Columbia and ACO Partner For New Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute

The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University and the American Composers Orchestra have announced a new collaborative project: the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute (JCOI). JCOI, which is generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, will provide instruction to jazz composers in working with the symphony orchestra, an area that many jazz composers wish to engage, but for which access to educational and performance opportunities are few. JCOI will take place in two stages: the Intensive and the Readings.

From July 20 to 24, 2010, up to thirty-five participants, selected from a national pool of applicants, will take part in the JCOI Intensive on the Columbia University campus, where they will work with prominent composers, performers, conductors, and music industry leaders in seminars, workshops and performance labs in orchestration, instrumentation, contemporary techniques, score preparation, and ideas for incorporating improvisation within an orchestral framework. Professional development workshops will address promotion, publishing, copyright, and commissioning agreements, and other career essentials.

The curriculum will be designed by a distinguished panel of composers, including Jane Ira Bloom, Anthony Davis, Fabien Lévy, and Center for Jazz Studies Director George Lewis, all of whom will serve as instructors, along with composers Alvin Singleton, Derek Bermel, and Tania León. Students will receive live demonstrations of new instrumental techniques from a resident chamber ensemble, Wet Ink, known nationally for its performances of new music, and will observe rehearsals for two concerts at Columbia’s Miller Theatre, held during the Institute week, featuring works by composers working with improvisation.

Following the Intensive, participants will be invited to submit applications to participate in the JCOI Readings. Four to six promising participants from the Intensive will be selected to create new works for orchestra, and to work further with composers and conductors in developing and scoring those new works. The Readings will culminate with open rehearsals, readings, and live performances by the American Composers Orchestra of the new works at Miller Theatre at Columbia University in June 2011.

(—Condensed from the press release)