Steven Sloane, principal guest conductor

Music Director Designate Steven Sloane (Photo Credit: Stas Rzeznik)Steven Sloane is one of the most adventurous conductors to have emerged in recent years.  Through his work across Europe and in America, Maestro Sloane has won acclaim for his compelling programming, theatrical flair, and impressive technique. His passion for unusual repertoire, interest in eclectic juxtapositions of music of divergent eras and styles, commitment to contemporary works, and willingness to challenge convention have established him as a bold champion of the future of concert music.

Maestro Sloane made his Carnegie Hall debut with American Composers Orchestra in March 2002, succeeding ACO co-founder Dennis Russell Davies. He is currently General Music Director of the City of Bochum Symphony (Germany), where he just celebrated his tenth anniversary season.   He has also served as Opera and Orchestra Music Director of the Spoleto Festival (United States), where performances included the American premiere of Heiner Goebbels’s Surrogate Cities, and England’s Opera North where, during his tenure, the company received three nominations for National Theater Awards.  With the Bochum Symphony, he has offered such eclectic programming as Monteverdi Meets Maderna and Jean Cocteau and his Paris, earning the prestigious German Publishers Award for Best Programming of the Year.

Among the many contemporary composers whose works he has performed are American composers Michael Daugherty, Joan Tower, Steve Reich, John Adams, Michael Gordon, Lisa Bielawa, Tan Dun, Christopher Rouse, Wynton Marsalis, John Corigliano, Frank Zappa, Stewart Wallace and Danny Elfman. He has also championed many of America’s early New England School composers, including George Whitefield Chadwick, John Knowles Paine, and Edward MacDowell, as well as leading European composers of today such as Luciano Berio, Mauricio Kagel, and Wolfgang Rihm. He has commissioned more than twenty Israeli composers, including Gil Shohat, Noam Sheriff, Sergiu Natra, and Tzvi Avni.

Maestro Sloane’s orchestral engagements include the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Berlin, Munich, and Bavarian Radio orchestras, the orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin, the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo Naples, City of Birmingham Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, London Philharmonia and the Toyko Metropolitan Orchestra. Recently, he made his debut at the San Francisco Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera.

August, 2005

Dennis Russell Davies, conductor laureate

Dennis Russell Davies, Music Director

A masterful and innovative force in classical music, Dennis Russell Davies is considered among today’s most inventive conductors at the forefront of the orchestral, chamber and operatic worlds. A modern, articulate and versatile artist revered for his command of both traditional and contemporary music, Mr. Davies is also recognized as an accomplished pianist and as an acclaimed collaborator, sought out by orchestras, composers and artists alike for his interpretive skills.

American-born Mr. Davies has lived abroad since 1980, but maintains an active presence on the North American music scene as a regular guest conductor with the major orchestras and opera houses of New York and Chicago. In addition to his ongoing duties as Chief Conductor of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and Professor of Orchestral Conducting at the Salzburg Mozarteum, Mr. Davies is Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Bruckner Orchestra Linz and Chief Conductor of the Linz Opera. In January 2002, he was appointed to a 5-year term to the Board of Directors of the esteemed Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University.

A champion of contemporary music, his support of modern works, particularly American, is legendary. His close personal friendships with some of the 21st century’s greatest composers, including Luciano Berio, William Bolcom, John Cage, Philip Glass, Lou Harrison, Hans Werner Henze, and Francis Thorne (with whom he formed American Composers Orchestra), have been an important catalyst for enriching concert and operatic repertory around the globe.

Recently, Mr. Davies concluded his tenures as Chief Conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (1996-2002), and as Music Director of the pre-eminent American Composers Orchestra (1975-2002). He continues his affiliation with American Composers Orchestra, which he co-founded 26 years ago, as Conductor Laureate. Mr. Davies has had successful tenures as the General Music Director of the City of Bonn (Germany), Principal Conductor/Classical Music Program Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Principal Conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Music Director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Music Director of the Cabrillo Music Festival in Santa Cruz, California. In addition to his North American orchestral guest conducting appearances, Davies has guest conducted some of the most prestigious orchestras in Europe including the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

Dennis Russell Davies was born in Toledo, Ohio, and graduated from The Juilliard School where he studied piano with Lonny Epstein and Sasha Gorodnitski and conducting with Jean Morel and Jorge Mester.

