All About the New York Composers Circle
The NEW YORK COMPOSERS CIRCLE is an artistic and educational organization dedicated to new music — its creation, its performance, and the development of new audiences. Its members and supporters are composers, performers, and music lovers. Its activities include concerts of new music (currently as many as eight each season), monthly salons at which composers play and discuss new works and works in progress for fellow members and guests and hear talks by various members of the new-music community, an annual competition open only to nonmembers, and a program of outreach concerts to benefit the broader community and to attract new concert audiences.
Inspired by a workshop at the American Music Center, Jacob E. Goodman founded the New York Composers Circle in the spring of 2002 as an association of composers meeting regularly to play their music for one another. It soon became apparent that we had the artistry and commitment to present our music before an audience. In May 2003, the NYCC produced its first public concert at Saint Peter’s Church, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici along with eleven of the NYCC’s original members. This well-attended concert was favorably reviewed in the New Music Connoisseur.
Under the continued leadership of Debra Kaye, subsequently of John de Clef Piñeiro, and more recently of Richard Brooks and Hubert S. Howe, the NYCC’s membership has more than quadrupledsince its inception, and the number of its concerts has increased correspondingly, from one or two per year, to more than five per year. In the 2004-05 season, award-winning composer Ezra Laderman joined members of the NYCC in its spring concert, and subsequently was elected as an Honorary Member. In addition to its own two concerts, in March, 2006, the NYCC presented a joint concert with the performing ensemble Modern Works, presenting a piece by NYCC Honorary Member John Eaton. During the following season we collaborated with New York University in our first concert at NYU’s Frederick Loewe Theatre, and in December of 2008, the NYCC celebrated the 100th birthday of its most renowned Honorary Member, Elliott Carter, in an all-woodwind concert performance at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, which also showcased the talents of and marked the NYCC’s debut collaboration with the Sylvan Winds woodwind quintet. In March 2010 we collaborated with the Italian “No Borders” Quartet in presenting a program of works by American and Italian composers, in honor of John Eaton’s 75th birthday that was performed both in this country and in Italy. We continue to seek out and initiate joint projects with performing ensembles in both the U.S. and foreign countries. In 2018 we added a new collaborative effort with the Birmingham Art Music Alliance (BAMA) from Birmingham, Alabama and began a concert exchange with composers of that organization during the 2018-2019 season. And in the 2019-2020 season, we launched an exchange of programming with a collective of composers in Moscow through a connection with Russian composer Anton Rovner.
In the summer of 2007 the NYCC held the first of its annual Composer's Competitions, open only to non-members. The prize in each competition has been a year’s free membership in the Composers Circle and a performance of the winning work on the final concert of the following season. Each year brings an increasing number of scores and potential new members. In 2015 the competition was named the John Eaton Memorial Competition in honor of our former Honorary Member, the late John Eaton.
In 2010 the NYCC issued a call for scores to be auditioned and discussed at our monthly salons. The call for scores resides permanently in several locations, and brings potential new members to our salons to present a work of theirs — either live or on a recording. This process has resulted in bringing in a number of new members.
Several seasons ago the NYCC launched a new outreach initiative — the New York Composers Circle Community Encores program. We send performers and composers out to institutions throughout New York City, such as schools and senior centers, at no cost to the institution, with the aim of acquainting previously untapped audiences with concert music of the 20th and 21st centuries. The first free outreach concert in this series took place to great audience acclaim on February 24, 2009 at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale, New York; composer Nataliya Medvedovskaya presented a program of piano works introduced by our then Executive Director, John de Clef Piñeiro. So far we have presented ten community outreach concerts, with the most recent under the sponsorship of NYCC contributors, and the list of schools and senior centers is growing. Please see the Outreach Program page for more details, and to learn how you can contribute to the organization in support of this worthwhile project.
The New York Composers Circle is an artistic and educational organization of composers and performers dedicated to new music, whose mission is to promote public awareness and appreciation of contemporary music through concerts, salons, and other events in the New York metropolitan area. The NYCC assists composers in the creation of newconcert works of all genres, arranges for their performance, and offers its resources toward the development and education of new audiences for new music.