Launched in 2017, ACF | connect provides opportunities for composers to build relationships with leading American ensembles to create new work, reach new audiences, and engage with new communities. The inaugural group was the celebrated Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (PNME) and the second cycle has featured Roomful of Teeth, who will perform their premieres on August 23, 2019 at MASSMoCA as part of their tenth anniversary celebration. Through this program, composers are offered competitive commission fees, and have significant time to both work with performers and participate in learning/networking opportunities with industry professionals. Ensembles are able to connect to a broader composer community and invite applicants from a national call. Consistent with the mission of the American Composers Forum, the program supports meaningful, long-lasting connections between composers, performers, audiences, and the local community where the ensemble is based. The program intentionally supports a diversity of voices and music to advance creative musical expression as a core value of a global society. ACF | connect ensures a vibrant future for composers and their work by supporting their vision and creativity, and by pairing them with performers and audiences in traditional and innovative spaces and media.
2019/2020 ACF | connect
For the 2019/2020 ACF CONNECT program we are partnering with the internationally renowned Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians™ (AACM), unparalleled contributors to modern music and inspirational leader within the cultural community since 1965. ACF partners with the ACCM and the Great Black Music Ensemble to celebrate the AACM’s 55th Anniversary!
The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Inc. (AACM), Great Black Music Ensemble (GBME) features some of Chicago’s most visionary artists of improvisation and creative music. An intergenerational ensemble ranging in size from three to thirty musicians, the GBME carries on the legacy of Chicago’s South Side creative music by expressing the excitement of new sounds and rhythms while invigorating the traditions of Black music including funk, reggae, bebop, swing and African and Caribbean styles.
The AACM Great Black Music Ensemble has been in residence at the Rebuild Foundation and performs at the Arts Bank every first Sunday for the last two years. The ensemble has also been in residence at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago for the past two years, and performs regularly at the Chicago Park District Night Out in the Parks (NOIP). In 2018, the Ensemble gave two separate performances in the Chicago Jazz Festival. In September 2018, the GBME gave a performance at Co-Prosperity Sphere as part of the Chicago Overground Worldwide FM broadcast.
The American Composers Forum encourages applicants from the full range of musical styles, and is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists whose work demonstrates strong artistic merit. Accordingly, awards for our programs will represent, as far as possible, artists and projects that are diverse in genre, gender, race, ethnicity, and geography.
2019/2020 ACF | connect Participants
For the 2019/2020 ACF | connect program we are partnering with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) Great Black Music Ensemble – unparalleled contributors to the modern music scene and an inspirational leader in the Chicago community since 1965. The culminating premieres will take place in Chicago in Fall 2020 as part of the AACM’s 55th anniversary season.
*(Photo Credits L-R: Elizabeth Baker by Charlotte Suarez; Adegoke Steve Colson by Mikel Colson; Rudresh Mahanthappa by Ethan Levitas)
American Composers Forum’s ACF | connect program is made possible with the outstanding generosity of the following individuals: Jane Anfinson, Thomas Arneson, Suzanne Asher, Carol Barnett, Pearl and Bob Bergad, Margee and Will Bracken, Karen Brooks, Richard Cisek and Kay Fredericks, Dee Ann and Kent Crossley, Julia W. Dayton, C. Lee Essrig, Rosemary & David Good Family Foundation, Katherine Goodale, Jeff and Hyun Mee Graves, Mike and Kay McCarthy, Carol Heen, Steve Heitzeg and Gwen Pappas, Kathleen Henschel and John Dewes, Linda and Jack Hoeschler, Leaetta Hough and Bob Muschewske, Sam Hsu and Sally Cheng, Hella Mears Hueg Estate Gift, Thelma Hunter Estate Gift, John and Ruth Huss, George Frederick Jewett Foundation East, Art and Martha Kaemmer, Jon Lewis and Lisa Merklin, Greg McNeely, Alfred and Ann Moore, Louis and Gloria Nuechterlein, John Nuechterlein and Dan Monson, John and Debbie Orenstein, I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation in memory of Thelma Hunter, David and Judy Ranheim, Denice Rippentrop, Vanessa Rose, Bill and Susan Sands, Gale Sharpe, Doug and Kathy Skor, Dan and Ellie Thomas, Stephen and Jayne Usery, Kathleen van Bergen, Janika Vandervelde, Jim Wafler, and Margaret and Angus Wurtele
Three selected composers who will represent diverse periods of an artistic life will have an opportunity to work with the ensemble over 13 months, culminating in a performance in Chicago during Fall 2020 as part of the AACM’s 55th anniversary season. Selected composers will meet with industry leaders, new music professionals, and network with other composers and performers to create even more opportunities.
The American Composers Forum encourages applicants from the full range of musical styles, and is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists whose work demonstrates strong artistic merit. Accordingly, awards for our programs will represent, as far as possible, artists and projects that are diverse in genre, gender, race, ethnicity and geography.
Three composers from the total applicant pool will be selected to participate in this highly engaging program. Each composer will receive a $7,500 commission to write a piece for the Great Black Music Ensemble which will be work-shopped and performed by the ensemble in the Fall of 2020. Selected composers must be available in September 3 – 8, 2019 (Tuesday, September 3 & Sunday, September 8, 2019 are travel days) for introductory meetings to start working with AACM’s Great Black Music Ensemble and in Fall 2020 (Specific dates for Fall 2020 TBD) for workshops, rehearsals, and premiere performance.
COMPETITION DETAILS AND SCHEDULE:
- Entries must be submitted electronically via the link below on or before 11:59 pm (Central) on June 1, 2019.
