Welcome. Tonight’s performance is the
culmination of our second SONiC: Sounds of a New Century, a festival devoted to
new music written in the 21st century by composers age 40 and under. Entitled
“21st Firsts,” this is an exceptional program even by ACO standards, with five
In the last nine days, SONiC has brought together some 80 composers in
performances throughout New York City. Along the way, there have been a total
of 20 world premieres. Events have ranged from a marathon concert to musical
robots, from a free symphony concert at the Winter Garden to collaborations
between emerging choreographers and composers, experiments with video,
jazz-classical hybrids, and much more.
Tonight’s composers are as diverse as they are interesting. They’re all exceptionally
mature in terms of the clarity of their artistic voice, though none of them are
past their mid-30s. Interestingly, four of them cut their teeth (at least in
terms of orchestra music) in one of ACO’s composer development programs, either
in our Underwood Emerging Composers Readings or in EarShot, ACO’s national
orchestral composition discovery network.
So, what’s in store for this grand finale? Conrad Winslow, along with visual
collaborator Paul Lieber, creates a multimedia essay built on Baroque
techniques described by 18th-century theorist Johann Mattheson. Melody Eötvös
relives childhood memories, making the earth and sky of her Australian
upbringing feel palpable in her music. Hannah Lash, as both composer and
soloist, presents music in which the harp stands in contrast to the
orchestra—alone and an outsider. And Michael-Thomas Foumai, inspired by a
Japanese tale of morality, recounts a rapturous and frantic dash for spiritual
salvation—an orchestral high-wire climb—before the thread snaps.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this snapshot of what a new generation of composers is
creating in our still-young century. And we hope you’ll agree that today is the
perfect day to tune in to the music of our time.
—Derek Bermel, ACO Artistic Director, and George Manahan, ACO Music Director