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American Composers Orchestra Opens 21-22 Season: Welcome Back Family and Friends Chamber Concert

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 7pm

DiMenna Center for Classical Music | 450 W. 37th St. | NYC Tickets & Information:

Read ACO President Melissa Ngan's I Care If You Listen Interview Previewing the Season

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) opens its 2021-2022 season, under the leadership of Artistic Director Derek Bermel and President Melissa Ngan, on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 7pm with a Welcome Back Family and Friends Chamber Concert at DiMenna Center for Classical Music (450 W. 37th St.).

ACO musicians including violinist Karen Kim, cellist Eugene Moye, pianist Christopher Oldfather, flutist Laura Conwesser, clarinetist Liam Burke, and percussionist Javier Diaz will perform music by a broad array of composers, many of whom are close to the orchestra – including current and former ACO Board of Directors members Alvin Singleton, Augusta Gross, Melinda Wagner, Robert Beaser, and Jonathan Bailey Holland.

The program features the New York premieres of Augusta Gross’s Towards Night, Karen Lefrak’s Daybreak; When, and Jonathan Bailey Holland’s Mobius. It also includes Steven Gerber’s Five Greek Folksongs (after Ravel), Alvin Singleton’s Argoru VIII, Melinda Wagner’s Unsung Chordata, Edward Thomas’s Reflections, and selections from Robert Beaser’s Souvenirs.

“This concert is a chance for us to gather and share music by composers near and dear to ACO’s past, present, and future,” says Bermel. “Join ACO for this intimate chamber event and meet some of the composers, as we celebrate 45 years of music-making in New York by ACO's stellar musicians.”

Ngan adds, “It gives us great joy to welcome the ACO family back together with a program that celebrates the creative work of those who have shaped ACO in such extraordinary ways.”

All audience members will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 with a vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization or the Food and Drug Administration and must maintain appropriate face coverings in accordance with current CDC guidelines.

American Composers Orchestra – 2021-2022 Program Highlights

Welcome Back Family and Friends Chamber Concert

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 7pm

DiMenna Center for Classical Music | 450 W. 37th St. | NYC

Performed by ACO Musicians

Tickets & Information:

STEVEN GERBER: Five Greek Folksongs (after Ravel)

AUGUSTA GROSS: Towards Night (New York Premiere)


KAREN LEFRAK: Daybreak; When (New York Premiere)

MELINDA WAGNER: Unsung Chordata

EDWARD THOMAS: Reflections

JONATHAN BAILEY HOLLAND: Mobius (New York Premiere)

ROBERT BEASER: Selections from Souvenirs

New Canons

Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 7pm | In-Person & Virtual

Co-Presented by American Composers Orchestra and Groupmuse Foundation

Online and at New York City locations to be announced

Performed by ACO Musicians, with six soloists located around the world

Tickets & Information: RAY LUSTIG: Latency Canons (ACO Commission) TREVOR NEW: Cohere (ACO Commission, World Premiere) Sanctuary Friday, March 25, 2022 at 7:30pm Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall | 57th St. & 7th Ave. | NYC Marin Alsop, Conductor Jennifer Koh, Violin Tickets & Information:

ANNA CLYNE: Restless Oceans (2018) HANNAH KENDALL: Tuxedo: Vasco 'de' Gama (2020) DAI WEI: New Work (ACO Commission, World Premiere) PAULA MATTHUSEN: New Work (ACO Commission, World Premiere) LISA BIELAWA: Sanctuary (Co-commissioned by ACO, New York Premiere)

The Gathering: A Collective Sonic Ring Shout Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 8pm Apollo Theater | 253 W 125th St. | NYC Tickets & Information: Co-Presented by the American Composers Orchestra and the Apollo Co-Curated with National Black Theatre In Partnership with Gateways Music Festival and Harlem Chamber Players Conceived & Directed by Jonathan McCrory Conducted by Michael Morgan

JOEL THOMPSON: Seven Last Words of the Unarmed (New York Premiere) JASON MICHAEL WEBB & LELUND THOMPSON: New Commission (World Premiere)  COURTNEY BRYAN: Sanctum for orchestra and recorded sound TOSHI REAGON: New Commission (World Premiere) CARLOS SIMON: Amen! (New York Premiere of orchestral version)

About American Composers Orchestra

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 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, 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. ACO recordings are available on ARGO, CRI, ECM, Point, Phoenix USA, MusicMasters, Nonesuch, Tzadik, New World Records, InstantEncore, Amazon, Spotify, and Apple Music.

ACO offers an array of programs for emerging composers including its own annual New Music Readings in New York City, which has served over 150 composers since its inception in 1991, and EarShot Readings, which since 2008 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. These Readings provide the rare opportunity for emerging composers to hear their original works played by a professional orchestra; the residencies, performances and composer-development programs speak directly to the orchestras’ communities and leverage local resources. Annually, ACO-produced Readings support 15-20 emerging composers, who receive mentorship and a professional orchestra reading and recording of their work. ACO’s New Music Readings in New York include a multi-performance commission awarded to the most promising participant through the Composing a New Orchestra Audience platform. 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 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.

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.

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

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