AFCM has a long tradition of including contemporary works in our programs. Beginning in the 80’s, we heard new works that we found beautiful and exciting. We noticed that composers were returning to tonality, melody (in a very broad sense of the term), a strong feeling of form and structure, while still producing decidedly original and contemporary music.
We decided that we wanted to be part of this renaissance and started our commissioning program in 1995. Continuing our tradition of maintaining a close working relationship with our audience, we invited audience members to participate by sponsoring each new work. Sometimes an individual or a couple has underwritten a piece. Sometimes a group has formed for the specific purpose of sponsorship. We are very grateful to all of our sponsors. And they have found great joy in the enterprise.
We choose composers carefully, based on applications and on recommendations. We listen to their works and evaluate how a new work would fit into our programming. We consult extensively with musicians, audience members, the artistic director of our festival, and other composers.
Our contract with composers limits the length of new works to 20 minutes. We ask composers to conduct a seminar with students of the Dept. of Composition at the UA School of Music.
We aim to present new music that will challenge, yet interest and please our audience.
This year we are looking forward to the premiere of our 50th commissioned work. Five more are already scheduled. Four of them have full sponsorship. The last one, a String Quartet by the famed composer, Gunther Schuller, is still available for partial sponsorship.
The premieres have been marvelous occasions, usually with the composer in attendance. The audience appreciates meeting a living composer. Many of the works have now entered the repertoire and are widely played and recorded. Raimundo Penaforte’s Piano Trio, “An Eroica Trio”, has been played hundreds of times all over the world – in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, New Zealand. Sylvie Bodorova’s “Quintet for Harp and Strings” has had many chamber performances, TV and radio performances, and, in an orchestral version, many orchestral performances. Bodorova will bring us a new work this coming season. One recent piece, Pierre Jalbert’s “Secret Alchemy” for piano and string quartet, premiered in March 2012, was published by Schott (the publisher of Mozart) within two months.
You can listen to every premiere performance here. (See Videos and Composer links, an outstanding and unique online resource for contemporary music.)
The sponsors of a new composition are acknowledged on the score, in the program and on the CD insert if a CD is printed.
We ask individuals or groups to contribute a minimum of $2500.
If you are interested in sponsoring or co-sponsoring a commission, please contact us.