Performance Friday, April 5, 2013 | 7:30 PM

American Composers Orchestra

coLABoratory: Playing It UNsafe

Zankel Hall
Playing It Unsafe is ACO’s next musical laboratory. Composers pursue no-holds-barred explorations that challenge their creative capacities and stretch the limits of what is possible with an orchestra. New pieces, selected through a nationwide search, are born from a unique incubation process of workshops, public readings, and collaborative feedback.

This concert is part of My Time, My Music.


  • American Composers Orchestra
    George Manahan, Music Director and Conductor
  • Dane Lam, Remote Conductor
  • Gildas Quartet, Remote Musicians
    ·· Christopher Jones, Violin
    ·· Sophie Cameron, Violin
    ·· Kay Stephen, Viola
    ·· Anna Menzies, Cello
  • Sonora Trio
    ·· Oren Fader, Electric Guitar
    ·· Andrew Bolotowsky, Native American Flute
    ·· Judith Sainte Croix, Synthesizer
  • Simon Tarr, Live Visuals


  • RAYMOND J. LUSTIG Latency Canons (World Premiere)
  • DU YUN Slow Portraits (film by David Michalek) (World Premiere)
  • DAN VISCONTI Glitchscape (World Premiere)
  • JUDITH SAINTE CROIX Vision V (World Premiere)
  • TROY HERION New York: A City Symphony (film by Troy Herion) (World Premiere)


  • American Composers Orchestra

    Now in its 36th season, American Composers Orchestra is the only orchestra in the world dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers. ACO makes the creation of new opportunities for American composers and new American orchestral music its central purpose. Through concerts at Carnegie Hall and other venues, recordings, internet and radio broadcasts, educational programs, New Music Readings, and commissions, ACO identifies today's brightest emerging composers; champions prominent established composers and those lesser-known; and increases regional, national, and international awareness of the infinite variety of American orchestral music. ACO also serves as an incubator of ideas, research, and talent; as a catalyst for growth and change among orchestras; and as an advocate for American composers and their music.

    To date, ACO has performed music by more than 600 American composers, including 200 world premieres and newly commissioned works. Among the orchestra's innovative programs have been SONiC: Sounds of a New Century, a nine-day citywide festival in New York of music by more than 100 composers age 40 and under; Sonidos de las Américas, six annual festivals devoted to Latin American composers and their music; Coming to America, a program immersing audiences in the ongoing evolution of American music through the work of immigrant composers; Orchestra Tech, a long-term initiative to integrate new digital technologies in the symphony orchestra; Improvise!, a festival devoted to the exploration of improvisation and the orchestra; coLABoratory: Playing It UNsafe, a new laboratory for the research and development of experimental new works for orchestra; and Orchestra Underground, ACO's entrepreneurial cutting-edge orchestral ensemble that embraces new technology, eclectic instruments, influences, and spatial orientation of the orchestra, new experiments in the concert format, and multimedia and multidisciplinary collaborations.

    Composer development has been at the core of ACO's mission since its founding. In addition to its annual Underwood New Music Readings and Commission, ACO also provides a range of additional educational and professional development activities, including composer residencies and fellowships. In 2008, ACO launched EarShot, a multi-institutional network that assists orchestras around the country in launching new music reading sessions. Recent EarShot collaborations have included the San Diego, Nashville, Memphis, and Colorado symphonies; New York Youth Symphony; and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Visit for more information.

    ACO recordings are available on ARGO, CRI, ECM, Point, Phoenix USA, MusicMasters, Nonesuch, Tzadik, New World Records, and,, and iTunes. Visit for more information.

    George Manahan

    In his third season as Music Director of the American Composers Orchestra, George Manahan has had a wide-ranging and esteemed career, embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. Manahan is also director of orchestral studies at the Manhattan School of Music and a guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music. He is a regular guest with the Music Academy of the West and the Aspen Music Festival.

    Manahan served as music director of the New York City Opera for 14 seasons and music director of Richmond Symphony for 12; he was acting music director of New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for four seasons. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Orchestra of St. Luke's; Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; San Francisco Symphony; Hollywood Bowl Orchestra; the opera companies of Seattle, Chicago, Santa Fe, and Portland; Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Opéra national de Paris. Manahan has been honored five times by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) for his commitment to new music.

    Manahan's extensive recording activities include the premiere release of Steve Reich's Tehillim for ECM, a Grammy-nominated recording of Edward Thomas's Desire Under the Elms, Joe Jackson's Will Power, and Tobias Picker's Emmeline. He has conducted numerous world premieres, including Charles Wuorinen's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang's Modern Painters, Hans Werner Henze's The English Cat, and the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner.

