American Classical Orchestra announces 2022-23 season


The American Classical Orchestra (ACO), New York’s premier period instrument orchestra, has announced its 2022-23 season of four orchestral concerts led by Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Crawford, beginning Thursday, September 22, with the first of three performances at Alice Tully Hall, and through May 18, 2023. Soloists will include soprano Yulan Piao, mezzo-soprano Heather Petrie, tenor Lawrence Jones, bass Joseph Charles Beutel, pianist Petra Somlai and violinist Rachell Ellen Wong.

Highlights of the season include the opening concert with Hungarian fortepiano virtuoso Petra Somlai in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (September 22); Mozart’s beloved Requiem coupled with the world premiere of Thomas Crawford’s Elegy, composed in memory of ACO violinist Judson Griffin, postponed from last February due to the Omicron variant (Oct. 28); a program of all-Bach cantatas featuring three audience favorites (March 2); and an evening of romantic music on period instruments, featuring works by Schumann, Sarasate and Grieg (May 18).

Thomas Crawford said, “The musicians of the American Classical Orchestra are masters of the period instrument, performing classics anew with zeal and authenticity. This season will provide a wonderful opportunity for our audience to experience baroque and classical masterpieces on the very instruments heard in concert halls. when they were first performed and will also reveal how the sound and nuances of these original instruments can bring the music of the great Romantic composers to life in different ways. »

Opening concert: Piano Concerto No. 3 by Beethoven

Thursday, September 22, at 8 p.m., Alice Tully Hall
Petra Somlai, pianoforte
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor
Schubert: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major
CPE Bach: Symphony in F major, H665

The evening begins with Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, premiered in 1803 at the Theater an der Wien. One of the composer’s personal favourites, it is known to pianists as one of the most difficult in the repertoire. The concerto will be performed on the pianoforte by the Hungarian virtuoso Petra Somlai, winner of the first prize at the International Pianoforte Competition in Bruges (Belgium) and professor of pianoforte at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Next on the program is Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, which he wrote at the age of 18 in 1816, the same year he composed his Fourth Symphony. The program ends with the Symphony in three movements in F major by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the second surviving son of JS Bach. The Symphony was one of many written by CPE while living in Berlin, where he was known primarily as one of the most prominent keyboardists of his day.

Tickets, priced at $75, $55 and $35, are available at or by calling the ACO at 212.362.2727, ext. 4. Ticket holders will be required to comply with venue health and safety requirements.


Friday, October 28, 2022, at 8 p.m., Alice Tully Hall
Yulan Piao, soprano
Heather Petrie, mezzo-soprano
Lawrence Jones, tenor
Joseph Charles Beutel, double bass
COA Choir
Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K. 626
Thomas Crawford: Elegy (World Premiere in honor of ACO violinist Judson Griffin)

In 1791, Mozart began to compose his Requiem in response to an anonymous commission. But he died that year, at the age of 35, having only completed the first Requiem and Kyrie movements. Over the centuries, many composers have written completions of the remaining movements for this work, often considered one of the greatest musical treasures of all time. The ACO will use the completion estimated by Mozart scholar Robert D. Levin. This performance of Mozart’s Requiem commemorates the lives lost during the pandemic. The soloists are Korean-Chinese soprano Yulan Piao, winner of the first prize in the Vienna Summer Music Festival Competition; contralto Heather Petrie, founding member of the renowned Etherea Vocal Ensemble; tenor Lawrence Jones, praised by Opera News for his “clean, ringing tenor”; and baritone Joseph Charles Beutel, who originated the role of the British major in Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night. The world premiere of Thomas Crawford’s Elegy was written to honor the memory of the ACO’s second principal violinist, Judson Griffin, who passed away in 2020. The work is composed of slowly layered tones that transition from major to minor. The texture is complex, even sometimes dense, with the exception of a central episode which unleashes anger.

Tickets, priced at $75, $55 and $35. Ticket holders will be required to comply with venue health and safety requirements.

