New AMC/Siday Grant Program Puts Composers “On Hold”

New AMC/Siday Grant Program Puts Composers “On Hold”

Being placed on hold is bad enough, but stress levels only seem to rise when a company uses that opportunity to force you to endure awful music and advertising while you wait.

Inspired by this situation, the Siday Music On Hold Program was developed last year as a partnership between the American Music Center and the Eric and Edith Siday Charitable Foundation. The AMC can now commission composers directly to fulfill this communication need. Beginning in June 2005, callers to the American Music Center will hear specially commissioned works whenever they are placed on hold.

Composers Halim El-Dabh, Raz Mesinai, Ira J. Mowitz, Larry Polansky, Roddy Schrock, and Randall Woolf are the recipients of the first Siday Music On Hold Awards. Each composer will be awarded a $1,000 commission to create an original electro-acoustic piece for use as on-hold music in AMC’s telephone system.

The program seeks to honor the legacy of Eric Siday, a pioneering electro-acoustic composer and educator best known for the musical logos used for commercial entities like Maxwell House coffee and ABC-TV.

Music on Hold awardee Larry Polansky finds the opportunity especially intriguing. “What I like about the project,” he says, “is the fact that it creates a new kind of public art, putting some of the most interesting music in one of the least interesting places, the telephone system, and there’s something important and beautiful about that.”

[Ed. Note: Stay tuned for an in-depth feature on the Siday Music On Hold Program this summer on NewMusicBox.]

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