Following his first guest engagement in 2014, Allen Tinkham was appointed Music Director for the 2015/2016 season of the Chicago Composers Orchestra, an orchestra dedicated to the performance and advocacy of orchestral music by living composers. Highlights in his first season included Boulez's Derivé  1 and Zwilich's Symphony No. 1, as well as works by David Lang and Anthony Chueng.

  Allen conducting Chicago Composers Orchestra. © Chicago Composers Orchestra

Allen conducting Chicago Composers Orchestra. © Chicago Composers Orchestra

In fifteen seasons with CYSO,
Tinkham has programmed the music of contemporaries Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Michael Torke,  John Corigliano, Aaron Jay Kernis, Michael Daugherty, Joseph Schwantner, Anna Clyne, Chris Theofanidis, Ricardo Lorenz, Jennifer Higdon, Joan Tower, and the next generation Gabriel Prokofiev, Zhou Long, Jonathan Newman, Adam Schoenberg, D.J. Sparr and Micah Hayes. 

“Modern music is simply modern ideas. The more we love the old ideas the more important it is to be open to new ideas.
— Allen Tinkham


In addition to commissioning and performing world premieres by iconic composers such as Augusta Read Thomas, Daron Aric Hagen, and Marc-Anthony Turnage, with CYSO Tinkham created the Composer-in-Residence with Joel Puckett in 2012 and Composer-in-Association with Bryce Dessner in 2015. 

PHOTO:  Allen and CYSO with soloist DJ Jordan "Madhatter" Lee for the U.S. premiere of Gabriel Prokofiev's Turntables and Orchestra in Orchestra Hall in Symphony Center in 2014. © Ed Spinelli Photography