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June 22-23: American Composers Orchestra Holds 26th Underwood New Music Readings in NYC

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) continues its 40th anniversary season and its commitment to serving as a catalyst for the creation and development of new orchestral music with the 26th Annual Underwood New Music Readings on Thursday, June 22 and Friday, June 23, 2017 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music (450 W. 37th St., NYC).

The proceedings are open to the public free of charge, giving audiences a chance to look behind the scenes at the process involved in bringing brand new, stylistically diverse orchestral music to life. The first day of Readings, a working rehearsal, will be presented from 10am to 1pm on Thursday, June 22; the second day of Readings will take place on Friday evening, June 23, at 7:30pm, during which all selected pieces will be polished and performed in their entirety. ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel directs the Readings; ACO Music Director George Manahan conducts. Mentor composers are Libby Larsen, David Rakowski, and Trevor Weston. Events are free and open to the public, but reservations via ACO’s website ( are strongly recommended.

This year, six of the nation’s most promising composers in the early stages of their professional careers have been selected from over 250 submissions received from around the country. The selected composers – James Diaz, Nick DiBerardino, Martin Kennedy, Hilary Purrington, Alexander Timofeev, and Yucong (Zoe) Wang – represent a broad spectrum of musical backgrounds and sound worlds. They will receive a reading of a new work and one composer will be selected to receive a $15,000 commission for a new piece to be performed by ACO during an upcoming season. Each composer participating in the Underwood New Music Readings receives rehearsals, a reading, and a digital recording of his or her work. Review and feedback sessions with ACO principal players, mentor composers, ACO’s artistic and music directors, and industry representatives provide crucial artistic, technical, and conceptual assistance.

In addition, the Readings offer composers, students, or anyone interested in learning more about the business of being a composer Career Development Seminar on Tuesday, June 23 from 10am-4pm at Cary Hall, DiMenna Center for Classical Music. Workshops include talks on Intellectual Property, Copyright Law and Commissioning Agreements; a panel discussion on career strategy with some of the most successful young composers working today; and a panel discussion on programming with major music presenters. The cost for the Seminar is $25 (includes box lunch). Reservations can be made at

For over a generation, ACO's Underwood New Music Readings have been providing all-important career development and public exposure to the country's most promising emerging composers, with over 150 composers participating. Readings alumni have gone on to win every major composition award, including the Pulitzer, Grammy, Grawemeyer, American Academy of Arts & Letters, and Rome Prizes. Orchestras around the globe have commissioned ACO Readings alumni.


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