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The American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is an American orchestra based in New York Citymarker. It is the only orchestra in the world dedicated solely to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers. Through its concerts at Carnegie Hallmarker and other venues, recordings, 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 500 American composers, including more than 100 world premieres and newly commissioned works.

The group was conceived in 1975 by Francis Thorne and Dennis Russell Davies, and gave its first performance in 1977.

Among the honors ACO has received are special awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and from BMI recognizing the orchestra’s outstanding contribution to American music. ASCAP has awarded its annual prize for adventurous programming 29 times, singling out ACO as “the orchestra that has done the most for new American music in the United States.” ACO received the inaugural METLife Award for Excellence in Audience Engagement, and a proclamation from the New York City Council. ACO recordings are available on ARGO, CRI, ECM, Point, Phoenix USA, MusicMasters, Nonesuch, Tzadik, and New World Records. More information about American Composers Orchestra is available online at

The orchestra gives an annual concert series at Carnegie Hall and at the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia. Its first concert was given on February 7, 1977 at Alice Tully Hallmarker at Lincoln Centermarker.

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