TWA Hotel Commissions

The TWA Terminal at JFK is considered one of Eero Saarinen’s masterworks. Built at the dawn of commercial air travel, it was conceived as a grand monument to aviation and technological progress. After TWA went out of business in 2001 the building sat empty for years but is now being reopened as a swanky new hotel.

The TWA Hotel features 512 rooms, 6 restaurants and 8 bars including a cocktail lounge inside a vintage TWA jet parked outside. There’s also a 10,000 square foot observation deck with swimming pool, a museum devoted to the Jet Age and mid-century design and event space for up to 1,600 people.

In short it’s pretty fabulous and Open House New York will be giving some lucky New Yorkers the first chance to see it when they hold their annual gala there on June 5. As part of the festivities, ACM is collaborating with Open House New York to commission four composers to write music inspired by this iconic building including Seth Boustead, Stephanie Ann Boyd, Anthony R. Green and Ed Windels.

Dancers from the New York City Ballet Emily Kikta and Peter Thomas are choregraphing dance to accompany the music as well.  The performance takes place on June 5 as part of Open House New York’s annual gala.


Uplift by Seth Boustead
When Saarinen was designing the TWA Terminal he said that most of all he wanted to achieve “uplift” in the design.  Boustead’s piece takes this sentiment and the general optimism of the time as inspiration and contrasts them with somewhat darker contemplations on the building’s history which is also a story of human avarice.

Eero by Stephanie Ann Boyd
Boyd’s work takes its structural cues from the building itself; melodic lines trace the architecture’s curves over the course of the piece, resulting in a work commemorating the terminal and welcoming it into the next chapter of its life. Fun fact: Boyd’s first car was a 1983 Studebaker Avanti, designed by Raymond Loewy, the same man who designed both the TWA logo and outfitted much of the terminal’s interior spaces.

Palimpsest: Thin Shell Structure by Anthony R. Green
Palimpsest: Thin Shell Structure utilizes as inspiration both the physical characteristics as well as the history of Saarinen’s iconic TWA building. With each instrument symbolically representing aspects of design, additional construction around the headhouse, external visual effects, and ultimate repurposing, this new work attempts to encapsulate the greater, meta-story of Saarinen’s great vision – a vision which he never saw in reality.

Elision Fields by Ed Windels
This work has been inspired both by photos of the revamped space, Saarinen’s ethos of one contiguous sheer structural span, the components that comprise that both obviously and substructurally, plus the composer’s own experience of the Jetblue terminal and it’s use and breadth of space.