American Composers Orchestra Hosts 2nd Creative Catalyst Awards, Honoring Paquito D'Rivera, Dr. Indira Etwaroo, and Edward Yim

The gala is on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 at 6:00PM.

By: Sep. 22, 2023
American Composers Orchestra Hosts 2nd Creative Catalyst Awards, Honoring Paquito D'Rivera, Dr. Indira Etwaroo, and Edward Yim

The American Composers Orchestra (ACO) will present an evening of honors and performances during its second annual Gala and Creative Catalyst Awards 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, visit the gala web page or email Lyndsay Werking at

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