American Composers Orchestra invites applications and nominations for the position of President, available in early 2017.
Now in its 39th season, American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is the only orchestra in the world dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers.
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. 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 800 American composers, including more than 350 world premieres and newly commissioned works.
In pursuit of its singular mission, ACO maintains an unparalleled range of activities, including an annual concert series at Carnegie Hall, commissions, recordings, radio broadcasts, educational programs, new music reading sessions, composer residencies and fellowships, as well as special projects designed to advance the field. Composer Derek Bermel serves as Artistic Director of American Composers Orchestra; conductor George Manahan is Music Director.
The idea to create ACO originated in 1975 with composer Francis Thorne and conductor Dennis Russell Davies. With Davies as principal conductor and music advisor, the orchestra was assembled from New York’s top musicians with experience in contemporary music and held its inaugural concert in February 1977 at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. ACO moved to its current home at Carnegie Hall for its 10th Anniversary Season. More recently, ACO has developed Orchestra Underground, an experimental series designed for Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. The series challenges conventional notions about symphonic music, embracing multidisciplinary and collaborative work, novel instrumental and spatial orientation of musicians, new technologies, and multi-media.
American Composers Orchestra’s commissioning program is widely acknowledged as the leading program of its kind and has generated 250 commissions to date. ACO has provided many composers with their first orchestral commissions, among them Ellen Taafe Zwilich and Joseph Schwantner, both of whom received the Pulitzer Prize for their ACO-commissioned work. ACO commissions an average of eight new works per season. Current commissions place emphasis on emerging composers, experimental work, and eclectic influences.
In recent years, ACO has produced a number of extraordinary initiatives featuring concerts, commissions, master classes, symposia, community dialogues, and professional development activities ranging from festivals that attract leading contemporary music ensembles from across the country to perform in multiple venues throughout New York City, to programs like EarShot that take ACO’s signature New Music Reading Sessions to orchestras and audiences all across the country.
ACO performances have been broadcast on American Public Radio, National Public Radio, Voice of America, and WQXR’s Q2 Music. An audio initiative with InstantEncore.com has made Orchestra Underground programs available worldwide. ACO has 25 recordings available on various labels and produced the world’s first free streaming album of music for video and orchestra. A recipient of an unprecedented 36 ASCAP awards, ACO has been singled out by ASCAP as “the orchestra that has done the most for new American music in the United States.”
American Composers Orchestra is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors of 29 and has a full- and part-time administrative staff of eight. Twenty-five distinguished composers serve as composer advisors. A collective bargaining agreement with AFM Local 802 governs the employment of orchestra musicians. The 2016-17 operating budget is $1.6M.
The President is the chief executive officer of American Composers Orchestra and reports to the Board of Directors through the Chairman. S/he provides the leadership and vision that enables the ACO to fulfill its mission and achieve its artistic, financial, and organizational goals.
The President is responsible and accountable for all aspects of ACO’s operations, including: artistic administration; financial management; fundraising; marketing; audience development; public relations and promotion; concert production; human resources; education; and community engagement.
The President engages, supervises, motivates, and evaluates a high caliber professional staff. Working with the Chairman, s/he helps to identify and recruit potential members of the governing board. S/he ensures that the Board and its committees have timely and accurate information to support their decision-making. The President manages the business of ACO. S/he oversees the preparation of the annual operating budget and monitors performance against budget.
The President takes a leadership role in fundraising. S/he actively identifies, cultivates, and solicits gifts from all sources. S/he provides guidance and support to the fundraising efforts of the Board. S/he ensures that the systems and procedures are in place for the proper acknowledgement and stewardship of gifts and for compliance with grant requirements and applicable laws.
The President works in close partnership with the Artistic Director in evaluating existing activities and designing new programs that achieve and advance ACO’s mission. S/he develops partnerships and collaborations with organizations both locally and nationally to promote awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the American orchestral repertoire and the artists who create that repertoire. S/he utilizes media and technology to expand the reach of ACO’s work on behalf of American music and composers throughout the world.
The President is the visible representative and spokesperson for ACO with the organization’s many stakeholders, community partners, and presenters. S/he actively participates in local, regional, and national organizations as an advocate for the work of ACO.