Current Production Season

Access Contemporary Music is committed to showcasing the exciting developments in contemporary classical music through program in Chicago, Milwaukee and New York, innovative collaborations, music in public spaces, the Sound of Silent Film Festival and our Composer Alive commissioning program.

Our artistic activities in 2022 include the Thirsty Ears Festival – our popular classical music street fest a works-in-progress series in Manhattan called Concept Lab, a collaboration with Chicago Fringe Opera, a collaboration with Iranian composer Armisha Samaminian as part of our Composer Alive program, and the seventeenth anniversary of our Sound of Silent Film Festival.

We’ll also be commissioning more new music inspired by architecture as part of our Songs About Buildings and Moods series, created in collaboration with Doors Open Milwaukee, Open House Chicago and Open House New York.

Proof of vaccination is required to attend any ACM event. All events will be available to stream afterward.


Composer Alive: Arshia Samsaminia
March 12, April 16, May 14
We’ve commissioned Iranian composer Arshia Samsaminia to write a new piece in three installments and our musicians will meet to record each installment as he writes them in an open session.

This gives the composer the chance to try out any idea and hear it in real time and the audience hears a piece created from first idea, through rewrites, to the final product.




Concept Lab
March 27, June 19, Sept. 25, Dec. 4
Concept Lab is an exciting new exploratory music series featuring works in progress, improvised works and collaborative and multi-disciplinary projects in all stages of completion.






 Sound of Silent Film Festival
April 30, 7:00 PM
ACM’s popular Sound of Silent Film Festival celebrates its seventeenth anniversary with an all-new show of modern silent films with newly commissioned scores performed live.  We received seventy submissions from around the world and narrowed them to the top ten.  Don’t miss the Sound of Silent Film Festival!





Composer Alive Album Release Party
June 24, 7:30 PM (Chicago)
We’re releasing an album of the wonderful music we’ve commissioned over the years as part of the Composer Alive program.  Each piece was created in close collaboration with our musicians and as such is music we care about deeply.  The album includes pieces by Xiaogang Ye, Gabriela Ortiz, Alexandre Lunsqui, Jane O’Leary, Will Rowe and Arshia Samsaminia.



Molto Tutti Student Film Festival Fundraiser
June 25, 5:00 PM
Forty of our student composers write new pieces, perform and record them and then produce an accompanying video! It’s magical.  We’ll present their work in the charming North Center Town Hall in an event that’s fun for the whole family.



Doors Open Milwaukee
September 29, 10:00 – 2:00
ACM partners with Historic Milwaukee to commission composers to write music inspired by landmark buildings in downtown Milwaukee for Doors Open.





Relevant Tones Live: Music and the Brain
October 8, 7:30 PM (New York)
A live-taped episode of our award-winning podcast Relevant Tones. The topic for this one is your brain on music. Music and speaker to be announced soon.



Open House Chicago (Virtual)
October 15-16
We’ll present videos from our Songs About Buildings and Moods project as part of this year’s Open House Chicago.



Open House New York (Virtual)
October 20 4:00 – 6:00
We’ll present two new videos from our Songs About Buildings and Moods project as part of this year’s Open House New York. They feature music inspired by the Pratt Institute Library and the Brooklyn Five and Dime Savings Bank.



La Jetée Opera Workshop (Chicago)
November 13, 8:30 PM
We’re partnering with Chicago Fringe Opera to produce open workshops of Seth Boustead and J. Robert Lennon’s opera La Jetée, an adaptation of the classic movie by Chris Marker and the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys.