Programs Pair Composers with Accomplished Mentors and Training with Major American Orchestras

"For a young composer of orchestral music, the greatest challenge is getting one’s works played and heard. Addressing that challenge is… American Composers Orchestra." – The Dallas Morning News

Hailed as an “essential organization” (The New York Times) with “an expansive vision of orchestral composition” (Represent Classical), the American Composers Orchestra (ACO) announces the composers selected for the 2024 EarShot Readings, a national composer development program that serves as the nation’s first systemic program for building relationships between composers and orchestras nationwide, promoting diverse talent and cultivating the careers of composers.

As a vital conduit for new voices in orchestral music, EarShot presents three major programs as part of ACO’s ambitious 2023/2024 season: Readings with orchestras around the country to mentor and promote new composing talent, CoLABoratory Fellowships advancing work by composers whose work is experimental or rooted in underrepresented traditions, and Commissions providing opportunities for last year’s featured EarShot composers to compose new works for major orchestras.

ASCAP has awarded ACO its annual prize for adventurous programming 35 times, singling out ACO as “the orchestra that has done the most for new American music in the United States. As part of its ongoing national EarShot composer advancement initiatives, organized in partnership with the American Composers Forum, New Music USA, and the League of American Orchestras, ACO holds composer readings in five cities this season:

From Wednesday, March 20 to Friday, March 22, 2024, EarShot Readings will be held at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. The featured composers will be: Pablo M. Teutli (Astros y cuetes), Edward Babcock (Pulse, Echo), Daniel Cui (Twelve Seconds), and Hansol Choi ([“삼도/Sam-do”]). They will work closely with mentor composers Chen Yi, Anthony Cheung (an EarShot alumnus), and Melinda Wagner.

On Monday, April 15 and Tuesday, April 16, 2024, EarShot Readings come to Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Illinois, in partnership with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. The featured composers and works will be: Sepehr Pirasteh (Before Dawn), Daixuan Ai (Silent Theater), Osnat Netzer (Common Ground) and Chris Neiner (Many Universes). Mentor composers will be Jessie Montgomery (an EarShot alumnus) and James Stephenson, with Stilian Kirov, Gibb Music Director of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. 

From Tuesday, June 4 to Friday, June 7, 2024, EarShot Readings will be held in conjunction with the League of American Orchestras conference and ROCO in Houston, TX, at Kinder High School for the Perfoming and Visual Arts. The featured composers and works will be: Autumn Maria Reed (Mental Health Suite: The Persistent Past & The Fearful Future), Naama Perel-Tzadok (Agricultural Pictures), Patricia Leonard (John Adams Theme – Overture from My Dearest Friend) and Stella G. Gitelman Willoughby (Stories of Sorrow and Strength: A Suite in Two Movements). They will work with mentor composers Valerie Coleman, Jennifer Higdon (an EarShot alumnus), and Nina Shekhar, as well as conductor Mei-Ann Chen, Artistic Partner to ROCO. One work chosen by the orchestra will also be performed as part of a public concert given by ROCO on Friday, June 7, 2024 at 11:00 am, and live streamed for free at, YouTube, and Facebook.

ACO’s own EarShot Readings will be set at New York’s Manhattan School of Music on Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14, 2024, with ACO itself as the participating ensemble. The featured composers and works will be: Malachi Brown (Statements- a journal entry), Samuel Torres (Frailejón), Sofía Scheps (Demografía acústica: % / Acoustic Demography: %), Anuj Bhutani (After the Freeze), Madeline Merwin (Dirty Ice), and Eun-sung Kim (Kaleidoscope for Orchestra). The mentor composers will be Marcos Balter, Curtis Stewart, and Niloufar Nourbakhsh. Participation by Eun-sung Kim is made possible through ACO’s partnership with the Korean National Symphony Orchestra’s Composers’ Atelier program.

On October 3 and October 4, 2023, ACO hosted the first reading with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, featuring composers and works as follows: Leyou Wang (Impressions from Tianqiao), Martin Hebel (Radiant Pillars), Giuseppe Gallo-Balma (Los Huesos de Yayael), and Joseph Sowa (Summer Has Ten Thousand Stars). The four composers were mentored by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and ACO board member Melinda Wagner; ACO Artistic Director Curtis Stewart; the prolific Texu Kim; and CSO Music Director Louis Langrée in feedback sessions and discussions on aesthetics and compositional issues. The composers had the opportunity to engage with CSO musicians, assistant conductors, and section principals in private sessions. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, led by CSO Assistant Conductors Samuel Lee and Daniel Wiley, also performed the new works in a public concert at Cincinnati Music Hall on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 7:30pm, preceded by a pre-performance Q&A with the featured artists and composers. 

