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Welcome to SONiC - Sounds of a New Century

It’s back! 

Heralded in its 2011 inauguration as “a brilliant and unpretentious showcase for music in the new millennium” (The Guardian), SONiC returns October 15-23, 2015. Fifteen years into the new millennium, the soundscape of our time is being re-invented by a new generation. With 80+ up-and-coming composers and over 20 world premieres in every conceivable style, SONiC continues as the most significant and startling display of what composers are up to now. SONiC doesn’t attempt to define this moment in music, but brings composers, performers and audiences together to explore the richness, vitality and diversity of the Sounds of a New Century.

We look forward to exploring the SONiC possibilities with you.

Thanks for joining us!
Derek Bermel, ACO Artistic Director & SONiC Curator
Anna Clyne, SONiC Associate Curator

SONiC is curated by ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel (main stage concerts) with Associate Curator Anna Clyne (AfterHours concerts), and is presented in collaboration with Carnegie Hall, Arts Brookfield, National Sawdust, Kaufman Music Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, DROM, ShapeShifter Lab, and Americas Society, with lead support from The Fromm Music Foundation and additional support from the Howard Gilman Foundation. Q2 Music, the new music online stream of WQXR, is the digital media partner for SONiC.

Praise for SONiC

"Over the past decade, a new generation of composers and performers has arisen, refusing to submit to genre boundaries or dusty ideological battles, jacking up the cool quotient on New York’s new-music scene. The SONiC Festival…aims to immerse audiences in this new paradigm." –Time Out New York

"A brilliant and unpretentious showcase for music in the new millennium"  –The Guardian

"Rarely has this city’s vibrant new-music scene produced an endeavor as ambitious as SONiC: Sounds of a Century."  –Musical America

Read about SONiC

Review: American Composers Orchestra Performs 21st Firsts (I Care If You Listen, 11/17/15)

Review: SONIC Festival’s sounds of a new century enthrall New York (Today's Zaman, 10/30/15)

Review: Sonic’s Final Sounds (, 10/23/15)

Review: Roomful of Teeth, Ted Hearne Sparkle at National Sawdust for ACO's SONiC Festival (Classicalite, 10/22/15)

Review: East Meets West in a New York Debut (The New York Times, 10/21/15)

Sonic Youth: A festival of composers under forty defies categorization (The New Yorker, 10/19/15)

Review: Roomful of Teeth, Making Nerdiness Cool (The New York Times, 10/19/15)

The SONiC Festival's Derek Bermel describes his New York City festival of 21st century music (Downtown Magazine, 10/13/15)

SONiC: A 21st Century Snapshot - essay by William Robin 

Press Release 

2015 Brochure



SONiC's Artistic Leadership

Derek Bermel, ACO Artistic Director & SONiC Curator
Derek Bermel is American Composers Orchestra's Artistic Director – the senior composer in ACO's artistic and programming leadership. Previously, Bermel served as ACO's Artistic Advisor, helping to launch ACO's innovative Orchestra Underground series. Bermel is also Director of Copland House's emerging composers institute Cultivate, served as Composer-in-Residence at the Mannes College of Music, and served for four years as Artist-in-Residence at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study.A Grammy-nominated composer and clarinetist, Bermel has been widely hailed for his creativity, theatricality, and virtuosity. His engagement with other musical cultures has become part of the fabric and force of his compositional language. He's recognized as a dynamic and unconventional curator of concert series that spotlight the composer as performer, and his work has been performed by major artists across the globe. He has received commissions from the Pittsburgh, National, Saint Louis, New Jersey, and Pacific Symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's New Century Chamber and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestras, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, WNYC Radio, eighth blackbird, the Guarneri and JACK String Quartets, Music from Copland House and Music from China, De Ereprijs (Netherlands), Midori, ASKO/Schoenberg Ensemble and Veenfabriek (Netherlands), among others. ACO has commissioned and premiered many of his orchestral works, including Elixir, The Migration Series, Voices, and A Shout, A Whisper, A Trace, and Bermel is an alumnus of ACO's New Music Readings program. His many honors include the Alpert Award in the Arts, Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, American Music Center's Trailblazer Award, and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; commissions from the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, Meet the Composer, and Cary Trust; and residencies at Yaddo, Tanglewood, Aspen, Banff, Bellagio, Copland House, Sacatar, and Civitella Ranieri. His discography features three critically-acclaimed discs: an all-Bermel orchestral recording that includes the Grammy-nominated performance of his clarinet concerto Voices, (BMOP/sound); Soul Garden, his small ensemble/solo music (New World/CRI); and his most recent disc, Canzonas Americanas, with Alarm Will Sound (Cantaloupe).

Anna Clyne, SONiC Associate Curator
Anna Clyne is a Grammy-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music, combining resonant soundscapes with propelling textures that weave, morph, and collide in dramatic explosions. Her work, described as «dazzlingly inventive» by Time Out New York, often includes collaborations with cutting edge choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians worldwide. Clyne is an alumna of ACO's annual new music readings for emerging composers. Her piece Tender Hooks, for orchestra, electronics and computer-generated graphics, was commissioned by ACO as part of its inaugural Playing It UNsafe R&D lab for experimental new music. Highlights for the 15-16 season include a new work for 100 cellos, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, to be premiered at the Hollywood Bowl; This Lunar Beauty for the Britten Sinfonia with soprano Anna Dennis; a U.S. premiere by the Seattle Symphony; and a new orchestral ballet for the Cabrillo Festival with conductor Marin Alsop. Appointed by Music Director Riccardo Muti, Clyne served as a Mead Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2010-2015, and is currently Composer-in-Residence for the Orchestre National d'Ile de France.

Contact Us

American Composers Orchestra
244 West 54th Street, Ste 805
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212.977.8495

Jensen Artists
Christina Jensen, President
Phone: 646.536.7864 ext. 1

Lead support for the SONiC Festival is provided by:

Major support for SONiC is provided by:

Q2 Music is the digital media partner for SONiC

Additional support for SONiC is provided by: