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AMERICAN CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA Opens With Mendelssohn, Berlioz and More, 9/22; Full Season Announced!

On Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 8:00PM at Alice Tully Hall, the American Classical Orchestra, a 50-piece period instrument orchestra, presents its opening night concert of its 32nd Season. The program will include Mendelssohn's 'Scottish' Symphony, Berlioz's Les nuits d'été, and Cipriani Potter's Symphony No. 10. In Mendelssohn's stormy Scottish Symphony, period instruments enliven the thrilling orchestration and memorable tunes for which the composer is so beloved. In Berlioz's evocative Les nuits d'été, the ACO proudly introduces the extraordinary young American mezzo-soprano Avery Amereau. A rarely heard Symphony No. 10 by British composer Cipriani Potter completes a concert that takes the audience back into the luxurious sonorities of the Romantic Era.

Tuesday, October 25 at 8:00PM at Alice Tully Hall, The American Classical Orchestra is comprised of some of the world's leading period violinists who own important historical instruments. The fabled Vivaldi Four Seasons are here performed by four different violinists on 1610 and 1615 Giovanni Maginni and 1668 and 1671 Jacob Stainer masterpiece violins. Also featured on the program are Handel's Concerto Grosso Opus 6, No. 2 and AlbicastroConcerto a Quattro Opus 7 excerpts.

Tuesday, November 29 at 8:00PM at the St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, 552 West End Ave. at 87th St, ACO presents J.S Bach's cantatas Es wartet alles auf dich, opening chorus BWV 187; Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland, opening chorus BWV 62; Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4; Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, BWV 131; Geist und Seele wird verviret, Sinfonia BWV 35 and Mein Seel erhebt den Herren, opening chorus BWV 10. Cantatas were the daily work of the master composer. Profoundly beautiful and timeless, some of Bach's most uplifting cantatas will be sung by the acclaimed American Classical Orchestra Chorus in the ideal acoustic of St. Ignatius of Antioch Church.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 8:00PM at Alice Tully Hall ACO will present a program of works written by some of the greatest composers of the late 18th century during their youth: Mozart, Haydn, and Johann Baptist Vanhal. A respected contemporary of Mozart in Vienna who lived to age 74, Vanhal wrote nearly all of his two hundred works before the age of 30. Works performed will be Haydn Symphony No. 31 'Hornsignal'; Mozart Symphony No. 1; Mozart Piano Concerti K. 107 'Pasticci' with pianist Audrey Axinn and Vanhal Symphony in d minor. The works of all three composers convey youthful energy, exquisite craftsmanship, and the unmistakable mark of creative genius even at an early age.

Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 8:00PM at the St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, 552 West End Ave. at 87th St, ACO will present an evening of the music by Jean Phillip Rameau. Featuring the American Classical Orchestra Chorus, Rameau's masterpiece Les Indes Galantes and the Overture to Hippolyte et Aricie. Rameau was a renowned composer and music theorist for almost thirty years before he wrote his first large-scale operas and ballets. His stature as France's greatest baroque composer is secured in works such as this, with its exotic harmonies and foreign references to Native Americans.

Tuesday, April 11 at 8:00PM at David Geffen Hall, ACO continues with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, with the American Classical Orchestra Chorus and soloists Sherezade Panthaki, Michael Sumuel, Helen Karloski andKang Wang. Beethoven's towering final symphony will be realized with the thrilling textures and nuanced blend of period instruments and fine vocalists. This ACO performance will begin with Maestro Crawford's introduction with orchestra and chorus onstage. The audience will hear live excerpts and insights before listening to the 70-minute Symphony No. 9. The combination of pre-symphony talk and period instrument performance offers a rare and meaningful immersion into this great work.

The closing concert of the season on Thursday, May 11, at 8:00PM at Alice Tully Hall will feature Rossini's William Tell Overture; Clementi's Symphony No. 3; Nardini's Violin Concerto in e minor and Paganini's 'La Campanella' from Concerto No. 2 with violinist Krista Bennion Feeney. Italian music of the Classical Era continued a long tradition of virtuosity in stringed instruments. By the beginning of the 19th century, Italian violins, violinist-composers and the violin repertoire had advanced to levels of flamboyance unrivaled anywhere else in Europe. Muzio Clementi's rarely heard symphony features virtuoso string passages unlike those of his contemporaries. The ebullient William Tell Overture complements the sentimental the Nardini Violin Concerto in e minor and the fiery Paganini La Campanella.



On Monday, March 13, 2017 from 8:00-9:30pm at St. Michael's Church Recital Hall, 225 West 99th Street,

Conductor Thomas Crawford will lead The Making of the Beethoven 9th Symphony, a symphonic symposium on classical music's most iconic masterpiece, Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Mr. Crawford will trace the history and evolution and will be assisted by ACO musicians who will demonstrate on period and modern instruments. An interactive forum explores Beethoven's sketches, historic recordings, commentary, and the dawn of Romanticism. The Schiller poem 'Ode to Joy' will also be studied and performed. Soloists to include bassoonist Stephanie Corwin and bassist John Feeney.


