American Composers Orchestra Selects Nine Composers For Two June 2023 NYC EarShot Readings and is Awarded Sphinx Venture Fund Grant

Events run June 1-2, 2023.

By: Jan. 20, 2023
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American Composers Orchestra Selects Nine Composers For Two June 2023 NYC EarShot Readings and is Awarded Sphinx Venture Fund Grant

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) continues its commitment to the creation and development of new orchestra music, and to the next generation of composers, through its spring 2023 EarShot Readings program. For over a generation, EarShot Readings have provided all-important career development and public exposure to the country's most promising emerging composers, with over 250 composers participating. Readings alumni have won every major composition award, including the Pulitzer, Grammy, Grawemeyer, American Academy of Arts & Letters, and Rome Prizes. Orchestras around the globe have commissioned EarShot alumni.

Today, ACO announces nine composers selected from a competitive nationwide call for scores, who will participate in EarShot Readings with ACO and in an EarShot Choreography Workshop with the Next Festival of Emerging Artists in New York in June 2023.

ACO's EarShot Readings will be conducted by Tito Muñoz, with mentor composers Derek Bermel, Mary Kouyoumdjian and Daniel Bernard Roumain. The participating composers are Younje Cho, Henry Dorn, Brittany J. Green, Oswald Huỳnh, Amy Nam, and Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei. Two open-to-the-public events will be held - a working rehearsal on Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 10:30am and a public reading of the works on Friday, June 2, 2023 at 7:30pm at the New School Tishman Auditorium (63 Fifth Avenue, NYC).

The Next Festival of Emerging Artists EarShot Choreography Workshop will explore pieces for string orchestra by EarShot composers Michael R. Dudley Jr., Emil Ernström, and Akari Komura with new choreography by The Next Festival of Emerging Artists Fellows (to be announced). The mentor composers are Aaron Jay Kernis, Kamala Sankaram, and The Next Festival of Emerging Artists Artistic Director Peter Askim, who will also conduct. The Choreographer Mentor is Sidra Bell. An open-to-the-public workshop of these works-in-progress will be held on Thursday, June 8, 2023 at 7pm at the New School Tishman Auditorium (63 Fifth Avenue, NYC).

Additional EarShot Readings in 2023 include programs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (May 9 and 10), Naples Philharmonic (May 15 and 16), Dallas Symphony Orchestra (June 20), and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (October 3 and 4). Selected composers will be announced in February 2023.

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 these orchestral readings, CoLABoratory fellowships, consortium commissions, and professional development, EarShot ensures a vibrant musical future by investing in creativity today.

Each EarShot Readings installment includes a series of private readings, feedback sessions, and work with mentor composers. Composers also receive a recording of their work. Feedback sessions with principal players and artistic and music directors provide crucial artistic, technical, and conceptual assistance. In addition, EarShot includes a series of online Professional Development Sessions which covers topics including creative collaboration, self-publishing for composers, fundraising, and orchestral commissions and contracting.

Composer-orchestra relationships extend beyond the EarShot Readings. On average, 1-2 works by participating EarShot composers are programmed on a future concert by partner orchestras; and since 2009, 28 works have been commissioned by partner orchestras from EarShot participants. Surveys indicate that over 50% of EarShot composers receive a commission or performance due to connections and industry notice during a reading.

Additionally, composers participating in EarShot have access to future opportunities including:

The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commissions Program for women composers, an initiative of the League of American Orchestras in partnership with ACO, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. The Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commissions Program is embedded in EarShot; recipients are selected from women and non-binary composers who have participated in EarShot Readings. Since its inception in 2014, the Program has commissioned 22 new works. This season, the Program expanded to commission six composers to write for an unprecedented 30-orchestra consortium between 2023 and 2025 - the selected composers are Anna Clyne, Sarah Gibson, Angel Lam, Wang Lu, Gity Razaz, and Arlene Sierra.

EarShot Readings also generate multiple commissions for artists discovered through the program, made possible with the support of Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting. Their generous investment in EarShot amplifies the available resources of ACO and its orchestral partners to support these newly created works. A long-time supporter of composers at all stages of their careers, Justus Schlichting shared the following:

"Five years ago I met with six talented, ambitious young composers. I was shocked to discover that not one of them had any interest in writing for symphony orchestra. The barriers to developing their orchestral-writing craft were insurmountably high, while the rewards if they were to get an orchestral commission were negligible. All I could think was, where will the exciting new music for the next generation come from, if the best composers abandoned the field? Since then, I have searched for programs that address this situation. ACO's Earshot and CoLABoratory projects are exactly what I had hoped to find, providing brilliant young composers a path to create the orchestral music that we will be able to enjoy for years to come."

Finally, ACO is proud to be awarded a two-year $100,000 grant from the Sphinx Venture Fund for a new project that is an expansion of EarShot which deepens ACO's support of composers, orchestras, and educational institutions nationally. EarShot: Advancing Equity through Publishing & Repertoire Development, will measurably increase the percentage of Black and Latinx composers with ongoing sustainable careers in the American classical orchestral field. ACO is creating a multifaceted strategy that amplifies the work of Black/Latinx composers through publishing works featured in EarShot programs, leveraging ACO's national orchestral network to facilitate repeat performances of those works, commissioning new works for youth/school orchestras, and creating education modules that place composer teaching artists within youth/school orchestras for one semester in connection to those composer's ACO commissions. Over two years, American Composers Orchestra anticipates publishing the works of at least 16 composers, commissioning eight new works for youth/school orchestras, and creating 16 education modules that place Black/Latinx composer teaching artists within youth/school orchestras for one semester.

To date, ACO has partnered with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Houston Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Tucson Symphony, and Aguascalientes Symphony Orchestra (Mexico) through EarShot. EarShot operates in partnership with American Composers Forum, New Music USA, and the League of American Orchestras.