American Composers Orchestra

"American Composers Orchestra has brought to the city a repertory of music of our time which leaves all the major American orchestras far behind." - The New York Times

 

"If orchestras are more accommodating to living composers today, ACO can rightfully claim at least some of the credit." - Time Out New York

​

"the organization exists to upend the status quo with symphonic magnitude"

The Philadelphia Inquirer

 

"A brilliant and unpretentious showcase for music in the new millennium." - The Guardian

Founded in 1977, 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 composer advancement 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, racial, 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.

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, and professional development, EarShot ensures a vibrant musical future by investing in creativity today. Serving over 350 composers since inception, EarShot had its beginnings in NYC with its own Readings in 1991 (carrying the name Whitaker and then Underwood) and expanded in 2008 to national Readings offered in partnership with orchestras across the country in collaboration with the League of American Orchestras, New Music USA, and American Composers Forum. EarShot has also included other programs such as Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute, CoLABoratory, Pathways and more. 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.

Since 1999, ACO has brought composers and musical teaching artists into NYC public schools through Sonic Spark. Sonic Spark aims to leverage composition as a platform for creativity and creativity as a platform for achievement in all areas of a student’s life. Students in Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens work directly with professional composers to create and perform original music.

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

ACO Full Orchestra - Nov. Gala 2017_ cre

Photo by Yvonne Albinowski

Photos

Photo by Jennifer Taylor
Photo by Jennifer Taylor
press to zoom
Photo by Jennifer Taylor
Photo by Jennifer Taylor
press to zoom
Photo by Peter Yip
Photo by Peter Yip
press to zoom
Photo by Noah Stern Weber
Photo by Noah Stern Weber
press to zoom
Photo by Noah Stern Weber
Photo by Noah Stern Weber
press to zoom
Photo by Lyndsay Werking
Photo by Lyndsay Werking
press to zoom

Videos