to undertake the Improvise! festival two seasons ago, and to previous commissions and performances by such composers as Alvin Singleton, Anthony Davis and George Lewis. The program features George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, in its seldom-heard original version, featuring virtuoso pianist Marcus Roberts. Two composers whose music and aspirations could truly be defined as “Third Stream,” John Lewis and Charles Mingus, will be represented, as will the much admired composer/arranger Nelson Riddle through his catalog of orchestrations from the American songbook. ACO’sMusic Alive Composer in Residence, Derek Bermel, has been commissioned to write a major new work for the combined forces of ACO and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to be premiered as the occasion’s centerpiece. Three performances of the program are scheduled for Thursday, November 16 through Saturday, November 18, at Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s fabulous new home. ACO principal guest conductor Steven Sloane leads the combined ensembles.

Orchestra Underground: Composers OutFront!

March 25, 2007 at Annenberg Center, Philadelphia; March 26, 2007 at Zankel Hall, NYC

ACO’s Orchestra Underground returns to Zankel Hall on Monday, March 26, 2007 at 7:30pm (with a preview in Philadelphia on the 25th), with a line-up of composers who bring their creative vision one step closer to the public by stepping into the role of performer. This installment of “Composers OutFront!” features world premieres by Vijay Iyer and Kurt Rohde. Steven Mackey joins ACO for the New York premiere of his Deal,and Harold Meltzer performs as soloist in his piece Virginal. Music by Tania León and a spotlight performance by guitarist-composer Andrew McKenna Lee rounds-out the program. ACO conductor laureate Dennis Russell Davies returns to the podium for his first performance with ACO in five seasons.

Steve MackeySteven Mackey’s Deal puts him in the center of the action as he joins the orchestra on electric guitar. Mackey describes the electric guitar as his “first musical passion.” He frames the improvisatory tradition of guitar soloing inDeal within the complex, nuanced, notated world of the orchestra. Joining him is percussionist Jason Treuting, with whom Mackey collaborates frequently. Mackey is Professor of Music at Princeton University. His works have been performed by ACO, the Chicago and San Francisco Symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Kronos Quartet.

When asked to describe his ACO-commissioned world-premiere viola concerto for this concert, Kurt Rohde responded, “Just say it is a concerto for viola and chamber orchestra… and that the viola part is hard!” Rohde, whose music, according to the San Jose Mercury News, is “filled with exhilaration… a mirror of our times,” is a graduate of the Curtis Institute and SUNY Stony Brook. He is a recipient of prestigious awards including the 2005 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Rohde is Artistic Director of San Francisco-based Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.

Vijay IyerHeralded by the Village Voice as “the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years,” Vijay Iyer has performed around the world, most notably with his jazz-based Vijay Iyer Quartet. Iyer describes his ACO world premiereIntervention, for orchestra, piano and electronics, as “an architecture; an information-rich musical structure in which players are invited to make decisions and co-direct the flow of the piece.” Drawing from his interdisciplinary studies of technology and the arts at University of California, Berkeley, as well as his interests in African and Asian musical practices, Iyer’s work as a composer and performer has led to numerous collaborations with a range of artists, including Steve Coleman, Amiri Baraka, Wadada Leo Smith, Dead Prez, Mike Ladd and Ibrahim Quraishi, and the string-quartet Ethel. Intervention is Iyer’s first commissioned work for orchestra.

The New York Times called Harold Meltzer’s Virginal “alluring, imaginatively scored…” with “spiraling flourishes of filigree.” Meltzer’s style might be described as “Stravinskian neoclassicism for the age of Bang On A Can.” Meltzer, a former attorney, is the founder and artistic director of the new music ensemble Sequitur, and teaches composition at Vassar College. His works have been commissioned and performed by Music for Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and the Westchester Philharmonic, as well as pianist Ursula Oppens and tenor Paul Sperry.

