The American Classical Orchestra opens its 2022-23 season at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on September 22
The American Classical Orchestra (ACO), New York’s largest period instrument orchestra, opens its 2022-23 season on Thursday, September 22 at Alice Tully Hall, with the first of four orchestral performances. Led by founder and artistic director Thomas Crawford, the concert features symphonies by Schubert and CPE Bach, as well as featuring dazzling pianist Petra Somlai in one of Beethoven’s most demanding concertos.
The American Classical Orchestra’s next concert will feature Mozart’s beloved Requiem and the world premiere of Thomas Crawford’s Elegy, written in honor of former ACO violinist Judson Griffin (October 28, at Alice Tully Hall).
Opening Night – 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
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 CPEs written while living in Berlin, where he was best known as one of the leading keyboardists of his day.
Tickets, priced at $75, $55 and $35, are available at aconyc.org or by calling the ACO at 212.362.2727, ext. 4. Ticket holders will be required to comply with the venue’s health and safety requirements, which can be found here.
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 instrumental offshoot of the Fairfield Orchestra period, 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 Bridge of Light by Keith Jarrett 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 players 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.
For more information, visit aconyc.org.