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American Composers Orchestra launches EarShot Publishing, administered worldwide by Boosey & Hawkes, which represents select orchestral works developed through its national EarShot composer advancement programs.

New York, NY (February 8, 2024) – Hailed as an “essential organization” (The New York Times) with “an expansive vision of orchestral composition” (Represent Classical), the American Composers Orchestra (ACO) launches EarShot Publishing, an unprecedented music publishing initiative that will administer the rights for select orchestral works developed through its national EarShot composer advancement programs, which include Readings, CoLABoratory Fellowships, and other commissioning opportunities. Works published by EarShot Publishing will be administered worldwide in partnership with Boosey & Hawkes, an international leader in classical music publishing, and with the support of the Sphinx Organization. The inaugural year of EarShot Publishing provides for eight works by eight different composers, including arrangements for both professional and youth/school orchestras.

> Learn more about EarShot Publishing

The first round of composers selected are: inti figgis-vizueta, Joseph C. Phillips, Jr., Kebra-Seyoun Charles, Michael R. Dudley, Jr., Alyssa Regent, Trevor New, Horacio Fernández Vázquez, and Brittany J. Green. All selected composers have also created teaching modules/lesson plans that can be implemented during residencies and site visits with orchestras’ community partners or schools.

“We are thrilled to partner with Boosey & Hawkes, an international leader in classical music publishing, to administer the EarShot Publishing catalog worldwide,” says President & CEO Melissa Ngan. “This new partnership, generously supported by the Sphinx Organization, offers ACO the opportunity to provide sustained relationship building and support to EarShot composers while advancing their work on orchestral stages and in community spaces nationwide.”

“Boosey & Hawkes is pleased to partner with the American Composers Orchestra, a bold and innovative advocate for new music and composers,” says Steven Lankenau, Senior Vice President of Boosey & Hawkes. “This collaboration aligns with our company's commitment to make great music accessible worldwide, and we look forward to supporting ACO’s mission to seek out and amplify a wide range of exciting new voices in the orchestra world. By joining forces, we aim to support the next generation of music creators, ensuring an exciting future for orchestra repertoire.”

The inaugural group of composers chosen for the EarShot Publishing initiative are as follows:

inti figgis-vizueta, a 2021-2022 CoLABoratory fellow and 2019 Underwood Readings (now known as EarShot Readings) featured artist, has been selected for her work Seven Sides of Fire, and will also write a version for youth orchestra, commissioned by ACO. Using fire as her powerful central image, figgis-vizueta explores both the phenomenon of intensifying wildfires and the centrality of controlled burns for land stewardship by Indigenous peoples, who have historically used fire to clear open areas for cultivation as well as grazing and hunting. In the process, the composer challenges the conventional Western image of fire as evil and threatening, recasting it as a force to be respected and used wisely in service to responsible ecology. Her educational module guides students in using traditional and improvised musical instruments to evoke the sounds of natural phenomena such as earthquakes, waves, and wildfires.

Joseph C. Phillips, Jr., a 2025-2026 CoLABoratory fellow, has been selected for a new piece (title TBD) commissioned as the first in a series of orchestral and chamber works to be composed as companions and offshoots to his 1619 opera cycle. In tandem, he will write a work for youth orchestra. For this piece, Phillips focuses on the Black-owned vacation spots and leisure spaces of the Jim Crow era, largely forgotten today, that provided Black Americans with needed retreats from the everyday stresses of segregation and discrimination, giving them space to experience the renewing effects of the beach or countryside. His educational module combines historical teachings on land theft and exploitation with works by Black composers that illuminate Black Americans’ bonds with nature.

Kebra-Seyoun Charles, a 2024-2025 CoLABoratory fellow, has been selected for a new commission (title TBD) that mirrors the “playlist” listening experience by combining multiple styles, seamlessly moving between genres and rhythms, in a style the composer terms “counter-classicism.” The composition also celebrates music as a vehicle for dance, infusing forms such as the French Baroque overture with modern genres like house music, jazz, and gospel to create new and danceable styles. Charles will also write an original work for youth orchestra, and create an educational module presenting chorales written in disparate genres (Baroque, waltz, and R&B), as well as methods for improvising on each piece.

Michael R. Dudley, Jr., who took part in 2022-2023 EarShot Readings with The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, has been selected for the work A Heretic’s Prayer, and will write a version for youth orchestra. A statement on the power of emotion as a motivator for change, this composition calls on listeners to listen honestly to the feelings evoked in them by news stories and life events – whether anger, sadness, or so on – and not dismiss them but use them as a driving force for action. Elements of consonance and dissonance are used to represent community vs. individuality, agreement vs. defiance. Dudley’s educational module likewise employs consonance and dissonance to reflect how members of a community converse, respond, and adjust to one another, while also familiarizing students with motifs and harmonic structures associated with jazz and other Black American musical traditions.

