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National Contemporary Orchestra

The USA has a new professional orchestra


After years of research and preparation, the newest addition to the ranks of professional symphony orchestras in the United States - the National Contemporary Orchestra ('NCO') - was officially launched a few days ago.

Under the direction of music director Andrew J Lyon, the National Contemporary Orchestra begins its journey with the mission of performing and promoting orchestral repertoire written in the late twentieth and early 21st centuries, while establishing an atmosphere of learning, partnership, growth and exploration for audiences and musicians alike. Audiences will enjoy programs focused on works whose tonality and structure are similar to those of Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein.

Music director Andrew Lyon introduces the National Contemporary Orchestra
Music director Andrew Lyon introduces the National Contemporary Orchestra

Embracing the 'national' title, the NCO comprises seventy professional musicians borrowed from top orchestras across the United States, including concertmaster Philip Palermo, associate concertmaster emeritus of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, the NCO will be operating on a tour-based business model to showcase the music of the modern era to audiences coast-to-coast.

Before the National Contemporary Orchestra announces its Spring 2024 debut US tour, the coming weeks will see the launch of the group's kickstarter fundraising campaign, where the NCO will work to raise funds to cover its operating costs. Contributors to the campaign can choose from a wide range of 'thank you' gifts, including branded merchandise, autographed sheet music, apparel and online music lessons with NCO musicians - something for music lovers of all ages and interests.

The National Contemporary Orchestra plans to keep its audience informed through the power of social media. Please follow the NCO on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube under the @NationalContemporaryOrchestra handles for updates on concerts and special events.

Music director Andrew Lyon was born and raised in Chicago. With deep Eastern European and Mexican roots, he continues to work on advocating and advancing the arts as a conductor, composer, saxophonist, lecturer and administrator. His teachers have included Markand Thakar, Richard Auldon Clark, Harold Weller, Takayoshi Suzuki and Harvey Felder.

The NCO logo
The NCO logo

For information about the NCO's plans for the future, for information about the NCO's musicians and leadership and to give your interpretation of the orchestra's new logo, visit

Posted 6 November 2023 by Keith Bramich










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