Through its CoLABoratory Fellowships, ACO seeks to advance the work of composers whose work is experimental or rooted in musical traditions underrepresented in the orchestral repertoire. With the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, ACO will develop works for orchestra by four Indigenous composers, including Laura Ortman, Michael Begay, Suzanne Kite, and 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winner Raven Chacon, whose commission is led by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

These four fellows will each complete their first orchestral work through the program, bringing with them a diverse range of backgrounds and skill sets. Chacon, a Diné-American composer, musician, and artist, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Voiceless Mass in 2022. An experimental noise musician and installation artist, he has mentored more than 300 Native composers since 2004. Kite is an Oglala Lakóta performance artist, visual artist, and composer raised in Southern California. Currently, she is developing an AI app based on a Lakota Dream Kit that invites users to share their dreams – translating the shared text to images, and then translating those images to an orchestral score. Ortman, a member of the White Mountain Apache tribe, is a musician/composer who creates across multiple platforms, including albums, live performance, field recordings, and video works. During her multiple CoLABoratory workshop sessions, she will create a work that uses sound processing audio patches that emulate her own unique practice of using feedback loop pedals with solo violin, creating a vast, polyphonic soundscape in real time. Begay is a Diné performer/composer of chamber music, experimental sound, Native American flute, and metal music. His CoLABoratory work will involve an amalgamation of Native symbolism, contemporary music/aesthetics, and notation with the aid of orchestra, field recordings, and laptop synthesis.

ACO and partner orchestras are also co-commissioning composers from last season's EarShot Readings to write new pieces for future programs, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Composer TBA), Dallas Symphony Orchestra (Composer: Iván Enrique Rodríguez), The Next Festival of Emerging Artists (Composer: Michael R. Dudley Jr.), and American Composers Orchestra (Composer: Oswald Huỳnh). These commissions are part of ACO’s strategy to amplify EarShot artists to a national audience of orchestra administrators, funders, and audiences. ACO prioritizes ongoing relationships with artists over one-off engagements. To support EarShot artists in seeking future commissions, residencies, and other opportunities, ACO encourages each readings partner to commission at least one artist following a reading, captures and makes publicly available high-quality audio/video recordings from its own readings in NYC, and creates and shares resources such as the National Co-Commissioning Hub.  


American Composers Orchestra Earshot Program Details:

October 3-4, 2023

EarShot Readings: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Springer Auditorium, Music Hall | Cincinnati, OH


March 18-22, 2024

EarShot Readings: Indiana University

Venue TBA | Bloomington, IN


April 15-16, 2024

EarShot Readings: Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra

Barnes & Noble Auditorium at Prairie State College | Chicago Heights , IL


June 5-7, 2024

EarShot Readings: ROCO

Denney Theatre, Kinder High School for the Visual and Performing Arts | Houston, TX


June 13-14, 2024

EarShot Readings: American Composers Orchestra

Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music | New York, NY


About American Composers Orchestra

In 1977, a collective of fearless New York City musicians came together to form the American Composers Orchestra (ACO), an ensemble dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. Over more than 40 years committed to artistry, creativity, community, and equity, ACO has blossomed into a national institution that not only cultivates and develops the careers of living composers, but also provides composers a direct pipeline to partnerships with many of America’s major symphony orchestras.

In addition to its annual season, presented by Carnegie Hall since 1987, the ACO serves as a New York City hub where the most forward-thinking experimental American musicians come together to hone and realize new art by developing talent, established composers, and underrepresented voices, increasing the regional, national, and international awareness of the infinite variety of American orchestral music.


ACO produces national educational programs for all ages, and composer advancement programs to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders – all dedicated to American composition. 

To date, ACO has performed music by 800 American composers, including over 350 world premieres and newly commissioned works. Recent and notable commissioned composers include John Luther Adams, Andy Akiho, Clarice Assad, Carlos Bandera, Courtney Bryan, Valerie Coleman, Dai Wei, Du Yun, inti figgis-vizueta, Marcus Gilmore, Vijay Iyer, Yvette Janine Jackson, Joan La Barbara, Steve Lehman, Tania León, Paula Matthusen, Trevor New, Mendi + Keith Obadike, Ellen Reid, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Carlos Simon, Henry Threadgill, and many more.

Now encompassing all of ACO’s composer advancement initiatives, EarShot is the first ongoing, systematic program for developing relationships between composers and orchestras on the national level. Through orchestral readings, CoLABoratory fellowships, consortium commissions, publishing, and professional development, EarShot ensures a vibrant musical future by investing in creativity today. Serving over 350 composers since inception, ACO Readings in NYC began in 1991, and since 2008, national Readings have been offered in partnership with orchestras across the country in collaboration with the League of American Orchestras, New Music USA, and American Composers Forum. EarShot Readings composers have gone on to win every major composition award, including the Pulitzer, Grammy, Grawemeyer, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Rome Prizes.

ACO has received numerous awards for its work, including those from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and from BMI recognizing the orchestra’s outstanding contribution to American music. ASCAP has awarded ACO its annual prize for adventurous programming 35 times, singling out ACO as “the orchestra that has done the most for new American music in the United States.” ACO received the inaugural MetLife Award for Excellence in Audience Engagement, and a proclamation from the New York City Council. Learn more at

Funding Credits

EarShot is a program of American Composers Orchestra completed in partnership with American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA. The program is made possible with lead support from Altman Foundation, Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting, Mellon Foundation, Sphinx Venture Fund, TD Charitable Foundation, Fromm Foundation, Ford Good Neighbor Committee, and The New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowships; additional support is provided by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, and the League of American Orchestras with support of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Public funds are provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lead support for EarShot CoLABoratory is generously provided by TD Charitable Foundation and Altman Foundation.

EarShot: Advancing Equity through Publishing & Repertoire Development is powered by the Sphinx Venture Fund.

The commission of Unsurrendable Glisten of the Ices, Part II by Laura Ortman is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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