ACO’s Composer to Composer Talks – Volume One
October 14, 2020 to February 3, 2021
Tickets: $15-$30 (sliding scale)

Professional Development Webinars – Volume One
October 21, 2020 to January 27, 2021
Free, Registration Required.

Information, Tickets, & Registration:

New York, NY – This fall, American Composers Orchestra (ACO) launches two new online programming initiatives – ACO’s Composer to Composer Talks and Professional Development Webinars. ACO’s Composer to Composer Talks feature major American composers in talks about their work and leading a creative life. Professional Development Webinars, a new platform for emerging composers, feature leading industry professionals in panel discussions.

ACO’s Composer to Composer Talks are intergenerational discussions, which will begin by listening to and exploring a featured work selected by one of the composers, with one composer interviewing the other. Composer pairings have been inspired by existing collaborative and student-mentor relationships between the musicians. Volume One runs from October 21, 2020 through January 27, 2021 and includes composers George Lewis, Courtney Bryan, and Damon Holzborn (October 21); Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and Kerwin Young (December 2); William Bolcom and Gabriela Lena Frank (January 13); and John Corigliano and Mason Bates (January 27). Volume Two, to be announced in January 2021, will include composers Missy Mazzoli and Meredith Monk, among others.

Attendees will gain insight to each work’s genesis, sound, and influence on the American orchestral canon, and will be invited to ask questions of the artists. Events will be live-streamed and available for on-demand viewing for seven days following the live event. The conversations will also be archived by Oral History of American Music (OHAM) within Yale University’s Irving S. Gilmore Music Library. Single tickets are available on a sliding scale of $15-30; subscriptions will range from $45-$90 for four events.

ACO’s Composer to Composer Talks – Volume One Schedule:

October 21, 2020 at 5pm ET: George Lewis’s Virtual Concerto

with George Lewis, Courtney Bryan, Damon Holzborn

Tickets & Information:

Courtney Bryan and Damon Holzborn talk with George Lewis about his Virtual Concerto from 2004, a piece for improvising computer piano soloist and orchestra, written for ACO. The New York Times described the premiere, writing, “the soloist was a computer-driven piano, its software programmed to ‘react’ to aspects of the orchestra’s performance.”

December 2, 2020 at 5pm ET: Chen Yi and Zhou Long’s Symphony “Humen 1839”

with Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Kerwin Young

Tickets & Information:

Kerwin Young talks with Chen Yi and Zhou Long about their co-composed work, Symphony “Humen 1839,” from 2009. The work commemorates the public burning of over 1000 tons of opium, an event which led to the First Opium War between Great Britain and China.

January 13, 2021 at 5pm ET: William Bolcom’s Symphony No. 9

with William Bolcom and Gabriela Lena Frank

Tickets & Information:

Gabriela Lena Frank talks with William Bolcom about his Symphony No. 9, from 2012, of which Bolcom writes, “Today our greatest enemy is our inability to listen to each other, which seems to worsen with time. All we hear now is shouting, and nobody is listening because the din is so great. Yet there is a ‘still, small voice’ that refuses to disappear…I pin my hope on that voice. I search for it daily in life and in music – and possibly the ‘Ninth Symphony’ is a search for that soft sound.”

January 27, 2021 at 5pm ET: John Corigliano’s Conjurer: Concerto for Percussionist and String Orchestra (with optional Brass)

With John Corigliano and Mason Bates

Tickets & Information:

Mason Bates talks with John Corigliano about Corigliano’s work Conjurer: Concerto for Percussionist and String Orchestra (with optional Brass)from 2007. Composed in three movements titled “Wood,” “Metal,” and “Skin,” the work showcases a different family of percussion instruments in each. Corigliano writes, “Once it was complete, it occurred to me that the piece’s cadenza-into-movement form characterizes the soloist as a kind of sorcerer. The effect in performance is that the soloist doesn’t so much as introduce material as conjure it, as if by magic, from the three disparate choirs: materials which the orchestra then shares and develops; hence, the title Conjurer.”