Tania LeonOne part “hip homage to the Neo-Classical works by Schoenberg” and one part Carnival comparsa (parade), Tania León’s Indigena conjures polyrhythms, dissonance, bold and brilliant trumpet solos in which modern gestures and traditional revelry combine and carry the music forward in energetic bursts. León, born in Cuba, is well known to ACO audiences, having served as artistic advisor for six years of Sonidos de las Américas festivals of Latin American music. Active as a conductor and composer, she has been commissioned and performed by ACO, the Chicago Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Gewandhaus Orchestra, NDR Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg, New World Symphony, and many others.

An Adams Apple: John Adams at 60

April 27, 2007 at Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, NYC

John AdamsACO’s season-long focus on composer-performers culminates on Friday, April 27, 2007 at 8:00pm, in Stern Auditorium, as John Adams conducts “An Adams Apple,” celebrating his 60th birthday and his continued tenure as Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer Chair. The concert includes three of his most compelling works-from three different compositional periods-not heard in New York in several years, including My Father Knew Charles Ives, The Wound Dresser, with the sensational young bass-baritone Eric Owens, and his Violin Concerto, featuring the charismatic Leila Josefowicz, in her only New York solo appearance this season. Adams’s last major collaboration with ACO was in 1987 when ACO commissioned and premiered The Chairman Dances, a piece which has gone on to be performed in nearly a thousand performances worldwide.

Leila JosefowiczLeila Josefowicz is enjoying a wide and varied career as a concert soloist. A strong advocate for new music, she frequently collaborates with the leading composers of the day, such as John Adams and Oliver Knussen. She regularly performs with orchestras such as the Pittsburgh, Detroit, San Francisco and Indianapolis Symphonies, and in Europe with the Royal Concertgebouw and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestras, the London and Munich Philharmonics, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and at the London Proms.

In addition to his numerous appearances with opera companies around the world, baritone Eric Owens has recently premiered two major new American operas to stunning reviews: John Adams’s Dr. Atomic in the fall of 2005 in San Francisco, and, last month, Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel with Los Angeles Opera, in which he sang the title role. He has also appeared in Adams’sThe Death of Klinghoffer with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Owens has been praised as “simply superb” in his concert performances, which in recent months have included appearances with the Detroit, San Francisco and Minnesota Symphonies.

Orchestra Underground Tour & Philadelphia Residency

ACO enters into the second year of its residency at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, bringing its Orchestra Underground concerts to the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. The residency represents ACO’s first performances outside of New York City in over 20 years, and includes master classes, outreach activities, a New Music Reading, and a special “Laboratory” performance. The residency is made possible by The Philadelphia Music Project, an Artistic Initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, administered by The University of the Arts. Performances are:

Composers OutFront!: Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 7:30pm at Irvine Auditorium. (Repeat of October 13, 2006 “Composers OutFront!” program.) Conducted by Brad Lubman.

Composers OutFront!: Sunday, March 25, 2007 at 7:30pm at Zellerbach Theater at the Annenberg Center. (See March 26, 2007 program at Zankel Hall.) With Dennis Russell Davies, conductor laureate.

ACO/Penn New Music Readings and Lab: Friday and Saturday, April 13 & 14, 2007 at Harold Prince Theater at the Annenberg Center. (See below for more info.)

New Music Readings & Lab

April 13 & 14, 2007 at Annenberg Center for the Arts, Philadelphia
May 8 & 9, 2007 at Skirball Center for Performing Arts at NYU

Composers receive critical feedback at New Music ReadingsCapping off its two-year residency at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, ACO and Penn Presents provide a unique professional development opportunity for Philadelphia-area emerging composers. The New Music Readings & Lab, held April 13 & 14, 2007, will bring ACO’s expertise in new music and proven track-record in identifying promising composers to Penn’s Harold Prince Theater in a two-day public discovery of the region’s top emerging composers. The first day will be modeled after ACO’s annual Underwood New Music Readings. Composers, selected on the basis of competitive review of scores, will be provided the opportunity to hear a reading of their new work and receive critical feedback from an esteemed panel of mentor-composers that includes Jennifer Higdon, Gerald Levinson, Jay Reise, and Maurice Wright. The second day, ACO’s Orchestra Underground will present the new works in a Laboratory Performance that includes discussion with the composers. Jeffrey Milarsky conducts.

