American Composers Orchestra at 40: from Copland and Bernstein to Prestini and Ogonek

Posted on: November 10, 2017

“In a 1977 talk, Aaron Copland complained that concerts by America’s orchestras were still frustratingly dominated by the ‘great works of the past,’ ” writes Anthony Tommasini in Wednesday’s (11/8) New York Times. “Copland addressed those comments that year to an audience at Alice Tully Hall before the inaugural concert of the American Composers Orchestra. On Tuesday night at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, a recording of Copland’s remarks was played before the American Composer Orchestra’s 40th Birthday Concert…. It began with a feisty, jazzy piece by Francis Thorne, ‘Fanfare, Fugue and Funk’ (1972). Mr. Thorne, the primary founder of the A.C.O., died in March at 94. His piece was conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, another founder of the ensemble…. Bernstein’s … Clarinet Sonata (1941-42) [was] performed.… The excellent clarinetist Derek Bermel brought warm colorings and moody reflectiveness to the solo part…. There were two recent works by younger women: Paola Prestini and Elizabeth Ogonek, conducted by George Manahan, the orchestra’s dynamic music director…. Speaking to the audience, Mr. Davies singled out seven players from the A.C.O. who took part in the ensemble’s inaugural 1977 concert, longtime warriors in the fight for American music.”

Posted November 10, 2017