American Classical Orchestra Presents BEETHOVEN SYMPHONY NO. 9. Conducted by Thomas Crawford

On Tuesday, April 11 at 8:00PM at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, the American Classical Orchestra will perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, the composer's towering final achievement. Unique among the seasons' 9th performances, this concert will be performed on period instruments, using the tempos and performance techniques of its premiere nearly 200 years ago. The thrilling textures and nuanced blend of period instruments with the voices of the highly acclaimed ACO Chorus will transport listeners back to the sound world of the early 19th century, while bringing them closer to the composer's intentions and original markings. The result is a deeper, more fulfilling musical experience of this great work. To provide greater understanding, Maestro Thomas Crawford will deliver an introduction, with orchestra and chorus onstage to perform excerpts, before conducting the 70-minute Symphony. This combination of pre-symphony talk and period instrument performance offers rare and meaningful immersion into this much-loved symphony. Soloists are Sherezade Panthaki, Michael Sumuel, Helen Karloski and Kang Wang.

ACO is pleased to present this concert in collaboration with UNICEF, putting Children First around the world.


"The Ninth is a one-hour encounter with virtually every human emotion. Unabashed joy, tenderness, anger, serenity, rage, softness, violence, introspection, blame, empathy, despair, hope, dancing, slumping, adrenaline, repose, frustration, peace. I believe that audiences and musicians have flocked to this as the number one most satisfying classical masterpiece because all of these emotions exist in each of us. Allowing music to bring them out in us is a 'safe zone' because there are no words. no judgments from others of how we 'should' feel. Each listener travels through the vast emotional landscape of the Ninth Symphony in their own private world.... But at the end, when the Ode to Joy melody takes over and we are beckoned to become a common humanity under God, we realize that the auditorium is full of individuals who crave community and collective experience. We jump to our feet in gratitude, as happens every time the Ninth is performed", says Thomas Crawford.


"Through its efforts to fulfill the basic needs of children around the world, the broader mission of UNICEF's humanitarian efforts is to help all children realize their full potential. Music speaks eloquently to human potential; and Beethoven's Ninth, with its stirring themes and inspirational Ode to Joy, make this concert a perfect opportunity for ACO and UNICEF to come together." says Bryan Klipsch, UNICEF Next Generation Steering Committee.


Sherezade Panthaki, soprano

Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for "a breathtaking combination of expressive ardor, tonal clarity, technical mastery and dramatic vividness" Indian born Sherezade Panthaki performs as featured soloist with top classical and baroque orchestras around the world. Her 2016-2017 season includes performances with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; the Oregon Bach Festival; Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra,; Milwaukee Symphony, and The American Classical Orchestra - with which in 2016 she performed the role of Costanza in Haydn's L'isola desabitata. A passionate music educator, Ms. Panthaki is currently Christopher Wolff Guest Performer at the Harvard University Department of Music.

Michael Sumuel, bass-baritone

Texas-born bass-baritone Michael Sumuel has performed in featured roles with the San Francisco Opera , the Houston Grand Opera, the Norwegian National Opera, the Cleveland Symphony, North Carolina Opera and the Phoenix Symphony. In the 2015/16 season, he returned to San Francisco Opera as Escamillo in Calixto Bieto's staging of Carmen, and returned to Glyndebourne Festival Opera for Theseus in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. On the concert stage, Mr. Sumuel made his debut with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in Mozart's Mass in C minor and joined the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor and Mercury Houston for Handel's Messiah.

Helen Karloski, mezzo soprano

Pittsburgh-native Helen Karloski performs regularly in New York with ensembles that include the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and the Mostly Mozart Festival, and nationally with Conspirare, Handel and Haydn Society, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and the Tucson Chamber Artists. Ms. Karloski was featured on the 2015 Grammy-Award Winning recording The Sacred Spirit of Russia with Conspirare under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and is proud member of AEA and AGMA.

Kang Wang, tenor

Australian-Chinese tenor Kang Wang is a second year member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera. This season saw his Met debut as Narraboth in Strauss' Salome, conducted by Johannes Debus. On the concert stage he appeared with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra as the tenor soloist in Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde which began with performances in Beijing and was presented by the Kennedy Center in celebration of the Chinese New Year. This season, he will also debut with American Classical Orchestra in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Alice Tully Hall. Upcoming seasons include debuts with Welsh National Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, and the San Antonio Symphony.


Artistic Director and Founder of the American Classical Orchestra, Thomas Crawford is a champion of historically accurate performance styles in Baroque, Classical and Early Romantic music.

Mr. Crawford holds a Bachelor of Music in composition and organ performance from Eastman School of Music, where he studied choral and orchestral conducting under Samuel Adler. After graduation, he went on to train with Hugo Fiorato, Conductor of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and to earn an MA in composition from Columbia University.

During the 1980s, Mr. Crawford founded and led two Connecticut orchestras: the Fairfield Orchestra and the period instrument Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy. In 1999 Mr. Crawford founded the American Classical Orchestra, bringing along the internationally recognized period musicians already performing in his Connecticut ensembles.

Over the years, Thomas Crawford has attracted top guest artists including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, André Watts, Dawn Upshaw, Richard Goode, Monica Huggett and Vladimir Feltsman; and Mr, Crawford has produced recordings with - among others - the great American pianists Malcolm Bilson and Keith Jarrett.

A passionate activist determined to bring the beauty of period music to a wider audience, Mr. Crawford has been recognized for the orchestra's dynamic music outreach to New York City schoolchildren, and for the lively and informative talks he gives, that precede each ACO concert.


American Classical Orchestra, New York's Leading Period Instrument Orchestra, enriches the cultural landscape of the City through inspired performances of 17th, 18th, and 19th century music on the instruments for which it was composed. Sitting in a church, salon or great concert hall, ACO audiences experience music history coming to life, and feel closer to the sound world of composers they love - of the Classical, Baroque and early Romantic periods.

Founded by Artistic Director Thomas Crawford in 1984 as the Old Fairfield Academy in Fairfield, Connecticut, the American Classical Orchestra has made its permanent home in New York City. Since moving to New York in 2005, the ACO has established itself as a leading orchestra in Manhattan, with performances at Alice Tully Hall, St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, David Geffen Hall, the New York Society for Ethical Culture, and more.

Some highlights of the orchestra's past thirty-one years include the Lincoln Center Great Performers Series, a sold-out 25th Anniversary performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, staged performances of Handel's opera Alceste and Haydn's opera L'Isola disabitata at Alice Tully Hall, and internationally acclaimed commercial recordings. The American Classical Orchestra programs pieces ranging from audience favorites, such as Mozart's Symphony No. 40 and Bach's B Minor Mass, to rarely heard gems such as Georg Philipp Telemann's Der Tag des Gerichts and British composer Cipriani Potter's Symphony No. 10.

The Orchestra's new organization of young professionals, the American Classical Orchestra's Cadenza Circle, has scheduled monthly social programs and live performances for New Yorkers under 45 who enjoy classical music.


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.


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit

UNICEF Next Generation is a group of young leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators in their 20s and 30s who commit their resources, resolve and enthusiasm toward supporting UNICEF's lifesaving work. Members study issues that affect children around the world and choose UNICEF projects to support through education, advocacy, skill sharing/remote volunteering and fundraising. Through their activities, members mobilize their networks and inspire their generations to take


Tickets can be purchased on, or by calling Center Charge (212-721-6500), by calling David Geffen Hall Box Office (212-875-5030), .

$95 Prime I, $75 Prime II, $55 Standard I, $35 Standard II and $15 Student (only with proper student ID).


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