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  • Dane Lam

    Dane Lam is principal conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and music director of the Sheffield Symphony Orchestra, as well as assistant conductor to Kurt Masur at the Orchestre National de France. He recently completed a highly successful tenure as Leverhulme Junior Fellow at the Royal Northern College of Music. After completing his study at the University of Queensland with Gwyn Roberts, Lam was a student of James DePreist at The Juilliard School. He has participated in master classes with Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Charles Mackerras, Martyn Brabbins, David Robertson, Gianandrea Noseda, and Jorma Panula.

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  • Gildas Quartet

    Winners of the 2011 Tunnell Trust Award, the Gildas Quartet was formed in 2010 by graduate students at the Royal Northern College of Music, where it was awarded the prestigious Barbirolli Prize. The quartet has performed widely in the UK and across Europe, including appearances at the European Academy of Music and Arts in Montepulciano, Italy, and at the Europäische Festwoche der Kammermusik in Detmold, Germany. Future engagements include appearances at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival and the Altenberger Kultursommer Festival. Next January, the quartet will make their Southbank Centre debut as part of the Park Lane Group Young Artist Series.

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  • Sonora Trio

    The Sonora Trio plays a wide range of instruments from around the world-both classical and indigenous, including electric and acoustic guitars, Egyptian ney, Irish penny whistles, Chinese flute, ocarinas, recorders, Native American northeast and southwest flutes and drums, circle flute, wooden and bass Baroque flutes, mosenos, tarkas, rainsticks, shakers, cymbals, piano, synthesizer, keyboards, and both spoken and sung voices.

    Composer Judith Sainte Croix creates new works for the group's signature electro-acoustic chamber instrumentations that combines ancient and ethnic instruments with classical and electric ones.

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  • Simon Tarr

    Simon Tarr is an artist, writer, and educator in South Carolina. His films have been screened on every continent in hundreds of film festivals. He has given live performances at conferences, festivals, and clubs around the world, and his work is available on DVD from Netflix and Amazon. Tarr is an associate professor of art at the University of South Carolina. He received the 2010 University Film and Video Association Teaching Award for achievements in pedagogy that contribute to the field of film and video education.

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About the Program

Welcome to coLABoratory: Playing it UNsafe, the culmination of our season at Zankel Hall, and a true laboratory-an incubator-for the research and development of cutting-edge new orchestra music. To arrive at this point, we went on a nationwide search, challenging composers to stretch both their own aesthetic and the possibilities for the orchestra. The response was overwhelming: Composers are clamoring for new opportunities that allow them to explore and experiment. Our search led us to five visionary composers who have collaborated with the orchestra over the last six months in lab-workshops, public readings, and feedback sessions designed to hone their work and give curious listeners a chance to dive deep into the creative process.

Tonight's works are as eclectic as they are unconventional. In Latency Canons, Ray Lustig utilizes the unpredictable delay in video-conferencing, with musicians in multiple locations both here at Carnegie Hall and in Manchester, England. Du Yun's Slow Portraits is an acoustic exploration of a "frozen point" of orchestral sound paired with super slow-motion video by David Michalek. In Vision V, Judith Sainte Croix adds an unconventional trio of electric guitar, Native American flute, and synthesizer, plus abstract visuals to an orchestral score that was created with player and audience participation. Dan Visconti's Glitchscape creates new instruments from obsolete Speak & Spell toys and vintage recording devices, accompanied with video by Simon Tarr that interacts with the orchestra in real-time. Troy Herion serves as both composer and filmmaker in his New York City Symphony, an audio and visual celebration of the city.

As with any experimental endeavor, we often don't know how a new piece will turn out until we hear it ourselves. We do know, however, that musical experiments need to be given a chance in the orchestra, and that to participate in these experiments has been thrilling for all of us at ACO. So tonight's concert, coLABoratory: Playing it UNsafe, is about opportunity—the opportunity to try new things, to encourage artistic exploration, to take a few risks (while having more than a bit of fun), and ultimately, to foster artistic growth. We thank you for being a part of that exciting process.

—Robert Beaser, ACO Artistic Director, and Derek Bermel, ACO Creative Advisor

Program Notes


Ray Lustig discusses his Latency Canons—Part 1: Establishing Latency.

Ray Lustig discusses his Latency Canons—Part 2: Finding Guidance.

Judith Sainte Croix discusses her Vision V. Part I.

Judith Sainte Croix discusses her Vision V. Part II, Light and Metaphors.

This performance is part of American Composers Orchestra.