League of American Orchestras Launches 30-Orchestra Consortium, Commissions New Works by Six Women Composers

Six lead orchestras will premiere the commissioned works in the 2022-23 or  2023-24 seasons.

By: May. 26, 2022
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Generating an infusion of new music by women on orchestra stages over the next several seasons, the League of American Orchestras will commission orchestral works from six women composers and form a consortium of thirty U.S. orchestras to perform the works across the country (five orchestras will be paired with each composer). In addition to introducing important new works into the orchestral repertoire, the program will deeply embed mentoring, networking, career development, and community engagement opportunities for the composers. The new Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commissions Program is an initiative of the League of American Orchestras, in partnership with American Composers Orchestra (ACO) and supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

"The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation is pleased to partner with the League of American Orchestras and American Composers Orchestra to expand its program of commissioning new orchestral works by female and nonbinary composers," said Foundation Trustee Alexander C. Sanger. "Our founder, Virginia B. Toulmin, was a passionate supporter of music and of equality and fairness for women. Ever since our first grant to the League in 2012, the foundation has been in the forefront of supporting female composers and is the only foundation in the performing arts dedicated exclusively to advancing and leveling the playing field for female and nonbinary creative artists."

"I'm grateful to the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation for this unprecedented opportunity to increase the presence of works by women and nonbinary composers on orchestra stages," said League of American Orchestras' President and CEO Simon Woods. "Recent data confirms a burst of more inclusive programming activity across the field, and our new program greatly adds to the momentum-these six composers will now have their work heard multiple times nationally, in a wide variety of settings, all while actively engaging with community members and receiving strong career support from mentors and the composer cohort."

Melissa Ngan, President and CEO of the American Composers Orchestra, adds, "For over 40 years, ACO has discovered and developed the talents of composers whose work expands the definition of American orchestral music. With this year's landmark expansion, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation deepens the impact of its long-term, visionary support of women and nonbinary artists nationwide. It is an honor to be in partnership with the League in this work, which advances the artistry of these extraordinary composers while providing orchestras of every size with the opportunity to join these fully funded consortium commissions. We are thrilled that the program also creates meaningful opportunities for composers to develop programming with schools and community partners, as a means of nurturing creativity for all."

Six lead orchestras will premiere the commissioned works in the 2022-23 or
2023-24 seasons:

An additional 24 orchestras will be selected for repeat performances in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons (for a total of five orchestras paired to each composer). Orchestras interested in participating in the consortium should fill out a response form by Thursday, June 30.

Networking, mentoring, career development, and community engagement opportunities are built into the program, and the composer cohort will meet annually at the League's National Conference. Consortium orchestras will need to demonstrate a commitment to engaging the composers in rehearsals, networking opportunities, and education or community engagement activities, and orchestras will receive funds for marketing efforts, and to support composer attendance at performances.

As with the former Virginia B. Toulmin Orchestral Commissions Program (originally known as the Women Composers Readings and Commissions program), the new program is embedded in EarShot, an initiative of American Composers Orchestra in collaboration with American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA. The six commission recipients were selected from women and non-binary composers who have participated in EarShot residencies.


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