American Classical Orchestra to Kick Off HANDELFEST with Family Concert, 3/1

Related: American Classical Orchestra, Handelfest

Join the American Classical Orchestra for HANDELFEST, the first festival event from ACO that celebrates the music of Handel during the month of March. The festivities get under way with a family-friendly concert at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament (152 W 71st St) featuring some of Handel's most uplifting works. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling 212-362-2727.

A full 35-piece period orchestra opens the festival with a performance of the grandiose Music for Royal Fireworks. Soloists from Samson (Megan Chartrand and John Taylor Ward) perform some of Handel's most famous arias including The Trumpet Shall Sound, Let the Bright Seraphim, and Lascia Ch'io painga. In addition, the 70-member New York Children's Chorus joins for excerpts from Messiah, including Lift Up Your Heads and a participatory Hallelujah Chorus.

Handel is even slated for a guest appearance as well. The public concert is part of the ACO's Classical Music for Kids outreach program in which ACO members perform for nearly 5,000 students at 20 New York City public schools. This family concert is the perfect way to commence this incredible festival, presented by the American Classical Orchestra.

For its first-ever festival event, HANDELFEST, the American Classical Orchestra collaborates with some of the world's leading artists and experts for an exceptional month of music celebrating George Frederick Handel.

Following the family concert will be Handel's Samson on March 4, 2014 at 8pm at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. The celebrated Handelian Nicholas McGegan makes his first appearance with the ACO, conducting what is widely considered one of the crowning achievements of Handel's 3-hour oeuvre, Samson and tenor Thomas Cooley plays the titular role.

Also at Alice Tully Hall on March 19, 2014 at 8pm, ACO presents Alceste, a work from Handel rarely heard in its entirety today. Eminent choreographer John Heginbotham joins the production and Cynthia Edwards stage directs. The program also features Handel's double wind band work Concerti a due cori and the choral showcase Utrecht Jubilate. Be sure to arrive early for a pre-concert lecture by one of the world's most venerated musicologists, Neal Zaslaw.

More On: John Taylor, George Frederic, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Richard Goode, Victor Borge.

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by Peter Danish