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About Ford Made in America

In 2001 an entrepreneurial group of smaller-budget orchestra leaders were searching for a way to commission a nationally renowned composer. To pool their resources, they formed a unique consortium which eventually grew to include 65 orchestras, including at least one from each of the 50 states. Ford Made in America is the result of their efforts: it is the largest known orchestra consortium, creating a national network through which each participating orchestra has access to resources that would never be available to an orchestra of its size on its own. The program exemplifies the vitality of America's orchestras and composers, a spirit of partnership, and a commitment to creativity.

Ford Made in America is spearheaded by two national music service organizations: the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet The Composer , whose combined national expertise will guide consortium members throughout the duration of the program. Each participating orchestra contributes to the commissioning fund and, in turn, performs the new work during the premiere season.

Ford Made in America is made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund. Major support is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional funding from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, JPMorgan Chase, Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, and The Amphion Foundation.

Joan Tower, the first composer selected for the program, has been described by The Detroit News as "among the most original and forceful voices in modern American music." Her new work, entitled Made in America, uses the theme of  "America the Beautiful" as the departure point for a unique musical journey that is original yet familiar. Premiering in October 2005 in Glens Falls, New York, Made in America will be performed by consortium members through March 2007, with more than 70 performances in all 50 states.

Ford Made in America is more than just a performance of one piece, however. Each participating orchestra has been equipped with a "tool kit" which provides tips for maximizing local fund raising, marketing, and promotion efforts that specifically address new music. Education lesson plans in the tool kit serve as the basis for developing distinctive community-based programs. Technical support is available from Ford Made in America project managers. Orchestras also have the opportunity to learn from each other and share collective wisdom about their experiences, forging new connections within the industry.

In the end, Ford Made in America achieves two major goals: One, more new music is performed and commissioned by orchestras nationwide. Two, new music becomes the catalyst for effecting institutional growth in each orchestra through the joint efforts of the consortium.