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ACM – Association for Contemporary Music

ACM – Association for Contemporary Music
Chairman – Victor Ekimovsky
The organisation bearing such a name made its first appearance in 1923. It brought together well-known composers Alexander Mossolov, Nikolai Roslavets, Gavriil Popov, Vladimir Scherbachev, Dmitry Shostakovich and others. The ACM members' creative endeavours were based on new musical thinking, questing in the sphere of the language and technique. The main aim set by the Association was - as its Manifesto ran - the broadest acquaintance with the latest musical compositions by authors of all trends, both in the USSR and abroad.
ACM attained thorough successes in popularisation of music, but nevertheless it was short-lived. - in 1931 Soviet government qualified it as “a medley of musicians alien to proletarian ideology” and soon it was abolished. But the music of composers of the 1920s, the ACM members, stayed on in history as “the era of Russian musical avant-garde”.
This layer of our musical culture was deleted from Soviet art for several decades and practically forgotten. Revival of the traditions of Russian avant-garde began only in the second half of the 1950s-1960s, and it is linked with the names of our composers Edison Denisov, Alfred Shnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, and some others, now well-known all over the world. In 1970s-1980s the school acquired steadfast followers, who actively developed new ideas. An energetic group of young composers was built up and in January 1990 the group proclaimed itself as the union of like-minded persons. So, that was the second birth of the name of “Association for Contemporary Music” in the history of Russian music, and this union of like-minded persons announced itself to be the successor of the ACM-1 ideas.
The new ACM's efficient musical-enlightening activities during more than fifteen years of its existence, under the chairmanship of Edison Denisov (until 1996) and Victor Ekimovsky (since 1996) have won recognition not only in Russia but also all over the world. Supported by the Moscow and Russia Composers Union, ACM has become a true centre of Russian contemporary music. ACM regularly stages concerts in Moscow and other cities of the country, featuring Russian and foreign music of the XX century, with the number of the concerts running into dozens every year.
Programs of such concerts, apart from the classics of the past century, invariably include compositions by our leading composers of the second half of the XX century such as Shnittke, Denisov, Gubaidulina, Silvestrov, as well as now well-known representatives of the next generation, such as A.Vustin, F. Karayev, V. Tarnopolsky, Yu. Kasparov, V. Martynov. Moreover, these programs also feature music by legendary “forefathers” of Western avant-garde – Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Yannis Xenakis, Henri Pousser and a number of other no less eminent authors came to Moscow for their ACM-arranged recitals.
ACM can boast of having organised a great number of major international festivals. Here are just a few examples from the recent past – 1997 – “Post-avant-garde passion” (six recitals of composers Frederic Rzewski, Michael Finnissy, Tom Johnson, Liviu Danceanu, Alvin Lucier, Laszlo Sari and their “live” meeting with the Moscow musical public); 1998 – Festival-Conference “Music of Russian Diaspora” ( six concerts made of compositions by Russian Diaspora composers- either little known or forgotten); 2000 – “Festival For ACM's Tenth Anniversary”, that won the RF President's grant (performed in two symphonic and four chamber concerts were ACM members' compositions specially written for the given action).
ACM repeatedly took part in festivals abroad, with a weighty contribution to some of them – more than ten ACM members were invited to the Sergei Prokofiev Festival, held in Germany in 1991, and they had their several compositions performed there. (By the way, the international Paul Hindemith prize was awarded and presented to the Association for its services in popularization of contemporary music). The Festival Radio-France Presence, held in Paris in 1993, was devoted to Russian music. It was based practically entirely on music by ACM composers.
ACM had its special concerts at the festivals in Frankfurt (1991, 1992 and 1993), in Vienna (1991, 1998), Zurich (1992, 1994 and 1996), and at other festivals. Special mention should be made of two major events in London (1999) – “Bicentenary of Russian music” and in Berne (1999) – “Russian music of the 20th century”; the ACM music, which was represented in a broad spectrum, keynoted the concert programs. And, finally, amid the latest events is the festival “Icebreaker” in Seattle (USA, February 2002), prepared jointly by Russian and American musicians. It was devoted exclusively to the ACM music..