Arcomusical Composer Initiative (ACI)

I am grateful for the wonderful work Arcomusical is doing to expand the repertory for the Afro-Brazilian berimbau and other African musical bows. As a researcher of Afro-Brazilian music and a long-term capoeira practitioner, I am aware of the symbolic power of the berimbau for capoeiristas and for Brazilians in general. I believe that Arcomusical’s innovative work is conducted with the utmost respect for tradition and for tradition bearers.

– Juan Diego Diaz, PhD Ethnomusicology, Assistant Professor of Music, University of California Davis

“I am incredibly thankful for the work that Arcomusical did with me and the other composers in this workshop. As a young composer, it is so valuable to receive intensive hands-on collaboration with musicians like these, especially with such a unique and underappreciated instrument like the berimbau. Arcomusical is doing beautiful work, and the fact that they are so enthusiastic to work with budding musicians such as myself on education and composition is inspiring and invaluable. I am thankful to have been introduced to this wonderful instrument by such a kind and passionate group of people.” 

– Stephen Deeter, Undergraduate Composition Student, Lawrence University

“The Projeto Arcomusical residency at MSU was a tremendous chance for student composers to experience firsthand the process of working with this one-of-a-kind ensemble. Students learned how to write idiomatically for the instrument, witnessed the group’s engagement with their musical ideas, and experienced their thoughtful and exacting  rehearsal process. Projeto Arcomusical’s musicianship inspires us all to reach further with the music we write.”

– Alexis Bacon, Assistant Professor of Composition, Michigan State University

The principal activity behind Arcomusical’s mission to spread the joy of the musical bow is the development of a rich and diverse repertoire. Our educational residencies are at their best, therefore, when they include the Arcomusical Composer Initiative (ACI) interactive student composer workshop. Through ACI, Arcomusical works with composition faculty and students at institutions well in advance of our on-campus visits to begin the process of writing for our unique ensemble. For several weeks prior to our visit we offer feedback in the form of recordings, annotated scores, and organized, detailed comments and suggestions. ACI culminates with our visit at which point we perform and record already well-rehearsed works for student participants. To get new composers started on the ACI journey, we have developed a detailed Composition Guide that provides a well-organized compendium of sounds, techniques, and concepts along with related score samples and videos.

Check out our YouTube playlist of ACI Compositions.