American Composers Orchestra selects Nation’s Top Emerging Composers for 19th Annual Underwood New Music Readings

Featuring Seven World Premieres Conducted by George Manahan & José Serebrier

Program: Matti Kovler: Unsung Serenade | Hannah Lash: Furthermore | Eric Lindsay: Samba Koocho Hairy Boocho | Tamar Muskal: Water Colors | Ricardo Romaneiro: Sombras Christopher Stark: Ignatian Exercises | Xi Wang: Symphony No. 1

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is pleased to announce the seven winners of its 19th annual Underwood New Music Readings. Just one of the many ways that ACO provides opportunities for emerging composers, the Readings are one of the country's most coveted honors for up-and-coming artists. This year, the Readings will be held on Friday, May 21 at 10am and Saturday, May 22 at 8pm at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre (Broadway at 116th Street, NYC) and, as always, are free and open to the public, giving audiences a chance to look behind-the-scenes at the rehearsal process involved in bringing a new orchestral piece to life. Seven of the nation's most promising composers in the early stages of their professional careers have been selected from more than 100 submissions received from across the country. This year's winners are Matti Kovler, Hannah Lash, Eric Lindsay, Tamar Muskal, Ricardo Romaneiro, Christopher Stark, and Wang Xi, representing a broad range of sound worlds and life experiences.

Following the Readings, one of the young composers will receive a $15,000 commission to write a new work to be performed by ACO. ACO’s 2009 winner, Wang Jie, won the top prize with her work Symphony No. 1. Her newly commissioned work, Episodes from the Other Sky, will be premiered by ACO at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall on October 15, 2010.

Writing for the symphony orchestra remains one of the supreme challenges for the aspiring composer. The subtleties of instrumental balance, timbre, and communication with the conductor and musicians are critical skills. Opportunities for composers to gain hands-on experience working with a professional orchestra are few. Since 1991 ACO’s New Music Readings have provided invaluable experience for emerging composers while serving as a vital resource to the music field by identifying a new generation of American composers. To date, more than 100 composers have participated in the Readings, including such award-winning composers as Melinda Wagner, Pierre Jalbert, Augusta Read Thomas, Randall Woolf, Jennifer Higdon, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and ACO's Creative Advisor, Derek Bermel.

The 2010 Readings are under the direction of ACO’s Artistic Director, composer Robert Beaser, and this year will be led by ACO Music Director Designate George Manahan (who begins his tenure with the orchestra in the fall of 2010) and guest conductor José Serebrier; mentor composers are Derek Bermel and George Tsontakis. The conductors, mentor composers, and principal players from ACO provide critical feedback to each of the participants during and after the sessions. In addition to the Readings, the composer participants will take part in workshops and one-on-one sessions with industry professionals on Friday and Saturday.

Since participating in ACO's Readings, composers have held important residencies and had many works commissioned, premiered, and performed by the country's prominent symphony orchestras. The New Music Readings continue ACO's emphasis on launching composers' careers, a tradition that includes many of today's top composers, such as Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Joseph Schwantner, both of whom received Pulitzer Prizes for ACO commissions; and Robert Beaser, Ingram Marshall, Joan Tower, Aaron Jay Kernis, Christopher Rouse, Sebastian Currier, and Tobias Picker, whom the orchestra championed when they were beginning their careers.

Friday, May 21 at 10am & Saturday, 22 at 8pm
Miller Theatre | Columbia University | Broadway at 116th, NYC

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