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American Composers Orchestra: 25th Annual Underwood New Music Reading Session

By Steve Nagel s.nagel@classicalite.com on Nov 30, 2015 11:58 PM EST

The chance for seven young composers to have their music read through by the American Composers Orchestra is still within grasp. Submissions for the 25th Annual Underwood New Music Reading Session are being accepted (and have been since October), but the December 11th deadline is creeping up fast. Composers who seek this honor are, according to ACO, expected to be in the “early stages of their professional career” (despite that there are no age restrictions) and are being asked to submit a 15 min. piece that has not yet been submitted anywhere for performance.

After all submissions for the 25th Annual Underwood New Music Reading have been reviewed, the winning seven composers will be notified of their selection in late January 2016, and are then expected to attend readings and professional development workshops from June 13-15 for feedback. These readings will include two sessions with the orchestra, a working rehearsal, and a run-through performance. After further deliberation, one of the final seven will be awarded a $15,000 commission to write a new piece for the American Composers Orchestra for the following season.

The American Composers Orchestra is unquestionably a fearless outlet for new music, but unlike other competitions offered through ACO (some of which require applicants to be previous participants), the 25th Annual Underwood New Music Reading offers fresh artists a chance to make a bold foray into the world of professional composing. The winner of last year's 24th Annual Commission was David Hertzberg, whose $15,000 winnings helped pay his way through a new composition that will premiere in the 2016-2017 season, also to be performed by the American Composers Orchestra.

Guidelines for the submissions are available here along with the schedule (if selected) for their 2016 duties, including a list of materials to supply the orchestra with by April. With the opportunity to work with Artistic Director Derek Bermel, Conductor George Manahan and additional mentor-composers (including Robert Beaser, Stephen Hartke, and Sarah Kirkland Snider), any budding composer should take this competition as an impossible challenge to pass up.

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TagsAmerican Composers Orchestra, ACO Underwood, David Hertzberg, composers competition

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