American Composers Orchestra And ROCO Partner For EarShot Readings at League Of American Orchestras National Conference

The live streamed performance will be held on Friday, June 7, 2024 at 11am CT.

By: Apr. 16, 2024
American Composers Orchestra And ROCO Partner For EarShot Readings at League Of American Orchestras National Conference
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The American Composers Orchestra (ACO) collaborates with dynamic Houston-based orchestra ROCO for EarShot Readings held from Tuesday, June 4 to Friday, June 7, 2024, in conjunction with the annual League of American Orchestras National Conference, with a live streamed performance on Friday, June 7, 2024 at 11am CT.

A national composer development program in partnership with the American Composers Forum, New Music USA, and the League of American Orchestras, EarShot serves as the nation's first systemic program for building relationships between composers and orchestras nationwide, promoting diverse talent and cultivating the careers of composers. 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."

Following a call for submissions by women composers, four were selected to have their music workshopped by ROCO with mentorship by esteemed mentor composers Valerie Coleman, Jennifer Higdon (an EarShot alumnus), and Nina Shekhar, as well as conductor Mei-Ann Chen, Artistic Partner to ROCO.

The Readings take place between Tuesday, June 4 and Thursday, June 6 at Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, with ROCO workshopping. The featured composers whose pieces will be workshopped include Autumn Maria Reed (Mental Health Suite: The Persistent Past & The Fearful Future), Naama Perel-Tzadok (Agricultural Pictures), Patricia Leonard (John Adams Theme - Overture from My Dearest Friend), and Stella G. Gitelman Willoughby (Stories of Sorrow and Strength: A Suite in Two Movements). One of the works will be chosen by the orchestra to be performed as part of a public concert given by ROCO for the League's National Conference on Friday, June 7, 2024 at 11:00am CT, and live-streamed for free at, YouTube, and Facebook.

Autumn Maria Reed is a Wisconsin-based composer of orchestral and musical theater works. She plays the double bass with Dayvin Hallmon's The Black String Triage Ensemble and Black Diaspora Symphony Orchestra, which performs string music for trauma and violence victims. Reed advocates for ending the stigma of mental illness and values spending time with her family. Her Mental Health Suite: The Persistent Past & The Fearful Future will be workshopped as part of the ACO/ROCO EarShot Readings; each movement reflects different diagnoses of acquired mental illnesses. "The Persistent Past" represents the inevitable depression while "The Fearful Future" represents the frenetic energy of anxiety. She says, "I spent my early adulthood struggling, but I have found light, and I hope that others struggling will find their light."

Naama Perel-Tzadok is a multi-stylistic composer and creator whose works are performed around the world. She is Ph.D. student in composition at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and ISEF Doctoral Fellow with a masters degree in composition from the University of Haifa. As the daughter of Yemenite and Tunisian immigrants, Naama grew up on Yemenite, Arabic, and Jewish music and draws inspiration from many sources--nature, current events, plastic art, and the diverse worlds of music she grew up in. Her Agricultural Pictures is inspired by the spectacular drone photos of the photographer Guy Sherry, which document the work process of the farmers in the Bet-She'an Valley in northern Israel. The musical work consists of several musical images, part of one larger musical picture, depicting the view of the valley where the composer lived for 10 years and the long process that the agricultural crops go through. The actions of the farmers and agricultural machinery influence the different tones, rhythms, and characters of each musical image.

Patricia Leonard is a composer of opera and musical theater whose works have been performed in major cities in the US and Europe, interpreted by celebrated musicians from the New York Philharmonic, Zurich Opera, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Boston Symphony/Pops/Ballet. Patricia was honored to be one of the "Founding Ladies of Music" as part of the "Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman" Quilt Concert for the Women's Suffrage anniversary, alongside acclaimed women composers such as Joan Tower and Thea Musgrave. She is a producer of a Special Benefit Concert for Ukraine at Lincoln Center, featuring artists from the Met opera, Broadway, and beyond. She is the Managing Director of New York New Music Ensemble, and composer member of MAESTRA, New York Women Composers, and a founding member of NYCC, celebrating its 20th anniversary season. Her work John Adams Theme - Overture from My Dearest Friend‍ honors America's "original power couple," John and Abigail Adams, and their detailed accounts of events through more than 1,100 letters.

