American Composers Orchestra Announces New EarShot Publishing in Partnership with Boosey & Hawkes with Support from Sphinx Venture Fund
Eight Inaugural Composers Receive Publishing Contracts for Select Orchestral Works Plus Arrangement Commissions
inti figgis-vizueta, Joseph C. Phillips, Jr., Kebra-Seyoun Charles, Michael R. Dudley, Jr., Alyssa Regent, Trevor New, Horacio Fernández Vázquez and Brittany J. Green
New York, NY (February 6, 2024) – Hailed as an “essential organization” (The New York Times) with “an expansive vision of orchestral composition” (Represent Classical), the American Composers Orchestra(ACO) launches EarShot Publishing, an unprecedented music publishing initiative that will administer the rights for select orchestral works developed through its national EarShot composer advancement programs, which include Readings, CoLABoratory Fellowships, and other commissioning opportunities. Works published by EarShot Publishing will be administered worldwide in partnership with Boosey & Hawkes, an international leader in classical music publishing, and with the support of the Sphinx Venture Fund. The inaugural year of EarShot Publishing provides for eight works by eight different composers, including arrangements for both professional and youth/school orchestras.
“We are thrilled to partner with Boosey & Hawkes, an international leader in classical music publishing, to administer the EarShot Publishing catalog worldwide. This new partnership, generously powered by the Sphinx Venture Fund, offers ACO the opportunity to provide sustained relationship building and support to EarShot composers while advancing their work on orchestral stages and in community spaces nationwide.”
inti figgis-vizueta, a 2021-2022 CoLABoratory fellow and 2019 Underwood Readings (now known as EarShot Readings) featured artist, has been selected for her work Seven Sides of Fire, and will also write a version for youth orchestra, commissioned by ACO. Using fire as her powerful central image, figgis-vizueta explores both the phenomenon of intensifying wildfires and the centrality of controlled burns for land stewardship by Indigenous peoples, who have historically used fire to clear open areas for cultivation as well as grazing and hunting. In the process, the composer challenges the conventional Western image of fire as evil and threatening, recasting it as a force to be respected and used wisely in service to responsible ecology. Her educational module guides students in using traditional and improvised musical instruments to evoke the sounds of natural phenomena such as earthquakes, waves, and wildfires.
Joseph C. Phillips, Jr., a 2025-2026 CoLABoratory fellow, has been selected for a new piece (title TBD) commissioned as the first in a series of orchestral and chamber works to be composed as companions and offshoots to his 1619 opera cycle. In tandem, he will write a work for youth orchestra. For this piece, Phillips focuses on the Black-owned vacation spots and leisure spaces of the Jim Crow era, largely forgotten today, that provided Black Americans with needed retreats from the everyday stresses of segregation and discrimination, giving them space to experience the renewing effects of the beach or countryside. His educational module combines historical teachings on land theft and exploitation with works by Black composers that illuminate Black Americans’ bonds with nature.
Kebra-Seyoun Charles, a 2024-2025 CoLABoratory fellow, has been selected for a new commission (title TBD) that mirrors the “playlist” listening experience by combining multiple styles, seamlessly moving between genres and rhythms, in a style the composer terms “counter-classicism.” The composition also celebrates music as a vehicle for dance, infusing forms such as the French Baroque overture with modern genres like house music, jazz, and gospel to create new and danceable styles. Charles will also write an original work for youth orchestra, and create an educational module presenting chorales written in disparate genres (Baroque, waltz, and R&B), as well as methods for improvising on each piece.
Michael R. Dudley, Jr., who took part in 2022-2023 EarShot Readings with The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, has been selected for the work A Heretic’s Prayer, and will write a version for youth orchestra. A statement on the power of emotion as a motivator for change, this composition calls on listeners to listen honestly to the feelings evoked in them by news stories and life events – whether anger, sadness, or so on – and not dismiss them but use them as a driving force for action. Elements of consonance and dissonance are used to represent community vs. individuality, agreement vs. defiance. Dudley’s educational module likewise employs consonance and dissonance to reflect how members of a community converse, respond, and adjust to one another, while also familiarizing students with motifs and harmonic structures associated with jazz and other Black American musical traditions.
Alyssa Regent, who took part in the 2022-2023 Earshot Readings with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, has been selected for her work Where Even Shadows are Light. In this composition, Regent took the opportunity to step outside the more formalized structures in which she had composed previously, playing with a more organic, freeform composition style that she describes as “a metaphysical entity, something floating.” Regent’s educational module calls on students to focus on the “otherworldly” moments in the piece – including those that might not sound traditionally “musical” – and associate them with visual images as a way of more fully experiencing the ideas and emotional potency being expressed.
Trevor New, a 2022-2023 CoLABoratory fellow, has been selected for his piece Cohere Touch. This composition is the second in a series of pieces written for decentralized simultaneous telematic performance, in which participants at multiple remote locations take in a shared experience of movement and sound, essentially touching a shared canvas physically and sonically. Besides being the title of the piece, Cohere Touch is a specially designed augmented reality system that allows performers and audience to play music together, interacting across all the networked spaces participating in the piece. On his goals for the piece, New said, “I believe that if we have a genuine and open creative process in our learning and art, those virtues can influence how we see the people we share the world with.” His educational module engages students to create collaborative multimedia art through the Cohere Touch system.
Horacio Fernández Vázquez, who took part in the 2021-2022 EarShot Readings with Oregon Symphony, has been selected for his piece Tumbao (Latin Suite for Orchestra). In this work, the composer draws from youthful memories of learning – and learning to love – Latin dance as a means of connecting with his large Mexican family and Latino culture at large. Arranged in three movements, the suite explores the genres of salsa, bachata, and reggaeton, composed with authenticity to each genre and references to such visionary Latin singers as Daddy Yankee, Romeo Santos, and Oscar de León. The term “tumbao” refers both to the basic rhythm played by the bass in Afro-Cuban genres and to an overall sense of vibrant joy captured in Latin culture. The educational module for this piece includes a video of the composer discussing the building blocks of salsa music, as well as access to the Logic Pro digital music production session used to create the piece. Students are also encouraged to identify popular songs influenced by Latin music and experiment with their own composing.
Brittany J. Green, who took part in ACO’s 2022-2023 EarShot Readings, has been selected for her work Rencontres. An expansion on a string quartet by the same name, Rencontres uses brevity, tension, and euphoria to evoke the feeling of chance encounters. Combining lush, resonant chords with expressive ornamental gestures and dissonant harmonies, the piece creates a sense of disparate elements growing into and out of each other, representing a constant state of uncertainty. The educational module for this piece explores Green’s composition process and the formal dimensions of the work, while providing exercises for connecting with the individual thematic elements contained in the piece.
EarShot: Advancing Equity through Publishing & Repertoire Development, made possible through support from the Sphinx Organization
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, the Sphinx Organization, TD Charitable Foundation, Fromm Foundation, Ford Good Neighbor Committee, Jerome Foundation, 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.