A composite image from photos of the 7 composers chosen for the Underwood readings
ACO Announces Composers Chosen for Underwood Readings

ACO Announces Composers Chosen for Underwood Readings

A composite image from photos of the 7 composers chosen for the Underwood readings

The seven 2015 Underwood composers (top row, from left to right): Igor Santos (photo by Kazimierz Turek), Jules Pegram (photo by Wendy Riley), Yuanyuan Kay He (photo by Justin Kohlbeck); (bottom row:) David “Clay” Mettens (photo by Hanna Hurwitz), Polina Nazaykinskaya (photo by Christopher Smith), Carl Schimmel (photo by Chanel Parrott Apsey), and David Hertzberg (photo by Adam Moskowitz). All photos courtesy ACO.

The American Composers Orchestra (ACO) has announced that works by seven composers have been selected for the 2015 Underwood New Music Readings which will take place on Wednesday, May 6 and Thursday, May 7, 2015 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City. The seven works, which were chosen from over 200 submissions received from around the country, are:

Yuanyuan Kay He (b. 1985): Passeig de Grácia
David Hertzberg (b. 1990): Spectre of the Spheres
David “Clay” Mettens (b. 1990): Sleeping I am carried…
Polina Nazaykinskaya (b. 1987): Nature’s Book of Life
Jules Pegram (b. 1991): Shadows of the Studio
Igor Santos (b. 1985): play, pivot
Carl Schimmel (b. 1975): Two Variations on Ascent into the Empyrean

Now in their 24th year, these readings, which are open to the public free of charge (though reservations are strongly recommended), give audiences a chance to look behind the scenes at the process involved in bringing brand new, stylistically diverse orchestral music to life. The first day of readings—a working rehearsal—will be presented from 10am to 1pm on Wednesday, May 6; the second day of readings will take place on Thursday evening, May 7, at 7:30pm, during which all selected pieces will be polished and performed in their entirety. ACO’s Artistic Director Derek Bermel directs the readings; George Manahan conducts. Mentor-composers are Gabriela Lena Frank and Kevin Puts.

Each composer participating in the Underwood New Music Readings receives rehearsal time, a full reading, and a digital recording of his or her work. Review and feedback sessions with ACO principal players, mentor-composers, guest conductors, and industry representatives provide crucial artistic, technical, and conceptual assistance. In addition, one of the seven composers will be selected to receive a $15,000 commission for a new piece to be performed by ACO during an upcoming season. The world premiere of 2013 Underwood Commission winner A.J. McCaffrey’s new work for ACO, Motormouth, was featured on ACO’s season opening Orchestra Underground concert on November 21, 2014 at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. The winner of the 2014 Underwood Commission, Andy Akiho, is composing a new piece that will premiere in October 2015 as part of ACO’s SONiC festival.

In addition to the readings, there will also be a series of career development seminars on Thursday, May 7 from 10am-4:00pm at the DiMenna Center for composers, students, or anyone interested in learning more about the business of being a composer. Workshop topics include intellectual property, copyright law and commissioning agreements, publicity and promotion, engraving and self-publishing, support and fundraising for composers, plus new developments with record labels. The cost for the seminar is $30, which includes lunch. Seating for the seminars is limited; reservations can be made on Eventbrite.

(—from the press release)

NewMusicBox provides a space for those engaged with new music to communicate their experiences and ideas in their own words. Articles and commentary posted here reflect the viewpoints of their individual authors; their appearance on NewMusicBox does not imply endorsement by New Music USA.

One thought on “ACO Announces Composers Chosen for Underwood Readings

  1. Richard Tortorigi

    I would like to follow the chain and outcome of this competition. Please keep me updated by email on the progress of the Underwwood Readings compitition. I have had the privilege to meet and perform with the brilliant composer Polina Nazaykinskaya and have hopes of her success in this compitition as she is no doubt a top contender for the top honor.

    Wishing you all the best Polina.
    Thank You,
    Richard Tortorigi

Comments are closed.