Alyssa Regent, who took part in the 2022-2023 Earshot Readings with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, has been selected for her work Where Even Shadows are Light. In this composition, Regent took the opportunity to step outside the more formalized structures in which she had composed previously, playing with a more organic, freeform composition style that she describes as “a metaphysical entity, something floating.” Regent’s educational module calls on students to focus on the “otherworldly” moments in the piece – including those that might not sound traditionally “musical” – and associate them with visual images as a way of more fully experiencing the ideas and emotional potency being expressed.

Trevor New, a 2022-2023 CoLABoratory fellow, has been selected for his piece Cohere Touch. This composition is the second in a series of pieces written for decentralized simultaneous telematic performance, in which participants at multiple remote locations take in a shared experience of movement and sound, essentially touching a shared canvas physically and sonically. Besides being the title of the piece, Cohere Touch is a specially designed augmented reality system that allows performers and audience to play music together, interacting across all the networked spaces participating in the piece. On his goals for the piece, New said, “I believe that if we have a genuine and open creative process in our learning and art, those virtues can influence how we see the people we share the world with.” His educational module engages students to create collaborative multimedia art through the Cohere Touch system.

Horacio Fernández Vázquez, who took part in the 2021-2022 EarShot Readings with Oregon Symphony, has been selected for his piece Tumbao (Latin Suite for Orchestra). In this work, the composer draws from youthful memories of learning – and learning to love – Latin dance as a means of connecting with his large Mexican family and Latino culture at large. Arranged in three movements, the suite explores the genres of salsa, bachata, and reggaeton, composed with authenticity to each genre and references to such visionary Latin singers as Daddy Yankee, Romeo Santos, and Oscar de León. The term “tumbao” refers both to the basic rhythm played by the bass in Afro-Cuban genres and to an overall sense of vibrant joy captured in Latin culture. The educational module for this piece includes a video of the composer discussing the building blocks of salsa music, as well as access to the Logic Pro digital music production session used to create the piece. Students are also encouraged to identify popular songs influenced by Latin music and experiment with their own composing.

Brittany J. Green, who took part in ACO’s 2022-2023 EarShot Readings, has been selected for her work Rencontres. An expansion on a string quartet by the same name, Rencontres uses brevity, tension, and euphoria to evoke the feeling of chance encounters. Combining lush, resonant chords with expressive ornamental gestures and dissonant harmonies, the piece creates a sense of disparate elements growing into and out of each other, representing a constant state of uncertainty. The educational module for this piece explores Green’s composition process and the formal dimensions of the work, while providing exercises for connecting with the individual thematic elements contained in the piece.

About American Composers Orchestra
In 1977, a collective of fearless New York City musicians came together to form the American Composers Orchestra (ACO), an ensemble dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. Over more than 40 years committed to artistry, creativity, community, and equity, ACO has blossomed into a national institution that not only cultivates and develops the careers of living composers, but also provides composers a direct pipeline to partnerships with many of America’s major symphony orchestras.

In addition to its annual season, presented by Carnegie Hall since 1987, the ACO serves as a New York City hub where the most forward-thinking experimental American musicians come together to hone and realize new art by developing talent, established composers, and underrepresented voices, increasing the regional, national, and international awareness of the infinite variety of American orchestral music.

ACO produces national educational programs for all ages, and composer advancement programs to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders – all dedicated to American composition.

To date, ACO has performed music by 800 American composers, including over 350 world premieres and newly commissioned works. Recent and notable commissioned composers include John Luther Adams, Andy Akiho, Clarice Assad, Carlos Bandera, Courtney Bryan, Valerie Coleman, Dai Wei, Du Yun, inti figgis-vizueta, Marcus Gilmore, Vijay Iyer, Yvette Janine Jackson, Joan La Barbara, Steve Lehman, Tania León, Paula Matthusen, Trevor New, Mendi + Keith Obadike, Ellen Reid, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Carlos Simon, Henry Threadgill, and many more.

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, publishing, and professional development, EarShot ensures a vibrant musical future by investing in creativity today. Serving over 350 composers since inception, ACO Readings in NYC began in 1991, and since 2008, national Readings 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. EarShot 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.

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. Learn more at www.americancomposers.org.

Photo: inti figgis-vizueta by Ella Joklik, Joseph C. Phillips, Jr. by Mark Elzey, Kebra-Seyoun Charles by Shaleah Feinstein, Michael R. Dudley, Jr. by Anna Marshall, Alyssa Regent by Alexandre Fanham, Trevor New by Alexandra Cerebelli, Horacio Fernández Vázquez by Uriel Flores Marin, Brittany J. Green by Shanita Dixon.

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