ACO’s Professional Development Webinars are presented with American Composers Forum, and feature panel discussions by esteemed professionals in the industry about topics including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Entrepreneurship and Creating an Ensemble; Film Composition; Fundraising via Supportive Individuals; Programming and Digital Curation; Publishing, Self-Publishing, and Management; Recording Law and Practice; Project Production and Recording; and more. Volume One runs from October 14, 2020 through February 3, 2021. All Professional Development Webinars are free of charge, with registration required.

Professional Development Webinars – Volume One Schedule:

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 3pm ET: Orchestra Musicians Roundtable

Free Registration:

Join seasoned orchestral musicians as they speak about their experiences with living composers and new orchestral music. They’ll touch on topics of effective communication between composers and musicians in a variety of ways, including parts writing, email/remote communication, and in-person working sessions. ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel will moderate the panel of musicians and Q&A with the audience.

Panelists: Wayne Dumaine, trumpet, ACO; Kyu-Young Kim, violin & Artistic Director, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Alecia Lawyer, oboe & Artistic Director, ROCO

Monday, November 9, 2020 at 3pm ET: Fundraising via Supportive Individuals

Free Registration:

Learn how to raise funds for your next project by leveraging the support of generous individuals. ACO Acting President and Director of Development Lyndsay Werking leads a panel of artists and administrators fluent in grassroots fundraising. A Q&A with the audience will follow.

Panelists: Bonnie Marshall, American Composers Forum VP of Development; Nicholas Phan, tenor; Dafnis Prieto, drummer, Somi Kakoma, vocalist & songwriter

Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 3pm ET: Entrepreneurship & Ensembles for Composers

Free Registration:

How can composers help guide their own careers? What part does creating an ensemble play in that? Frank J. Oteri, composer advocate at New Music USA and the editor of NewMusicBox, moderates a panel of innovative ensemble creators to explore topics of entrepreneurship and career advancement as a composer. A Q&A with the audience will follow.

Panelists: Afa Dworkin, Sphinx Organization; Nadia Sirota, yMusic; Sugar Vendil, The Nouveau Classical Project

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 3pm ET: Finding Your Voice Online

Free Registration:

How can composers find their true artistic message and convey that effectively online? American Composers Forum Director of Communications Dameun Strange moderates a panel and Q&A exploring topics of authenticity and effectiveness online.

Panelists: Anthony R. Green, composer & performer; Mary Prescott, composer and interdisciplinary artist; Beth Stewart, Verismo Communications founder

About American Composers Orchestra

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, middle school through college composer education programs, and emerging composer development programs to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.

ACO identifies and develops talent, performs established composers, champions those who are lesser-known, and increases regional, national, and international awareness of the infinite variety of American orchestral music, reflecting gender, ethnic, geographic, stylistic, and age diversity. To date, ACO has performed music by 800 American composers, including over 350 world premieres and newly commissioned works. ACO recordings are available on ARGO, CRI, ECM, Point, Phoenix USA, MusicMasters, Nonesuch, Tzadik, New World Records,, and iTunes.

EarShot – in collaboration with the League of American Orchestras, New Music USA and American Composers Forum – enables ACO and partner orchestras across the country to identify talented young composers. With guidance from ACO, partner orchestras – such as the Detroit Symphony, the Sarasota (FL) Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra – undertake readings, residencies, performances and composer-development programs that speak directly to their communities and leverage local resources. ACO itself holds annual readings in New York with a multi-performance commission awarded to the most promising participant through the Composing a New Orchestra Audience platform.

For nearly two decades, ACO has brought composers and musical teaching artists into New York City public schools through Sonic Spark (formerly known as Music Factory). Sonic Spark aims to leverage composition as a platform for creativity, and creativity as a platform for achievement in all areas of student’s life. Students in Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan and Queens, work directly with professional composers to create and perform original music. ACO also offers the intensive Compose Yourself! seminars, during which high school and college composers participate in hands-on composition classes, culminating in a performance of student compositions played by ACO’s professional musicians.

More information about American Composers Orchestra and resources about American orchestral composers is available online