Performance Thursday, February 20, 2014 | 7:30 PM

American Composers Orchestra

Orchestra Underground: Lines on a Point

Zankel Hall
American Composers Orchestra concerts “are always fascinating, … frequently exhilarating forays into recent music—or music that was written decades ago but is still fresh" (Newsday). The inventive ensemble pairs Steve Reich’s influential work Eight Lines with David Lang’s statement to the court—based on Eugene Deb’s court statement after his landmark conviction in his fight for free speech—as well as world premieres from Lisa Renée Coons and Amy Beth Kirsten.

This concert is part of My Time, My Music.


  • American Composers Orchestra
    George Manahan, Music Director and Conductor
  • The Crossing
    Donald Nally, Conductor
    Margaret Kampmeier, Piano
    Stephen Gosling, Piano
    Mark DeChiazza, Filmmaker
    Mark Andrews, Cinematographer


  • TED HEARNE Ripple (NY Premiere)
  • LISA RENÉE COONS Vera's Ghosts (World Premiere)
  • DAVID LANG statement to the court (NY Premiere)
  • AMY BETH KIRSTEN strange pilgrims (film by Mark DeChiazza) (World Premiere)
  • STEVE REICH Eight Lines

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • American Composers Orchestra

    Now in its 37th 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 as well as those lesser-known; and increases regional, national, and international awareness of the infinite variety of American orchestral music, reflecting geographic, stylistic, and temporal diversity. 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 700 American composers, including nearly 300 world premieres and newly commissioned works.

    George Manahan

    In his fourth 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. In addition to his work with ACO this season, Manahan continues his commitment to working with young musicians as director of orchestral studies at the Manhattan School of Music and as guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music.

    Manahan served as music director at New York City Opera for 14 seasons. There he helped envision the organization's groundbreaking VOX Contemporary Opera Lab, a series of workshops and readings that provided unique opportunities for numerous composers to hear their new concepts realized, and introduced audiences to exciting new compositional voices. In addition to established composers such as Mark Adamo, David Del Tredici, Lewis Spratlan, Robert X. Rodriguez, Lou Harrison, Bernard Rands, and Richard Danielpour, Manahan has introduced works by composers on the rise, including Adam Silverman, Elodie Lauten, Mason Bates, and David T. Little. Among his many world premieres are Charles Wuorinen's Haroun  and  the  Seaof  Stories, David Lang's modern  painters, and the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour's Margaret  Garner.

    In May 2011, Manahan was honored by ASCAP for his "career-long advocacy for American composers and the music of our time." Last season, he was awarded the Alice M. Ditson Conductor's Award for his outstanding commitment to the work of emerging composers.

    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  theElms, Joe Jackson's Will  Power, Tobias Picker's Emmeline, and several digital albums of emerging composers with ACO.

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  • The Crossing

    The Crossing is a 24-member professional chamber choir dedicated to new music. Formed by a group of friends in 2006, the ensemble was the resident choir of the 2007 Spoleto Festival in Italy, and has since expanded such collaborations to include the Miller Theatre of Columbia University in the American premiere of James Dillon's Nine Rivers with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Bang on a Can's first Philadelphia Marathon, Network for New Music, Lyric Fest, Piffaro, red fish blue fish, Tempesta di Mare Baroque Chamber Orchestra, PRISM Quartet, Toshimaru Nakamura, Dolce Suono Ensemble, and this past summer, The Rolling Stones. The Crossing is the recipient of a 2012 Knight Foundation Challenge Grant. The choir frequently commissions works and has presented many world premieres; current projects include commissions with John Luther Adams, Ted Hearne, Joel Puckett, Toivo Tulev, and Gavin Bryars. In 2013, the ensemble released two recordings on Innova Recordings: Christmas Daybreak with world premiere recordings of James MacMillan and Gabriel Jackson; and I want to live, which features David Lang's complete choral works for women. In 2014, The Crossing makes its Walt Disney Concert Hall debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The Crossing's concerts are broadcast on WRTI, Philadelphia's classical music radio station.

    Donald Nally

    Donald Nally is the conductor of The Crossing, director of choral organizations at Northwestern University, and chorus master of the Chicago Bach Project. He has held distinguished tenures as chorus master for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Spoleto Festival USA, and for many seasons at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He has served as artistic director of Cincinnati's Vocal Arts Ensemble and the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, and is the recipient of the Margaret Hillis Award for Excellence in Choral Excellence. Among the many ensembles Nally has guest conducted are the State Choir Latvija in Riga, the Grant Park Chorus in Chicago, the Philharmonic Chorus of London, and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. His ensembles have sung with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Pennsylvania Ballet, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, and International Contemporary Ensemble. His work is heard on numerous recordings on the Chandos, Navona, and Innova record labels. In 2012, Nally received both the Westminster Choir College Alumni Merit Award and the 2012 Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal from Chorus America. His book, Conversations with Joseph Flummerfelt, was published in 2011.

    Margaret Kampmeier

    Pianist Margaret Kampmeier enjoys a varied career as soloist, collaborative artist, and educator. Since receiving her doctorate at Stony Brook University, she has performed in hundreds of concerts, premiered numerous works, and recorded extensively. Kampmeier is a founding member of the New Millennium Ensemble, winners of the Naumburg Competition, and performs regularly with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared with The St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, The MET Chamber Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Colorado and Cassatt quartets, Sherman Chamber Ensemble, Saratoga Chamber Players, Richardson Chamber Players, and Peter Schickele. She has also performed with many new music ensembles, including Sequitur, Newband, Speculum Musicae, and Musicians' Accord. Kampmeier has presented workshops on contemporary techniques and music of women composers, and currently teaches piano at Princeton University. She joined the faculty of Manhattan School of Music in the fall of 2012 as a coach in the Contemporary Performance Program.

