To increase opportunities for composers by fostering the creation, performance, dissemination, and appreciation of their music.
Accomplished composer John Duffy established Meet The Composer in 1974 as a project of the New York State Council on the Arts to raise the profile of the profession and help composers make a living writing music. With a budget of $54,000, the organization launched its first program — the Meet The Composer Fund — to enable composers to participate actively in performances of their work through performing, conducting, speaking with audiences, presenting workshops, giving interviews, and coaching rehearsals. MTC has expanded over the years, working with thousands of artistic and civic organizations, to help provide new music in rural communities, small towns, suburban centers, and urban neighborhoods nationwide. It has supported projects ranging from major symphonic pieces and full-length operas to works for jazz ensemble and music for theater projects. At the same time, MTC has revolutionized the environment for composers by creating new opportunities and establishing broadly accepted standards of payment.
In addition to the Meet The Composer Fund, the organization operates several other programs that support the creation of new work, direct contact between composers and audiences, collaborations among composers and other artists, and educational programs focused on composing. Its New Residencies program brings together performing organizations, such as orchestras, jazz ensembles, and theater companies, and community-based organizations, including neighborhood centers, schools, and churches, to work with a resident composer for three years. In addition to writing pieces that celebrate local culture, the composer teaches, organizes cultural events, and promotes local heritage. Another MTC residency program, Music Alive, allows orchestras of all sizes to recruit a composer to help prepare for the performance of his or her work.
Other MTC programs include Compose Yourself, which taps the expertise of composers for the development and implementation of music in K-12 curriculum. Finally, the Commissioning Music/USA program, which is a joint project of MTC and the National Endowment for the Arts, supports nonprofit performing and presenting organizations that wish to commission new works.
MTC is frequently recognized for the excellence of its programs. It has received the New York State Governor's Award, the Business Committee for the Arts Award, the Arts and Business Council's Encore Award, and the American Symphony Orchestra League's prestigious Gold Baton Award.
In addition to providing information about its programs, the MTC Web site includes interviews with composers who have worked with the organization, audio files of their music, and links to various composers' Web sites and music and arts groups nationwide. The site also features Commissioning Music: A Basic Guide (4 pages, PDF) and applications for various programs, including Commissioning Music/USA (16 pages, PDF), which must be submitted to MTC by January 15, 2003, for consideration next year.
MTC receives support from many foundations, corporations, individual patrons, and government sources, including the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Target Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.