American Century Music is dedicated to celebrating the works of 20th-century American classical composers through performance and education.
American Century Music collaborates with a wide array of artists, ensembles, and cultural institutions in the United States and abroad. Critically acclaimed conductor Scott Parkman, who serves as Artistic and Executive Director, founded American Century Music in 2010.
American Century Music has performed over 70 works by American composers such as Amy Beach, Charles Griffes, Roy Harris, Walter Piston, David Diamond, Elliott Carter, and Philip Glass in repertoire ranging from solo instrument to full orchestra. American Century Music programs have received praise from critics and audiences for their thoughtful design and high-quality performances.
American Century Music has engaged distinguished musicians and ensembles, including the Lydian String Quartet, Calyx and Claremont Trios, Florestan Recital Project, violinist Curtis Macomber, and pianist Virginia Eskin. Concerts have taken place at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, St. Louis Art Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, and venues throughout greater Boston. Mr. Parkman has also led orchestras in American Century Music repertoire in Australia, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and in June 2013 during a two-week residency at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute.
Mr. Parkman is expanding American Century Music’s reach through the recent launch of ACM Radio, a free, streaming Internet radio station accessible through its website. ACM Radio features a monthly playlist of commercially available recordings, as well as American Century Music produced podcasts and educational programs.
Taken together, American Century Music’s activities weave a narrative about the numerous currents, opinions, and compositional voices that went into shaping American classical music – and its contributions to the country’s cultural life – during The American Century.
Iconic American publisher Henry Luce coined the phrase “The American Century” in a 1941 Life magazine editorial intended to wake the nation from its isolationism and to summon it to a new role among the world’s leading nations. Now in the second decade of the 21st century, we have the perspective to see that much of what Henry Luce and others advocated during the 20th Century about America’s international role in fact came to fruition. Paraphrasing from Luce’s essay, by the close of the 20th Century Hollywood movies, American television, American slang, American machines and products were recognized in every community in the world.
What has never been examined in significant depth, either at home or internationally, is America’s art music. During the same period as the flourishing of American jazz, Hollywood, television and fast food, American composers writing music derived from European structural and theoretical models were composing major works for solo instruments, chamber ensemble, orchestra, chorus and opera, all of which would come to be recognized as containing an “American Voice.”
The amount of repertoire from these composers is enormous and, with few exceptions, seldom heard. With over a hundred composers and multiple hundreds of compositions amongst them, American Century Music was created to fill a vacuum in America’s cultural fabric by bringing these inspired, well-crafted works out of their obscurity with committed, insightful performances which they unquestionably deserve.