Stella G. Gitelman Willoughby is an eight-time ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award winner and finalist and a national and international award-winning composer from Cambridge, Massachusetts. She writes for solo instruments, voice, chamber ensembles, and symphony orchestra. Valuing the distinctive qualities of each instrument and performer, Stella strives to create works that highlight their unique sound and embraces opportunities for her music to be performed in, and heard by, the public. She is a senior at Berklee College of Music majoring in composition with a self-designed minor in music archives. Willoughby's Stories of Sorrow and Strength: A Suite in Two Movements addresses two defining moments in the history of the Byzantine Empire: the Fourth Crusade, and the siege and fall of Constantinople. She says, "While it is easy to consider these events as tales of antiquity, similar struggles, conflicts, and tensions are still prevalent today. The feelings of fear, suffering, pain, and grief are universal. The ability to find strength and to persevere in the face of hardship gives us hope."

Program Information
June 4-6, 2024
EarShot Readings: ROCO
Denney Theatre, Kinder High School for the Visual and Performing Arts | Houston, TX
More Information:

‍Autumn Maria Reed - Mental Health Suite: The Persistent Past & The Fearful Future‍
‍Naama Perel-Tzadok - Agricultural Pictures
Patricia Leonard - John Adams Theme - Overture from My Dearest Friend‍
‍Stella G. Gitelman Willoughby - Stories of Sorrow and Strength: A Suite in Two Movements

Friday, June 7, 2024 at 11:00am CT
ROCO In Concert: Magnetic
Denney Theatre, Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts | Houston, TX

Reena Esmail - Teen Murti (Past ROCO World Premiere Commission)
Gabriela Lena Frank - Elegia Andina
Jennifer Higdon - Dance Card: V. Machina Rockus (Past ROCO World Premiere Commission)
Leanna Primiani - Neither men nor money validate my worth (Past ROCO World Premiere Commission)
Heather Schmidt - Solitaire (Past ROCO World Premiere Commission)
Errolyn Wallen - Photography: I. Vivace
TBC - Premiere*

*ROCO will perform the premiere of one work chosen from ROCO's Earshot Readings.

Concert sponsored by the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation, the Carol Franc Buck Foundation, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. This session has generously been sponsored by BMI.

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.ACO received the inaugural MetLife Award for Excellence in Audience Engagement, and a proclamation from the New York City Council. Learn more at

About ROCO

ROCO is a dynamic and innovative professional chamber orchestra that flexes from 1 to 40 musicians from all over the US and Canada, with guest conductors from around the globe. With over 130 premieres to date, ROCO is one of the most prolific commissioning organizations in the US. A study in 2019 by the Institute for Composer Diversity found that ROCO was the #1 ensemble in the US performing works by women and #2 for composers of color. ROCO's debut album, Visions Take Flight, was recognized with a GRAMMY Award for Producer of the Year, Blanton Alspaugh.

ROCO is known for shaping the future of classical music and has been called an "arts disruptor" and "trailblazer." Leaning into access as its highest value, ROCO offers many concert tickets on a Pay-What-You-Wish model. Performances are in multiple venues to take audiences on a tour of Houston through music. ROCO began livestreaming to the world for free in 2013 and was able to continue with a full season of programming during Covid, with over 250,000 views during the pandemic. Live audio recordings from concerts are regularly broadcast nationally on American Public Media's "Performance Today" show and are available for free listening in ROCO's own Listening Room as well as all popular music streaming services.

About the League of American Orchestras

The League of American Orchestras champions the vitality of music and the orchestral experience, supports the orchestra community, and leads change boldly. The only national organization dedicated to orchestras and their communities, the League supports the field through advocacy, research, convenings, leadership development, artistic programs, and grants. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League includes nearly 25,000 musicians, conductors, orchestra staff, board members, volunteers, and business partners working within our membership of 1600 world-renowned orchestras, community groups, summer festivals, student and youth ensembles, conservatories and libraries, businesses serving orchestras, and individuals who love symphonic music. Visit



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