The Philadelphia Readings and Lab are open to composers residing or studying in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The deadline to submit work for consideration is December 22, 2006. Application guidelines and other information are available at

ACO will hold its 16th Annual Underwood New Music Readings on May 8 & 9, 2007 at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts at NYU. In what has become a rite-of-passage for aspiring orchestral composers, up to ten composers from throughout the United States will be selected to receive a reading of a new work, and one composer will be selected to receive a $15,000 commission for a work to be performed by ACO during an upcoming season. Each participating composer receives a rehearsal, reading and a digital recording of his or her work. Review and feedback sessions with ACO principal players, mentor-composers and guest conductors provide crucial artistic, technical and conceptual assistance. To date, over 80 composers have participated in the New Music Readings, including such award-winning composers as Melinda Wagner, Derek Bermel, Randall Woolf, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and Jennifer Higdon.

The Underwood New Music Readings are made possible with a leadership grant from Paul Underwood, with additional support from the Helen F. Whitaker Fund and the Fromm Foundation. The proceedings are open to the public free of charge. ACO’s artistic director, Robert Beaser, directs the readings. The deadline for composers interested in applying to the Underwood New Music Readings is November 16, 2006.

For application guidelines and other information about the New Music Readings, click here…

Derek Bermel, Composer inResidence

Derek Bermel, Music Alive Composer in ResidenceWith the May 2006 premiere of his Elixir at Carnegie Hall, Derek Bermel has joined ACO as Music Alive Composer in Residence. Bermel is a unique figure in American music today-a masterfully eclectic composer, clarinetist, jazz and rock musician-who boasts a decade-long relationship with ACO, beginning with his participation in ACO’s 1994 New Music Readings and Carnegie Hall debut in 1998 in his clarinet concertoVoices.

For more about Derek Bermel and his residency, click here…

Ticket Info

Tickets for ACO’s Stern Auditorium concert are $16, $35, and $43. Tickets for Zankel Hall performances are $32 and $40. Subscriptions and tickets to ACO ‘s series at Carnegie Hall are available for purchase through CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, or by visiting the box office at 154 West 57th Street at 7th Ave.

For ACO’s series at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, subscriptions and tickets are available by calling 215-898-3900 or by going online at

Tickets for the November 16 – 18 performances with Jazz at Lincoln Center are $30, $50, $75, $100 and $120, and are available by calling CenterCharge at 212-721-6500, online at, or by visiting the Frederick P. Rose Hall box office on Broadway at 60th Street.

Major support of American Composers Orchestra is provided by ACO Inner Circle, American Symphony Orchestra League, Amphion Foundation, Anncox Foundation, The Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, Arlington Associates, ASCAP, ASCAP Foundation, The Bagby Foundation for the Musical Arts, Bodman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, BMI, BMI Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Citigroup Foundation, Edward T. Cone Foundation, Consolidated Edison, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Fidelity Foundation, Fromm Music Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The Estate of Francis Goelet, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, Henfield Foundation, Victor Herbert Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, Jerome Foundation, John and Evelyn Kossak Foundation, Helen Sperry Lea Foundation, Neil Family Fund, The New York Community Trust, Bay and Paul Foundations, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Rodgers Family Foundation, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Susan and Ford Schumann Foundation, Emma A. Sheafer Charitable Trust, the Virgil Thomson Foundation, The Isak and Rose Weinman Foundation, Paul Underwood Charitable Trust and The Watchdog and Sonata Charitable Trust. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

The residency of Derek Bermel is made possible through Music Alive, a program of the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer. This national program is designed to provide orchestras with resources and tools to support their presentation of new music to the public and build support for new music within their institutions. Funding for Music Alive is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music.