Maestro Thomas Crawford will present Pre-Concert Lectures at 7:00PM on September 22, October 23, November 29, January 17, February 9 and May 11.

All concerts will be conducted by Thomas Crawford.


'The 32nd Season adds a major subscription concert, Beethoven's 9th Symphony at David Geffen Hall. Our performance of this well-known masterpiece offers a fresh perspective to the listener, one that can only be had in a handful of cities around the world. The sound of a large period instrument orchestra with a top professional choir is truly illuminating. The ferocious loud passages have more bite, while the soaring Ode to Joy tune sounds lithe and joyous because the voices act in concord with the natural period instruments.

We've scheduled the Vivaldi Four Seasons for the first time in 32 years, and with a uniquely entertaining angle: four of our top violinists will step out of the ensemble to play the four concerti on masterpiece violins made in the 17thand 18th centuries. It is an opportunity for the audience to hear these most popular of all baroque works on the greatest violins of Vivaldi's own time.

We are offering bold repertoire for the first time in our history and the first time heard anywhere on period instruments. These include: Berlioz's Les nuits d'été with the beautiful rising-star mezzo soprano Avery Amereau, a compelling symphony by Mendelssohn's colleague Cipriani Potter, Rameau's Les Indes Gallants, a rarely heard symphony by Muzio Clementi, and even Rossini's William Tell Overture.'



Artistic Director and Founder of the American Classical Orchestra, Thomas C. Crawford is active in numerous musical disciplines as conductor, composer, and organist. As a conductor, Mr. Crawford is a champion of both historically accurate performance styles of the Baroque and Classical repertoire and of new American music. Mr. Crawford has attracted many outstanding artists, including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, André Watts, Dawn Upshaw, Richard Goode, Victor Borge, Monica Huggett and Vladimir Feltsman. He is responsible for the American Classical Orchestra's numerous international recordings with such great artists as Malcolm Bilson and Keith Jarrett. He is also a composer in many idioms and has been especially prolific in vocal music. Mr. Crawford has been recognized for his teaching of children and adults through school programs and lectures.


The American Classical Orchestra is an orchestra dedicated to performing music from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. As a period instrument ensemble, ACO's mission is to present the music as the composers might have heard it in their time using instruments and techniques from when the music was written. The American Classical Orchestra strives to present historically-informed performances that add to the cultural landscape of NYC.

Founded by Artistic Director Thomas Crawford in 1984 as The Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy in Fairfield Connecticut, the American Classical Orchestra moved to New York City in 2005. Since moving to New York City, ACO has established itself as the leading period instrument ensemble in the City. The American Classical Orchestra's annual concert series, held largely at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, has garnered critical acclaim.

In 2001, the American Classical Orchestra was invited to perform at the Metropolitan Museum during an exhibition entitled Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825 - 1861. The ACO presented two works premiered in New York during that time period. Additional highlights of ACO's 30 years include appearing as part of the Lincoln Center Great Performers Series, a sold-out 25th Anniversary performance of the Beethoven 9th Symphony at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and a staged a performance of Handel's opera Alceste as part of the American Classical Orchestra's survey of Handel's work during Handelfest in 2014.

The American Classical Orchestra has numerous recordings with renowned artists such as Malcolm Bilson and R.J. Kelley. Among the works recorded by the American Classical Orchestra are the complete wind concerti by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (featuring ACO's principal players as soloists), Mozart's Symphony No. 14, K.144 and Mozart's three Piano Concerti, K.107, with fortepianist Malcolm Bilson. In 2010, the American Classical Orchestra released a recording of Baroque oboe concerti with oboist Marc Schachman on the Centaur label.

The American Classical Orchestra is dedicated to the appreciation and understanding of classical music through educational programs. Through its in-school programs, family concert series, and community outreach programs the orchestra has inspired hundreds of thousands of young students and musicians. The ACO's educational mission is to spread historically-informed performance practices to new generations and instill a love for the music of the Baroque, Classical and early Romantic periods. For this work, the American Classical Orchestra was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant and Early Music America prize. An unusual feature of ACO concerts is that Music Director Thomas Crawford gives the pre-concert lecture, giving the audience first-hand insights into the performance.


The American Classical Orchestra recreates the sound world of the master composers.

The ACO is devoted to preserving and performing the repertoire of 17th, 18th and 19th century composers. By playing the music on original instruments and using historic performance technique, we attempt to recreate the sounds an audience would have experienced when the music was written and first performed. We pass along skills and appreciation for this practice to future generations through concert performances and educational programs.

Because period instruments were made of different materials, they produce a profoundly different sound from the 20th century instruments used in modern orchestras. Historical instruments, with their softer and more transparent, yet sometimes edgier tone, produce a delicacy in the gentler phrases and a pungent bite in the stronger passages. Using period instruments, the ACO can, in the 21st century, bring audiences closer to the musical genius of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and other master composers.


Tickets can be purchased on, or by calling Center Charge (212-721-6500), by calling the Alice Tully Hall Box Office (212-671-4050), David Geffen Hall Box Office (212-875-5030), or in person at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office.

$95 Prime I, $75 Prime II, $55 Standard I, $35 Standard II and $15 Student (only at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office with proper student ID).


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