September 5, 2003


Robert Beaser, artistic director

Robert BeaserRobert Beaser has emerged as one of the most accomplished creative musicians of his generation. Since 1982, when The New York Times wrote that he possessed a “lyrical gift comparable to that of the late Samuel Barber”, his music has won international acclaim for its balance between dramatic sweep and architectural clarity. He is often cited as an important figure among the New Tonalists – composers who are adapting new tonal grammar to their own uses–and through a wide range of media has established his own language as a synthesis of European tradition and American Vernacular.  His recent Opera “The Food of Love”, with a libretto by Terrence McNally, is part of the Central Park Trilogy, which opened to worldwide critical accolades at Glimmerglass and New York City Opera.  It was televised nationally on the PBS Great Performances series in January 2000 and received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Classical music-dance program”. Beaser’s orchestral CD on London/Argo has garnered considerable attention prompting Gramophone magazine to call his music “Masterly…dazzlingly colorful, fearless of gesture…beautifully fashioned and ingeniously constructed”. The Baltimore Sun writes “Beaser is one of this country’s huge composing talents, with a gift for vocal writing that is perhaps unequaled”.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1954, Beaser studied literature, political philosophy and music at Yale College, graduating summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1976. He went on to earn his Master of Music, M.M.A. and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Yale School of Music. His composition teachers have included Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, Toru Takemitsu, Arnold Franchetti, Yehudi Wyner and Goffredo Petrassi. In addition, he studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller, Arthur Weisberg and William Steinberg at Yale, and composition with Betsy Jolas on a Margaret Lee Crofts Fellowship at Tanglewood in 1976. From 1978-1990 he served as co-Music Director and Conductor of the contemporary chamber ensemble Musical Elements at the 92nd street Y, bringing premieres of over two hundred works to New York City. From 1988-1993 he was the Meet The Composer/Composer-in-Residence with the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and served as the ACO’s artistic director until 2001, when he when he assumed the role of Artistic Director.    Currently, he is Professor and Chairman of the Composition Department at the Juilliard School in New York.

Beaser’s compositions have earned him numerous awards and honors. At the age of 16, his first orchestral work was performed by the Greater Boston Youth Symphony under his own direction at Jordan Hall in Boston.  In 1977 he became the youngest composer to win the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome.  In 1986, Beaser’s widely heard Mountain Songs was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Contemporary Composition. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Charles Ives Scholarship, an ASCAP Composers Award, a Nonesuch Commission Award and a Barlow Commission. In 1995, when the American Academy of Arts and Letters honored him with their lifetime achievement award, the Academy Award in music they wrote: “His masterful orchestrations, clear-cut structures, and logical musical discourse reveal a musical imagination of rare creativity and sensitivity…and put him in the forefront of his generation of composers.”

Beaser’s music has been performed and commissioned with regularity both in America and abroad. He has received major commissions from the New York Philharmonic (150th anniversary commission), the Chicago Symphony (Centennial commission), the Saint Louis Symphony, The American Composers Orchestra, The Baltimore Symphony and Dawn Upshaw, The American Brass Quintet, Chanticleer, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass, and WNET /Great Performances. Recent major orchestral performances have come from the Chicago, Saint Louis and Baltimore Symphonies, The New York Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, the Marine Band, the Vienna Radio Orchestra, the Linzer Symphony Orchestra, The Krakow Philharmonic, the Dutch Radio Symphony, the Gelders Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic with James Galway, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, and the Rome Radio Symphony. Other notable performances include the Phoenix Symphony, the New Orchestra of Westchester, the Delaware Symphony, the Tenerife Symphony, the Charleston, South Bend, and New World Symphonies, the Juilliard Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.   Chamber performances have been given at the Aspen Ojai, Berlin, Musica di Asolo, Spoleto, and Lockinhaus Festivals, the Festival of Contemporary Music and Rumania, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Music Today, Musical Elements, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Seattle and Saint Louis Symphony Chamber Music series, the Chamber Music Societies of Lincoln Center, Baltimore and Chicago, The Twentieth Century Consort, the New York Concert Singers, the New Amsterdam Singers, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Boston Chamber Players, Continuum, NY Virtuosi, the Bridgehampton Chamber Players, Summergarden at MOMA and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.   His music has been performed, recorded and commissioned by artists such as Leonard Slatkin, Paula Robison, Richard Stoltzman, Eliot Fisk, James Galway, Gilbert Levine, Manuel Barrueco, Renee Fleming, Pamela Mia Paul, David Loebel, Lukas Foss, Paul Sperry, Constance Hauman, Alisdair Neale, Stewart Robertson, Big Bird, James Paul, Lauren Flanigan, John Aler, Robert McDuffie, Ransom Wilson, Joel Sachs, Carol Wincenc, Dawn Upshaw, David Zinman, Gerard Schwarz and Dennis Russell Davies.

