American Classical Orchestra Opens 23-24 Season with Premier Coup D’archet at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on Nov. 16

Violinist Augusta McKay Lodge is Guest Soloist

American Classical Orchestra Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Crawford leads the opening concert of the Orchestra’s 39th season at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on Thursday, November 16. The first of four 2023-24 orchestral performances, the concert offers such epic masterpieces as Mozart’s “Paris” and Beethoven’s “Pastoral” symphonies, along with Beethoven’s Romance in G Major for Violin and Orchestra. The Romance features award-winning, historically informed violinist and concertmaster Augusta McKay Lodge. The title of the program, premier coup d’archet (first stroke of the bow), refers to a device whereby all string instruments play together at the start of a symphony—a practice popular at the time.

The American Classical Orchestra’s next performance, Gesù Nato, will be a special holiday program of rarely heard Baroque works by Bencini and Gianettini at Corpus Christi Church, W. 121 St. between Broadway & Amsterdam on December 14.

Season Opening: Premier coup d’archet

Thursday, November 16, 2023, 7:30 pm at Alice Tully Hall
American Classical Orchestra
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 “Pastoral”
Ludwig van Beethoven:  Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 in G Major, Op. 40

The evening opens with Mozart’s Symphony No. 31, which makes ample use of the premier coup d’archet method.  It was written while the 22-year-old composer was looking for work in Paris and received hearty applause at its 1778 premiere. Beethoven’s Romance in G Major for Violin and Orchestra spotlights Augusta McKay Lodge, a founding member of ensembles Voyage Sonique (New York) and Spielerei Piano Trio (Amsterdam), and a frequent concertmaster with Les Arts Florissants. Augusta will also perform with Les Arts Florissants at Alice Tully Hall as violin soloist for Purcell’s The Fairy Queen on November 2. The program concludes with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, beloved for its portrayals of sounds of nature, including birds, a brook, and a thunderstorm. The ACO presents an authentic look at Beethoven’s vision by using natural hunting horns, leather timpani, and 18th century Austrian woodwind instruments.

Tickets, priced at $75, $55, and $35, are available at www.aconyc.org, by calling at ACO at (212) 362-2727, ext.4, or by visiting lincolncenter.org or calling CenterCharge at 212.721.6500. Subscriptions, priced at $255, $187, and $119, offer a 15% discount over individual ticket prices.

For details of American Classical Orchestra’s 2023-24 season, click here.

About Thomas Crawford
The American Classical Orchestra’s Artistic Director and Founder Thomas Crawford is a champion of historically accurate performance styles in Baroque, Classical, and Early Romantic music. He founded two Connecticut orchestras: the Fairfield Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy, the period instrument offshoot of the Fairfield Orchestra, renamed the American Classical Orchestra in 1999. With the Fairfield Orchestra, Crawford commissioned numerous works by composers, including John Corigliano and William Thomas McKinley, and collaborated with artists such as Joshua Bell, 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, which premiered at the American Guild of Organists. A passionate activist determined to bring the beauty of period music to a wider audience, Mr. Crawford received a Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth award from the National Endowment for the Arts, in recognition of the ACO’s dynamic music outreach to New York City schoolchildren. A Pennsylvania native, he holds degrees in organ performance and composition from the Eastman School of Music and Columbia University.

About American Classical Orchestra
Founded in 1984 as the Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy, the ensemble was renamed the American Classical Orchestra in 1999. Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Crawford established its new and permanent home in New York City in 2005. It is now the City’s only full-scale orchestra dedicated to performing 17th, 18th, and 19th century music on period instruments. Described as “simply splendid” by The New York Times, ACO players are the foremost in their field, consisting of artists who also perform with such major ensembles as Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Handel and Haydn Society, and the New York Philharmonic. Its principal players are Faculty members at The Juilliard School, and the ACO works closely with students enrolled in the School’s Historical Performance Program. The American Classical Orchestra Chorus, comprised of professional vocalists from the New York metro area, joins ACO for larger productions. By playing music on original instruments and using historic performance techniques, ACO strives to recreate the sounds that audiences would have heard when the music was first written and performed. The Orchestra and its “supremely skilled musicians” (Theater Scene) have won critical praise for its recordings, educational programs, and concerts, including appearances at Alice Tully Hall and in Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and for a sold-out 25th anniversary performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

For more information, visit aconyc.org.

Images: Augusta McKay Lodge ©Natacha Komoda Photography, Thomas Crawford, courtesy of American Classical Orchestra.

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