ACO Selects Eight for 11th Whitaker New Music Readings

Eight composers in the early stages of their careers have been chosen to participate in the American Composers Orchestra‘s eleventh annual Whitaker New Music Reading Sessions on April 15.

The winning composers, selected from among nearly 200 submissions, are (click through for detailed biographies of the composers and program notes for each work):

Honorable mentions went to Gregory Hutter, Damon Lee, and Ayse Onder.

Each composer will be given a full orchestral reading of the submitted work and will receive feedback from the ACO musicians and the event’s composer advisors-James Mobberley, Yehudi Wyner, and Steve Mackey. After the readings, one composer will receive ACO’s Whitaker Commission, a $15,000 prize to write a new work to be performed by the orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Paul Yeon Lee was the 2001 winner.

In an previous interview with NewMusicBox, ACO Executive Director Michael Geller described the day-long reading session as “quite emotionally charged, because it compresses everything about a performance-from literally the first glimpse of the music to the performance-into a very short time, so there’s a lot of pressure [on everyone]. On the composer most of all… It’s a long day, but a very rewarding one.”

Since its inception, the Whitaker Reading sessions have featured the works or more than 50 emerging composers. Past participants include Melinda Wagner, Derek Bermel, and Jennifer Higdon.