    Stephen Gosling

    Energetically committed to the music of our time, pianist Stephen Gosling is a member of the New York New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Sospeso, Columbia Sinfonietta, and Ne(x)tworks. He is additionally a frequent guest with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Riverside Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Speculum Musicae, Ensemble 21, Absolute Ensemble, Continuum, and S.E.M. Ensemble.

    Gosling moved to New York from England at age 18 to study with Oxana Yablonskaya at The Juilliard School, where his awards included the Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music and the Sony Elevated Standards Fellowship. At Juilliard, he was also featured as concerto soloist an unprecedented four times. He has performed with the New Juilliard Ensemble, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Summergarden programs at MoMA, Chamber Music Society's A Great Day in New York festival; and at Zankel Hall's inaugural concert. Some of the many composers whose works Gosling has performed include Xenakis, Ligeti, Brian Schober, Augusta Read Thomas, and Babbitt. Gosling has made more than 30 recordings for the Albany, Bridge, Capstone, Centaur, CRI, Innova, Koch, Mode, Morrison Music Trust, Naxos, New World, and Rattle record labels.

    Mark DeChiazza

    Mark DeChiazza is a director and filmmaker exploring expressive and kinetic possibilities in the presentation of new music. DeChiazza's three-screen video installation for SOLI Chamber Ensemble, Prelude to the End-the most recent of his ongoing series of collaborations with composer Steve Mackey-premiered at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio in May 2012. He also created staging and films for It Is Time, a Carnegie Hall commission for Mackey performed by So Percussion that was streamed on NPR Music and released as a DVD in September 2011 on Cantaloupe Music. He also directed and created video projections for Slide, composed by Mackey and performed by Rinde Eckert with Grammy-winning new music ensemble eighth blackbird. In March 2012 at Princeton's McCarter Theatre, he developed and directed two new chamber operas: Lear on the 2nd Floor by Anthony Davis with a libretto by Allan Havis, and Weakness by Barbara White. His 2009 production of Pierrot lunaire for eighth blackbird and soprano Lucy Shelton continues to tour and was performed in April at the Kennedy Center. With Susan Marshall, DeChiazza composed site-specific performances for Asphalt Orchestra as part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors 2010 and for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In collaboration with Andrew Robinson, he conceived and directed Unpack the Elephant, Asphalt's touring theatrical show. Other directing credits include Philip Glass's choral work Another Look at Harmony at the Park Avenue Armory, composer Barbara White's staged concert Desire Lines at Princeton University, and Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking at PlayMakers Repertory Company. DeChiazza was a member of Susan Marshall and Company from 1993 to 2004.

    Mark Andrews

    Mark Andrew has worked for more than two decades as an art, fashion, and commercial photographer. His ability to capture the unguarded essence of the people in front of his lens has made him the choice of leading national publications, agencies, and commercial clients. He has photographed sports stars, top models, film actors, musicians, and American presidents, but finds a special poetry in everyday people and ordinary life. His photographs have been exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

    Also a filmmaker, Andrews's short film Nate and Vinnie is currently on the festival circuit. A Colloquy With God, a music video work commissioned by New York Polyphony and featured on NPR Music, marked the beginning of his creative partnership with Mark DeChiazza; tonight's projected imagery for Amy Beth Kirsten's strange pilgrims is the second work they've produced together with more planned projects in development.

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Steve Reich's Eight Lines
London Steve Reich Ensemble

About the Program

Welcome to "Lines on a Point," which celebrates the 10th anniversary of Orchestra Underground, our subversive series that has redefined the orchestra with 70 cutting-edge premieres. The program takes as its inception point the music of one of the formative figures in minimalist music, Steve Reich, and extends off into an array of tangential musical lineages.

David Lang, Carnegie Hall's Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair, is one of the best-known composers from the generation immediately following Reich. His work integrates the freedom and rhythmic energy fundamental to Reich's music and delivers it to the rock generation. Audiences may remember Lang's previous two ACO premieres, but we're delighted to tip our hat tonight to Donald Nally and The Crossing for their foresight in commissioning David's statement to the court. The piece is dedicated to our good friend Fran Richard, the longtime director of ASCAP's concert music department and a tireless advocate for composers everywhere.

The Crossing also joins us for one of tonight's world premieres, a multimedia collaboration for voices, orchestra, and video by Amy Beth Kirsten and filmmaker Mark DeChiazza titled strange pilgrims. Amy is an alumna of ACO's 2012 Underwood Readings. She and Mark have created "a meditation on the process of discovery and its relationship to the spirit." The choir sings unaccompanied in Ted Hearne's New York premiere of Ripple. Hearne is part of the upstart generation of Brooklynite composers who explosively combines experimental, rock, and classical sources. Our second world premiere is by Lisa Renée Coons, a young composer and experimental sound artist. Vera's Ghosts embraces choreographic and gestural possibilities of the orchestra in an exploration of dementia and lucidity.

ACO's events this spring extend to further tangents. "Border Vanguards" celebrates jazz and Latin-American influences on April 4; the Underwood New Music Readings, ACO's 24th annual round-up of the country's brightest young and emerging composers, arrives June 6 and 7.

Thank you for joining us.

—Derek Bermel, ACO Artistic Director, and George Manahan, ACO Music Director
Program Notes
David Lang is the holder of the 2013–2014 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.
This performance is part of American Composers Orchestra.

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