American Composers Orchestra to Host 2nd Annual Creative Catalyst Awards Honoring Paquito D'Rivera & More

Proceeds from the gala will support ACO's full suite of programs, particularly its most recent expansions.

By: Sep. 21, 2023

American Composers Orchestra to Host 2nd Annual Creative Catalyst Awards Honoring Paquito D'Rivera & More The American Composers Orchestra will present an evening of honors and performances during its second annual Click Here on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 at 6:00PM. Held at Fogo de Chão, a leading New York City hot spot for Brazilian cuisine, this year's gala embraces a theme of "Alegria" - Portuguese for "joy" - as ACO celebrates a trio of musical visionaries: GRAMMY-winning composer and saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera; producer, educator, artist and scholar Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Director of Steve Jobs Theater at Apple; and Edward Yim, Chief Content Officer and Senior Vice President at WQXR. The three honorees have been selected as exemplars of core ACO values: artistry, creativity, community, and equity.

Proceeds from the gala will support ACO's full suite of programs, particularly its most recent expansions. Over the past year, the organization has expanded its EarShot Readings from four annual events to five, bringing its invaluable mentorship program for emerging composers to an additional U.S. city each year. In another key effort, ACO will serve nine artists this season through its relaunched EarShot CoLABoratory Fellowship, a platform for composers whose work is experimental and/or rooted in musical traditions underrepresented in the orchestral repertoire. For 2024, ACO's collection of Sonic Spark Lab programs, ranging from middle school to college-aged students, will offer musical training and composing instruction to more than 500 students in New York City and Detroit. In addition, ACO has instituted professional audio and video recordings of all New York City-based engagements for its orchestra, including programs at Carnegie Hall and New York-based EarShot Readings.

"We are thrilled to honor three visionaries who have each so powerfully advanced artistic practices in every aspect of their work, while nurturing the creative artists whose imaginations will shape our future," says American Composers Orchestra CEO Melissa Ngan. "It brings us great joy to bring the ACO family together to celebrate the music, cuisine, and culture of the Americas and to support the creation of new American music on stages and in communities across the country."

D'Rivera - the winner of 14 combined GRAMMY and Latin Grammy awards - will also perform during a star-studded evening of entertainment. Other live performances will feature soprano Karen Slack, mezzo-soprano and composer Chrystal E. Williams, composer Raquel Acevedo Klein, dancers Sabrina Evangelista and Brian Cohen, and composer and multi-instrumentalist Felipe Hostins, known for his work in the Brazilian forró genre. Hostins (accordion) will also perform as part of the Brazilian music ensemble Trio Catarina, alongside Mauro Refosco (zabumba) and Davi Vieira (percussion). Guests will also experience sound installations by composer Angélica Negrón and multidisciplinary artist Chris Kallmyer.

In the evening's honorees, ACO has selected luminaries representing the artistry, technology, and humanitarian impact contained in music. Named an NEA Jazz Master by the National Foundation for the Arts, Paquito D'Rivera defies categorization in his dedication to jazz, bebop, and Latin styles, along with his outstanding contributions to classical music. In his passion to bring Latin repertoire to greater prominence, D'Rivera has simultaneously created and championed all types of classical compositions, from chamber compositions to symphonies. His second National Symphony commission, The Journey, premiered in 2022 with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist.

Dr. Indira Etwaroo is an award-winning producer, director, scholar, and arts and culture executive, currently serving as Director of the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple. Previously, she led The Billie Holiday Theatre through radical growth, including the launch of the first national strategic plan for Black theaters, The Black Seed. The Billie was awarded the Presidential Medal of the Arts in 2020-2021 under her tenure. Prior to that she was a major force for innovation in public media as Founding Executive Producer for The Greene Space at NYPR and the global events platform NPR Presents.

As Chief Content Officer and Senior Vice President of WQXR, New York's Classical Music Radio Station, Edward Yim is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic vision that helps WQXR reach a broader, more inclusive audience, drives digital innovation, bolsters the station's role in New York City's arts and culture ecosystem, and increases WQXR's relevance and service to the city's communities. Prior to joining WQXR, he served as President & CEO of the American Composers Orchestra and Vice President of Artistic Planning at the New York Philharmonic.

For sponsorship levels and ticket information, Click Here or email Lyndsay Werking at

Program Information
American Composers Orchestra Gala & Creative Catalyst Awards
Wednesday, October 25, 2023 at 6:00pm
Fogo de Chão | New York, NY
Click Here
Link: Click Here

6:00pm - Cocktail Hour
7:00pm - Awards Ceremony & Performances
7:30pm - Dinner & Dessert

Paquito D'Rivera
Karen Slack
Chrystal E. Williams
Raquel Acevedo Klein
Sabrina Evangelista
Brian Cohen
Felipe Hostins
Trio Catarina
Angélica Negrón (Sound Installation)
Chris Kallmyer (Sound Installation)

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

Photo Credits: Paquito D'Rivera by Geandy Pabon, Indira Etwaroo by Hollis King, Edward Yim courtesy of subject.


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