Become an EarShot Partner

A national network of new music readings and composer development programs, EarShot identifies fresh voices reflective of the rich stylistic and cultural diversity present in communities across the country. The program is completely customizable; activities are focused to serve each orchestra’s programmatic goals and community-defined vision.

EarShot is a program of the American Composers Orchestra, in partnership with American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA.

EarShot creates opportunities for partner orchestras to:
  • Discover Rising Talent: ACO’s broad and inclusive recruitment efforts identify and cultivate a strong talent pool aligned with each orchestra’s programming goals and priorities
  • Develop New Audiences: ACO staff works hand-in-hand with partner orchestras to design educational programming and community-focused events as an extension of EarShot readings
  • Engage Your Donors: EarShot creates new opportunities for philanthropic support, including readings, commissions, educational programs, and cultivation events
  • Extend Your Reach: At a fraction of the cost of building an in-house recruitment and readings program, ACO has a proven track record of identifying composers whose work expands the definition of American orchestral music

EarShot Highlights

Our 2022-23 season of EarShot Readings supported twenty mid-career composers, bringing the total number of composers supported through EarShot to nearly 400. The season featured collaborations with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Next Festival of Emerging Artists, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, in addition to our own orchestra in New York City. Highlighting the diversity of composers across the Americas is central to our work; 90% of our 2022–23 participants self-identified as BIPOC and 60% self-identified as women/non binary/gendervoid. We were thrilled for EarShot Readings to be featured in recent articles by Atlanta’s EarRelevant as well as the Dallas Morning News.


  • Each reading generates 3–6 high level orchestral works from emerging composers, aligned with programmatic priorities.
  • Composer-orchestra relationships extend beyond the EarShot readings. On average, 1-2 works by participating EarShot emerging composers are programmed on a future concert by partner orchestras; many orchestras commission new works from one or more of the participant composers.
  • Past participants indicate that EarShot is a defining moment in their early careers, jumpstarting relationships with professionals in the field and building artistic and civic practice skills towards future commissions and residencies.

Program Components

  • National call for scores, identifying composers who have had two or fewer pieces performed by professional orchestras via ACO’s vast network of artists and institutional partnerships.
  • ACO-led preparation of scores, in partnership with copyists and partner orchestras’ librarians.
  • 2-3 reading services with the orchestra, selected composers, and established mentor composers.
  • Opportunities for feedback from orchestra musicians, librarian, and conductor, leading to score revisions.
  • A pipeline to extended commissioning opportunities via ACO and the League of American Orchestras.


Selected composer alumni include:

  • Julia Adolphe
  • Andy Akiho
  • Lembit Beecher
  • Courtney Bryan
  • inti figgis-vizueta
  • Saad Haddad
  • Robin Holcomb
  • Jonathan Bailey Holland
  • Niloufar Iravani
  • Han Lash
  • Nicole Mitchell
  • Gity Razaz
  • Carlos Simon

Partner Orchestras

Recent partners include:

  • Aguascalientes Symphony Orchestra
  • Berkeley Symphony
  • Buffalo Philharmonic
  • Colorado Symphony
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Grand Rapids Symphony
  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic
  • Jacksonville Symphony
  • Nashville Symphony
  • New York Philharmonic
  • San Diego Symphony
  • Oregon Symphony
  • Tucson Symphony

ACO Provides:

  • Travel to EarShot partner orchestra city/venue, lodging, and ground transit
  • Facilitation of EarShot applications including call for scores, processing of submitted materials, and administering the panel of composers and conductors to review and adjudicate submissions
  • Collection and review of all orchestral materials for selected works to ensure scores and parts are of a professional quality
  • Professional development workshops with mentors and industry leaders for participating composers
  • Communication with EarShot partners including the American Composers Orchestra, League of American Orchestras, American Composers Forum, and New Music USA
  • Materials in support of publicity, promotions, and program for the event
  • A detailed production schedule and optimal timeline
  • 1–2 staff members to facilitate readings and feedback sessions
  • Public speaking training and other professional development workshops
  • Collaboration with orchestra staff in engaging donors and planning events for supporters and community partners
  • Post-reading access to support for commissioning and consortia

Partner Orchestras Provide:

  • Two or more orchestral services, preferably on consecutive days
  • Conductor
  • Venue for readings and recording session
  • Final decision on featured artists/composers
  • Catering for working meals while in session during the residency period
  • One group dinner and group outing for featured artists, mentors, and EarShot staff
  • At least one quality recording of each featured artist’s submitted work, made available for each featured artist’s personal use and for onlinestreaming
  • Library support for preparation and dissemination of parts and scores andreturn of performance materials to each featured artist
  • Pre-/post-event feedback sessions with conductor and musician liaisons
  • Commitment to commission one of the final participant composers for a future performance

Case Studies

Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Reached 500 students and 40 adult educators in one day

Grand Rapids

Engaged 2,000 new audience members in partnership with ArtPrize

Houston Symphony Orchestra

Built new relationships with seven Hispanic/Latinx composers

Questions & Information

For questions or comments on EarShot or the call for scores, please contact Loki Karuna, Director of Artist Equity:  

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