His principal recorded works include The Seven Deadly Sins, Chorale Variations, and Piano Concerto (London/Argo), The Heavenly Feast (Milken Archives), Song of the Bells (New World Records), Notes on a Southern Sky (EMI), Mountain Songs (Musicmasters), Variations for flute and piano(Musicmasters), Psalm 119, Psalm 150 (New World), The Seven Deadly Sins-piano version (Albany Records). He is recorded as a conductor of Musical Elements on the CRI label. In addition to his activities as a composer and conductor, Beaser has been a guest lecturer at a number of universities and festivals, and was the co-issue editor for the Contemporary Music Review issue entitled “The New Tonality”.

His music is published by European American Music Corporation (Schott/Universal).

Alvin Singleton, artistic advisor, improvisation

Alvin SingletonBorn in Brooklyn, New York, Alvin Singleton attended New York University and Yale. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied with Goffredo Petrassi at the Accademia Nationale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. After working for more than a decade in Europe, Singleton returned to the United States to become Composer-in-Residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (1985-88). He subsequently served as Resident Composer at Spelman College in Atlanta (1988-91) and as the 1996-1997 UNISYS Composer-in-Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the Yale University School of Music.

He has been awarded the Kranischsteiner Musikpreis by the City of Darmstadt, Germany, twice the Musikprotokoll Kompositionpreis by the Austrian Radio, the Mayor’s Fellowship in the Arts Award by the City of Atlanta, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Singleton has composed music for the theater, orchestra, solo instruments, and a variety of chamber ensembles. His compositions have been performed by the symphony orchestras of Boston, Pittsburgh, Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Detroit, Oregon, Baltimore, Syracuse, Louisville, and Florida, the American Composers Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, l’Orchestre de Paris, das Guerzenich-Orchester Koelner Philharmoniker and also the Kronos Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Nash Ensemble of London, the Asko Ensemble of Amsterdam, Ensemble des 20. Jahrhunderts of Vienna, the London Sinfonietta, Trio Basso of Cologne and the Bremer Tanztheater.

Important international festivals have also programmed Singleton’s music. They include Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, OR, Tanglewood, Aspen, Bravo! Colorado, Music from Angel Fire in New Mexico, Cincinnati May Festival, Cabrillo Music Festival, Bang On A Can, the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Other Minds in San Francisco, Festival Miami, the Vienna Summer Festival, Pro Musica Nova in Bremen, the Styrian Autumn Festival in Graz, the Brussels ISCM World music Days, and IRCAM in Paris. His Music is published by Schott Music Corporation, and is recorded on the Albany Records, Elektra/Nonesuch, and Tzadik labels.

Mr. Singleton serves, in tandem with Anthony Davis, as artstic advisor, Improvisation.

Tod Machover, music technology advisor

Tod MachoverTod Machover was recently called “America’s most wired composer” by The Los Angeles Times. He is recognized for music that boldly breaks traditional artistic and cultural boundaries, offering a unique and innovative synthesis of acoustic and electronic sound, of symphony orchestras and interactive computers, of operatic arias and rock songs, and consistently delivering serious and powerful messages in an accessible and immediate way.

After receiving degrees from the Juilliard School where he studied with Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions, Machover was Director of Musical Research at Pierre Boulez’s IRCAM institute in Paris (1978-85). Since 1985, he has been Professor of Music & Media, Head of the Opera of the Future/Hyperinstruments Group, and, since 1995, Co-Director of the Things That Think (TTT) and Toys of Tomorrow (TOT) consortia at M.I.T.’s Media Lab. He is also Director of the Media Lab’s new Center for Future Arts, and Co-Director of MediaLabEurope which opened in May 2000 in Dublin.. Machover’s music has been performed and commissioned by many of the world’s most important ensembles, including San Francisco Symphony, the Tokyo and Kronos String Quartets, IRCAM, the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, the Ensemble InterContemporain, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He has received many international prizes including Friedheim, Koussevitsky, Fromm, and NEA awards. In 1995, he was named a “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Culture Ministry, and in 1998 he was the first reciptient of the Digiglobe Award from the German government.