- Entries submitted by mail or means other than electronically through SlideRoom will not be eligible for consideration.
- Applicants will be notified of their applicant status in August 2019 and the names of the winning composers will be announced by early September, 2019.
- Each will receive a $7,500 commission to write a work (final length to be discussed and determined with the Artistic Directors of the Great Black Music Ensemble), scored for the ensemble.
- If working in a score format, score and parts will be due on or before May 1, 2020
- Scores/parts created with music notation software are mandatory if working in a notated form (no handwritten materials are acceptable);
- Pieces using graphic notation are acceptable.
- The AACM’s Great Black Music Ensemble introduction workshop will be held September 4 – 7, 2019 (Tuesday, September 3 & Sunday, September 8, 2019 are travel days) and the public performance (which will be recorded for archival purposes), workshops with ACF and AACM’s Great Black Music Ensemble, and rehearsals will take place in the Fall of 2020 (Specific Date TBD). NOTE: participation in the workshops/performance is mandatory for the three composers in September 2019 & Fall of 2020.
- If working in a score format, score and parts will be due on or before May 1, 2020
- Each of the three composers will receive a commission in the amount of $7,500 plus housing, domestic transportation, and meals while attending the September 3 – 8, 2019 introductory workshops and the workshops, rehearsals, and performance in Fall of 2020.
Who May Enter:
- The American Composers Forum encourages applicants from the full range of musical styles and is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists whose work demonstrates strong artistic merit.
- Entries are invited from composers of all ages and stages in their artistic life.
- Applicant must be either a U.S. citizen or non-citizen lawfully and permanently residing, or studying full-time, in the United States.
- Travel will be provided to and from September 2019 & Fall of 2020 ACF CONNECT events from within the USA.
- Employees and board members of the American Composers Forum and their immediate family members may not enter the competition; and members of the Great Black Music Ensemble and their immediate family members are not eligible to enter.
- You do not have to be a member of the American Composers Forum to enter this contest.
- Composers selected for the 2017/2018 ACF CONNECT and the 2018/2019 ACF CONNECT programs are not eligible to apply for the 2019/2020 ACF CONNECT program.
HOW TO APPLY
There is no fee to enter the competition.
Complete the online application form, located here:
- Composer’s Personal Information (Questions 1 – 13): Name, Address, Phone, Email Address, Website, Demographic Information
- Artist’s statement (Question 14): (Character Limit 3,500 with spaces): The artist statement may take any of several directions, at your discretion: information about your background, the development of your work, your interests as an artist or your aesthetic position, your future artistic direction, or any other information you would like to present to the panel.
- Working with AACM’s Great Black Music Ensemble (Question 15): (Character Limit 3,500 with spaces) A brief description of your interest in writing a piece for the Great Black Music Ensemble.
- Three Musical Work Samples (Questions 16 – 45): Up to three audio/and or video work samples totaling no more than 12-minutes total of your music. The work samples you provide do not need to be for the instrumentation of the Great Black Music Ensemble. For each sample you will have the ability to list cue start and end times so that you can provide a complete work but point the panelists to specific areas of a longer work that you would like for them to review. There will be two rounds of adjudication. During the first round panelists will listen to three minutes of your first work sample (You can provide cue start and stop times). In the second round, panelists will listen to no more than 12-minutes of music between the three work samples submitted. Three work samples must be provided.
- Work Sample 1 makes the most critical impression on the panelists, and should represent your most distinctive and compelling musical example. Panelists will listen to three-minutes of this work in the first round. If you wish them to start at a cue point other than the beginning, please indicate the start time for the cue in Question Works Sample 1 – Cue Start Time.
- Work Sample 2 & 3 should be other works.
If you work in a notated format, provide PDFs of three scores (up to 10MB each) and web links to the corresponding audio or video. If the PDF of your score is larger than 10 MB, a space will be given for you to provide a web link to the lager file. Written scores are required unless they are inappropriate to your compositional style. For improvised performance, please clearly describe the nature of your involvement as the composer in the creation of the piece in a document uploaded or hosted in the link provided.
Provide web links to your musical samples (SoundCloud, YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, etc.). Make sure web links you provide in this application remain active and unchanged until September 30, 2019. If you do not wish for your work samples to be public, please make them unlisted so the committee will still have access.
- Members of the AACM will review submissions for the 2019/2020 ACF CONNECT program in consultation with ACF staff to determine the three selected composers.
- Applicants will be notified of their status in early August 2019, and selected composers will be announced in early September 2019.
Application Deadline, Award, and Information:
- Applications must be submitted electronically on or before 11:59 pm (Central) on
- All performance, copyright, and royalty rights of the finalists’ and the winning piece remain with the composers.
Great Black Music Ensemble’s Instrumentation for Fall 2020 Performance
Musician 1: Soprano, Alto, and Tenor Saxophones, Clarinet, and Percussion
Musician 2: Flute, Alto Flute, and Male Vocals
Musician 3: Flute, Bass Flute, and Acoustic Bass
Musician 4: Cornet and Electronics
Musician 5: All trombones
Musician 6: Acoustic Bass
Musician 7: Piano
Musician 8: Tenor Sax
Musician 9: Female Vocals
Musician 10: B-flat Trumpet, Flugelhorn, and Percussion
Musician 11: Drums
Musician 12: Electric Guitar
Musician 13: Congas and Bongos
Musician 14: Violin
Musician 15: Violin
Musician 16: Viola
Musician 17: Cello
For more information and inquiries contact:
William J. Lackey, DMA
Vice President of Programs
American Composers Forum
Office Phone: 651.251.2833
2017/2018 ACF | connect Participants
2018/2019 ACF | connect Participants