New Music USA’s Amplifying Voices Announces First of Nine New Co-Commissioned Works to Premiere Spring-Summer 2022

By Chris Ruel

New Music USA Amplifying Voices program, which fosters collaboration toward racial and gender equity in new orchestral music, has announced the first of nine new co-commissioned works by women and BIPOC composers to be performed by over thirty orchestras across the United States. The orchestras will present the works over three years, from 2022 to 2025.

The first of the premieres kicks off with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Akiko Fujimoto, performing the inaugural concert featuring Tania León’s co-commissioned work, “Pasajes” (“Passages”) in Little Rock, Arkansas, on April 9-10.

Juan Pablo Contreras’ piece “MeChicano” will have its premiere by the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Music Director Donato Cabrera will conduct the work.

Performance date: May 7, 2022

The Aspen Music Festival and School will premiere Shelley Washington’s new work, “Both.” Ludovic Morlot will be on the podium.

Performance date: July 10, 2022

Tyshawn Sorey’s saxophone concerto for Timothy McAllister will have its premiere by the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra in Lucerne, Switzerland. Elena Schwarz conducts.

Performance date: Aug. 20, 2022

The complete list of participating orchestras is as follows:

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: Tania León, with co-commissioners the Auburn Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic, and National Symphony Orchestra

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival: Tyshawn Sorey, with additional co-commissioners to join

Berkeley Symphony: Brian Raphael Nabors, with co-commissioners Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, ROCO, and Seattle Symphony

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Jessie Montgomery (Sorel Fellow) with co-commissioners the Baltimore Symphony, Buffalo Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, and Seattle Symphony

Las Vegas Philharmonic: Juan Pablo Contreras, with co-commissioners California Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Tucson Symphony, and Richmond Symphony

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: Shelley Washington, with co-commissioners Aspen Music Festival and School, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Kansas City Symphony

Oregon Symphony: Vijay Iyer, with co-commissioners Boise Philharmonic, Fresno Philharmonic, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Las Vegas Philharmonic, and London Philharmonic

The Philadelphia Orchestra: Valerie Coleman, with co-commissioners the New World Symphony, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and San Diego Symphony Orchestra

YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles): Nina Shekhar (Sorel Fellow), with additional co-commissioners to join

In a press statement, Vanessa Reed, President and CEO of New Music USA, said, “The orchestras participating in Amplifying Voices are programming new music by some of the most talented composers in the US while recognizing that our musical canon will only evolve if these pieces are played more than once. I’m so pleased that this program gives more audiences across the country a chance to discover the power of these composers’ work as we all strive towards a more open and equitable future for classical music.”