American Classical Orchestra Announces 2023-24 Season

The American Classical Orchestra (ACO), New York City’s leading period instrument orchestra, announced its 2023-24 season of four orchestral concerts led by Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Crawford. The season opens November 16, 2023 and will conclude May 8, 2024. Additionally, there will be an exclusive preseason performance for its subscribers only.

Three out of the four performances will take place at Alice Tully Hall and one will be held at the Corpus Christi Church.

Featured soloists include award-winning violinist Augusta McKay Lodge; soprano Nola Richardson; Grammy-nominated Reginald Mobley; active Bach interpreter tenor; First Prize winner in the Oratorio Society of New York’s Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition, bass Steven Eddy; oboist, noted historical instrument expert, ASCAP Award-winner, and Juilliard faculty member Gonzalo Ruiz; and early music artist Adam Cockerham, a specialist in theorbo, lute and Baroque guitar.

“This season, the ACO programs three pillars of classical repertoire: Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, Mozart’s Jupiter, and the Bach B Minor Mass featuring our acclaimed ACO Chorus,” said Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Crawford. “Hearing 18th-century masterpieces played with passion, live in New York and on period instruments, is our greatest joy.”

Pre-season performance: La musica notturna di Madrid

Thursday, September 28, 2023, 7 pm at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue

Adam Cockerham, Baroque guitar

Luigi Boccherini: Guitar Quintet in C Major, Op. 30, No. 6, G. 324, “La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid

Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto for Strings in G Major, RV 151

Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto for Strings in G Minor, RV 157

This special pre-season chamber music performance for subscribers only presents an ACO string ensemble at the Salmagundi Club, a historic arts center on the National Register of Historic Places. The musicians are joined by Baroque guitar virtuoso Adam Cockerham, Associate Music Director of the Academy of Sacred Drama. The program opens with Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet, initially written for strings, a work quite popular in Spain during the composer’s lifetime.

Season Opening: Premier coup d’archet

Thursday, November 16, 2023, 7:30 pm at Alice Tully Hall      

Thomas Crawford, conductor

Augusta McKay Lodge, violin                                                 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 31 in D Major, K. 297/300a “Paris”

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 “Pastorale”

Ludwig van Beethoven: Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 in G Major, Op. 40

The title of this program, premier coup d’archet (first stroke of the bow), refers to a device whereby all the instruments play together at the start of a symphony—a practice popular at the time and one that Mozart used to great success in his Symphony No. 31. The work, written while the 22-year-old composer was looking for work in Paris, received hearty applause at its 1778 premiere. Beethoven’s elegant Romance in G Major for Violin and Orchestra features young virtuoso Augusta McKay Lodge. The evening concludes with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, loved for its portrayals of sounds of nature, including birds, a brook, and a thunderstorm. The ACO offers an authentic look at Beethoven’s vision by the use of natural hunting horns, leather timpani, and 18th century Austrian woodwind instruments.

Gesù Nato

Thursday, December 14, 2023, 7 pm at Corpus Christi Church, W. 121 St. between Broadway & Amsterdam

Thomas Crawford, conductor

Antonio Bencini: Gesù Nato  

Antonio Gianettini: Magnificat

Antonio Bencini’s Gesù Nato marks what is likely the modern premiere of the full work of this lost 1742 Christmas oratorio manuscript by the little-known composer who premiered it in Bologna before it was shelved at the Vatican Library for three centuries. The work features vocal soloists, a choir, and an orchestra of trumpets, oboes, and strings. Antonio Gianettini’s version of the Magnificat, also known as the Canticle of Mary, is a prayer of praise to God found in the Gospel of Luke. It has been used in the daily prayers of the Catholic Church, and set to music by many composers. Gianettini—an Italian organist, concertmaster and composer—was considered to be one of the most talented composers of his era.

This performance is a co-production of the ACO and The Academy of Sacred Drama, founded in 2013 by ACO violinist and scholar Jeremy Rhizor. The Organization is dedicated to Baroque oratorio that draws its stories from biblical tales and the lives of saints.

American Classical Orchestra 2023-24 season

B Minor Mass

Thursday, March 7, 2024, 7:30 pm at Alice Tully Hall

Thomas Crawford, conductor

Nola Richardson, soprano

Reginald Mobley, countertenor

Steven Soph, tenor 

Steven Eddy, bass

ACO Chorus

Johann Sebastian Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232

Bach’s Mass in B Minor was one of the composer’s last achievements, completed a year before his death in 1749. A musical setting of the complete Latin Mass, this monumental work presents nine arias and duets, 14 ensemble sections for vocal groups of various sizes, and a range of instrumental solos in numerous styles. Based largely on Bach’s earlier pieces, this mass is one of his best-loved vocal works. The orchestra is joined by the renowned ACO Chorus, comprised of professional vocalists from the New York metro area. Featured soloists will be soprano Nola Richardson, countertenor Reginald Mobley, tenor Steven Soph, and bass Steven Eddy.


Wednesday, May 8, 2024, 7:30 pm at Alice Tully Hall               

Thomas Crawford, conductor

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 “Jupiter”

William Herschel: Oboe Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major

Johan Daniel Berlin: Concerto á 5 in A Major

C.P.E. Bach: Symphony in B Minor, H661 Wq182/5

Gonzalo Ruiz, oboe

The “astronomical” theme of this program is inspired by Mozart’s ”Jupiter” Symphony, Herschel’s telescopes, and Berlin’s meteorological observations/alias composer roles. The concert begins with Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony, his longest and final symphony. Widely considered to be his strongest work and perhaps his most popular symphony, it is notable for its deft weaving of Classical and Baroque musical forms. Before the 18th century composer William Herschel played oboe and violin, he was an accomplished astronomer who built his own telescope and discovered the planet Uranus in 1781.

His 1780 three-movement Oboe Concerto No. 1, written in the style of Corelli or Handel concerti grossi, features soloist Gonzalo Ruiz, a Juilliard faculty member and expert in historical reedmaking techniques, of which more than two dozen are on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Carl Philipp Emanuel (C.P.E.) Bach’s Symphony in B Minor follows next. Johann Sebastian Bach’s 5th child and one of the foremost clavier players in Europe, C.P.E. wrote the work during the German literature period of Sturm und Drang, when he created short pieces inspired by individualism.

Finally, the evening closes with German-born Rococo composer Johan Daniel Berlin’s Concerto á 5 in A Major. In 1737 Berlin became the town musician of Trondheim, Norway. In addition, he was a fire brigade captain, land surveyor, founding member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, and made a series of meteorological and astronomical observations. Today he is regarded as one of Norway’s first known composers, although few of his works remain.

For details and tickets for American Classical Orchestra 2023-24 season, click here.

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