American Classical Orchestra

"…the orchestra devoted itself to works by Mozart and Beethoven, presented in trim, sculptured readings that captured the vigor and zest of the historical style…"
-New York Times

The American Classical Orchestra celebrates classical music performance on authentic instruments, specializing in repertoire from the 17th to 19th centuries. Founded by music director Thomas Crawford in 1985 as the Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy, the Orchestra works to render more faithfully music of the Baroque, Classical, and early Romantic eras.

In 1999, the orchestra's name was changed to American Classical Orchestra. Interested in reviving and preserving the art of playing period instruments, the American Classical Orchestra also fosters the education of musicians and the public in authentic performance technique. Comprised of leading period instrumentalists in the New York metropolitan region, the Orchestra has achieved significant critical acclaim through its performances and its professional recordings in New York City and Connecticut.

In the 2012-2013 season, the ACO will present a series of four concerts, with diverse programs spanning the Baroque to the Romantic and the renowned to the rarely heard. The season begins on October 15 with orchestral works of Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Haydn, followed by a night of Bach on November 27th featuring the choirs of Trinity Church and Princeton & Trinity Church in his Magnificat. The ACO's soloists take the spotlight in a program of two Mozart concerti for Clarinet, and Harp and Flute, on February 4th, in addition to a Rossini overture and Beethoven's immortal Symphony No. 5. The season ends on June 4th with guest soloists Benjamin Butterfield and Angela Meade performing arias of Mozart and Rossini, alongside symphonic works by Mendelssohn and Witt.

The ACO has recorded the complete Mozart wind concerti, using its principal players as soloists. These three compact discs mark the first comprehensive survey of the Mozart wind concerti by an American period-instrument ensemble and conductor.

The American Classical Orchestra has appeared in the Lincoln Center Great Performers Series. In December 2000 the Orchestra made its debut at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in a program specially designed for the exhibition "Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825-1861."

Thomas Crawford, Artistic Director and Conductor

Maestro Crawford's training as a conductor, composer, and impresario make him uniquely qualified to champion the cause of a period instrument orchestra for New York City. He has conducted outstanding artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Dawn Upshaw. He has released numerous recordings with the ACO. Mr. Crawford has been recognized for his teaching of children and adults through school programs and lectures.

Music Director and Founder of the ACO, Mr. 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. He has distinguished himself - as a composer in many idioms and has been especially prolific in vocal music.

Mr. Crawford founded the Fairfield Orchestra in 1980. In 1985 he also started the Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy, Connecticut's first regularly performing period instrument ensemble. In 1998, after achieving success in performances and professional recordings with both orchestras, Mr. Crawford changed the name of his ensembles to American Classical Orchestra in order to focus exclusively on period instruments. Mr. Crawford's orchestral training comes from Samuel Adler of the Eastman School of Music and from Hugo Fiorato, Conductor of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. He holds a Master of Arts degree in composition from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from the Eastman School of Music. Mr. Crawford has held church and choral directing positions in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. He has served as Director of the Westchester Boys Choir and has guest conducted numerous oratorio choirs throughout the region. His choral training comes from Westminster Choir College in Princeton.

Mr. Crawford has led his orchestras in Carnegie Hall, on the Lincoln Center Great Performers Series and, most recently, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has attracted many outstanding artists, including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, André Watts, Richard Goode and Victor Borge. Mr. Crawford is also responsible for the Orchestra's numerous international recordings with such great artists as Malcolm Bilson and Keith Jarrett.

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ACO 2012-2013

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