New York City’s SONiC Festival Brings 21st Century Compositions to Life With Style

November 1st, 2011

New York City’s American Composers Orchestra presented its inaugural Sounds of New Century (SONiC) Festival October 14th– 22nd. The festival included performances of works by over 100 composers age 40 and under at various venues throughout New York City.

Composer Derek Bermel and pianist Stephen Gosling co-curated the 9-day event that began at Zankel Hall with a performance by the ACO featuring five of new pieces under the direction of conductor George Manahan. Throughout the festival, orchestras and ensembles also took up stage space at many different venues all over Manhattan, including the Miller Theater at Columbia University, The Stone, Symphony Space, Roulette and more. In total, 16 extraordinary performances featuring at least 18 world premieres, eight US premieres, and eight New York premieres were showcased.

The American Contemporary Orchestra premiered new compositions at the World Financial Center October 22nd

The SONiC festival concluded on Saturday with a free symphony concert at the World Financial Center in the Winter Garden atrium. Once again, ACO Music Director George Manahn led the orchestra as they premiered a number of new compositions by Ruby Fulton, Paul Yeon Lee, Bryce Dessner, Ryan Gallagher, Andrew Norman and Suzanne Farin. This final performance was hosted by John Schaefer and presented on WNYC’s New Sounds Live.

Q2 Music, New York Public Radio’s Internet radio station will broadcast audience favorites in a special program dedicated to SONiC. Notably, the festival made great use of ipads at performances to collect votes in real-time from audiences, in addition to distributing a smart phone app to audiences for off-site voting.

For further information on the festival,  visit