Machover has composed five operas in diverse forms, from the science fiction VALIS, commissioned for Paris’s Centre Pompidou, to the walk-through Meteorite, permanently installed in Essen, Germany since June 1998, to his latest, Resurrection, blending traditional operatic forces with state-of-the-art electronics, which premiered in 1999 at Houston Grand Opera. Machover is widely noted as a designer of new technology for music. He is the inventor of hyperinstruments, which use smart computers to augment musicality, virtuosity, and creativity. Performers as diverse as Yo-Yo Ma, Prince and Peter Gabriel have used these hyperinstruments. Since 1991, Machover has adapted his hyperinstruments for use by musical amateurs, students, and children, culminating in his Brain Opera, premiered at the Lincoln Center Festival in 1996, which invites the public to participate in each performance, live or via the Internet.

One of Machover’s major endeavors over the next three years is the Toy Symphony, which develops and employs new concepts and technologies for introducing musical creativity and expression to children, in collaboration with symphony orchestras and major soloists around the world. A synthesis of music and technology, professionals and amateurs, education and improvisation, Toy Symphony brings together Tod Machover’s varied concerns in a powerful realization of his complex vision.

American Composers Orchestra premiered Machover’s Sparkler in October 2001. Mr. Machover currently serves as Music Technology Advisor to ACO, overseeing the multi-year Orchestra Technology Initiative.

Jeffrey Milarsky, Assistant Conductor

Jeffrey Milarsky is the leading conductor of contemporary music in New York City. In the United States and abroad, he has premiered and recorded works by contemporary composers, including Charles Wuorinen, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Lasse Thoresen, Gerard Grisey, Jonathan Dawe, Tristan Murail, Ralph Shapey, Luigi Nono, Mario Davidovsky and Wolfgang Rihm. His wide ranging repertoire, which spans from Bach to Xenakis, has brought him to lead such accomplished groups as American Composers Orchestra, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Columbia Sinfonietta, Speculum Musicae, Cygnus Ensemble, The Fromm Players at Harvard University, The Composers’ Ensemble at Princeton University, and the New York Philharmonic chamber music series. Most recently, he has joined the faculty of The Manhattan School of Music as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Percussion Ensemble.

A much-in-demand percussionist who has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic among many ensembles, Mr. Milarsky is Professor in Music at Columbia University, where he is the Music Director/Conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra. Also at Columbia University, Mr. Milarsky has just been named Music Director and Conductor, of the newly formed Sinfonietta Moderna, which will concentrate on 20th and 21st Century scores. This ensemble, one of the United States’ finest instrumental groups, will perform, tour and record throughout the United States. Conductor, Percussionist, Professor, Music Director: Jeffrey Milarsky has created a truly unique international career.

Highlights of last season include conducting an exciting debut with the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York, where he conducted Earle Brown. In August of 2004, he made his debut with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway, conducting Ravel and Liebermann. Autumn and Spring 2005 will also see conducting dates in Norway, Italy, Paris and Austria. In addition, Mr. Milarsky has been named the Principal Timpanist for the Santa Fe Opera beginning this summer of 2005.

Mr. Milarsky made his Parisian debut last season, conducting the BIT20 Ensemble at the Olivier Messiaen Hall at Radio France, in a performance of the prize winning score of Lasse Thoresen’s Lop, Lokk Og Linjar. Mr. Milarsky is the regular guest conductor of The BIT20 Ensemble, having performed with them around the globe, including Paris, Estonia, Latvia, Norway and Italy. Other recent highlights include conducting the Cygnus Ensemble in the world premiere of Milton Babbitt’s Swansong, conducting the world premiere and recording Mario Davidovsky’s Flashbacks, and several area premieres of the music of Gerard Grisey: Les Espaces Acoustiques (New York premiere) for Columbia University’s “Music for a New Century” series and Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (US Premiere) with Speculum Musicae. With the Ensemble Sospeso, he has conducted three United States premieres by Wolfgang Rihm, and two by Tristan Murail.
Mr. Milarsky received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding leadership and achievement in the arts. He regularly conducts The Juilliard Orchestra, with whom he has premiered over 150 works of Juilliard student composers over the past fifteen years. He is also on the Pre-College Percussion Faculty at Juilliard, and has been, until recently, Director of the Composition Forum.

As an active chamber and orchestral musician, Mr. Milarsky performs and records regularly with The New York Philharmonic, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, American Composers Orchestra, The Stamford Symphony and Concordia. He has recorded extensively for Angel, Bridge, Teldec, Telarc, New World, CRI, MusicMasters, EMI, Koch, and London records.

January 2006