Healing Bach

Thursday, March 2, 2023, at 8 p.m., Saint-Vincent Ferrer Church, Lexington Avenue at 66th Street
J.S. Bach:
An Abend aber desselbigen Sabbaths, BWV 42
Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fallt, BWV 18
Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36

The soloists will be announced later

This concert features three of the composer’s most beloved cantatas, performed at St. Vincent Ferrer, the beautiful Gothic-style church designed by Bertram Goodhue, completed in 1918 and designated a New York City Landmark in 1967. The word “cantata” comes from the Italian cantare, which means “to sing”. The cantata format – the major form of vocal chamber music in the 17th century – includes solos, duets, recitatives and choruses, with instrumental accompaniment. A prolific composer of the genre, Bach has more than 200 sacred cantatas in his catalogue. His An Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats (“Then the same Sabbath in the evening”), written in 1725 for the first Sunday after Easter with a Gospel text of the day, John 20:19-23, tells the story of the risen Christ appearing to his disciples. The Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt (“As showers and snow fall from heaven”), one of his earliest church works, was composed in Weimar for the second Sunday before Lent. It is notable for its score, which has no wind or high-pitched string instruments. The program ends with Bach’s church cantata Schwingt freudig euch empor (“Fly up joyfully”). Written in 1731 for the first Sunday of Advent, it represents his reworking of an earlier secular work, composed to a libretto by the Leipzig poet Picander.

Tickets, priced at $75, $55 and $35. Ticket holders will be required to comply with venue health and safety requirements.

Romantic Fantasy

Thursday, May 18, 2023, at 8 p.m., Alice Tully Hall
Rachel Ellen Wong, violin
Schumann: Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, op. 38 “Spring Symphony”
Sarasate: Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25
Grieg: The Mountain Slave, Op. 32

The ACO closes its 2022-23 season with romantic musical programming. Schumann’s Spring Symphony, written in 1841 (the year he met his wife Clara), is said to be inspired by the poem Frühlings-und Liebesmelodien (Melodies of Spring and Love) by Adolph Böttger. Thus, the first brass band seems to announce the first days of spring. Spanish composer and violin virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate’s popular Carmen Fantasy is a testament to his prodigious talents and is based on Bizet’s opera Carmen. It will be performed on period violin by internationally acclaimed artist Rachell Ellen Wong, recipient of the prestigious 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant and founding member of the New York-based New Amsterdam Concert, a string ensemble of musical instruments. specialized in music from the Renaissance to the High Baroque. The program ends with Grieg’s The Mountain Thrall (Den Bergtekne), the composer’s longest orchestral song based on an old Norse poem about a man who, lost in the mountains, is lured to death by the Erl’s daughter. -King. Like much of Grieg’s work, it is deeply steeped in the folk music of his Norwegian homeland.

Tickets, priced at $75, $55 and $35. Ticket holders will be required to comply with venue health and safety requirements.

Artistic Director and Founder of the American Classical Orchestra, Thomas Crawford, is a champion of historically accurate performance styles of Baroque, Classical and Romantic music. He founded two Connecticut orchestras: the Fairfield Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy, an offshoot of period instruments from the Fairfield Orchestra, renamed American Classical Orchestra in 1999. With the Fairfield Orchestra, Crawford commissioned numerous works from composers, including John Corigliano. and William Thomas McKinley, and has collaborated with artists such as Joshua Bell, John Corigliano, Vladimir Feltsman, Richard Goode, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, André Watts and Dawn Upshaw. He also conducted the world premiere of Keith Jarrett’s Bridge of Light at Alice Tully Hall, subsequently recorded on the ECM label. An accomplished composer, organist and choirmaster, Crawford won the prestigious BMI Composition Award for his organ work Ashes of Rose, premiered at the American Guild of Organists. A passionate activist determined to bring the beauty of period music to a wider audience, Mr. Crawford’s educational activities with the Orchestra have received a National Endowment Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth Award. for the Arts, recognizing the dynamism of the New York City Schoolchildren COA. A native of Pennsylvania, he holds degrees in organ performance and composition from the Eastman School of Music and Columbia University.

Founded in 1984 as the Old Fairfield Academy Orchestra, the ensemble was renamed the American Classical Orchestra in 1999. Founder and artistic director Thomas Crawford established his new permanent residence in New York in 2005. It is now the only full-scale orchestra dedicated to the performance of 17th, 18th and 19th century music on period instruments. Described as “simply splendid” by the New York Times, the ACO’s musicians are the best in their field, made up of artists who also perform with major ensembles such as the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Handel and Haydn Society and the New York Philharmonic. Its main actors are faculty members of the Juilliard School, and the ACO works closely with students enrolled in the school’s historical performance program. The American Classical Orchestra Chorus, made up of professional singers from the New York metropolitan area, joins the ACO for larger productions. By playing music on original instruments and using historical performance techniques, ACO strives to recreate the sounds audiences would have heard when the music was first written and performed. The Orchestra and its “extremely skilled musicians” (Theater Scene) have received critical acclaim for their recordings, educational programs and concerts, including appearances at Alice Tully Hall and on the Lincoln’s Great Performers Series Center, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and for a sold-out 25th anniversary performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at St. John the Divine Cathedral.


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