AMERICAN CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA PERFORMS BACH’S B MINOR MASSvAT ALICE TULLY HALL WITH THE ACO CHORUS MARCH 7, 2024
Soloists are Sopranos Kristen Hahn and Nola Richardson, Countertenor Reginald Mobley, Tenor Steven Soph, and Bass Steven Eddy
Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Crawford leads the American Classical Orchestra (ACO) in a performance of Bach’s monumental B Minor Mass with the acclaimed ACO Chorus at Alice Tully Hall on Thursday, March 7 at 7:30 PM. One of Bach’s best-loved vocal works, the B Minor Mass is widely considered to be the crowning achievement of the Baroque era. J.S. Bach completed it a year before his death in 1750.
Featured soloists are soprano and crossover artist Kristen Hahn, who recently appeared at the Kennedy Center in Hello Dolly; soprano Nola Richardson, hailed by The New York Times for her “beautiful tone;” Grammy-nominated American countertenor Reginald Mobley, who has forged a stellar career across Baroque and Classical repertoire; noted Bach interpreter tenor Steven Soph, praised for his “impressive clarity and color” (The New York Times); and Baroque music specialist bass Steven Eddy, a 1st Prize winner of the 2019 Oratorio Society of New York Competition.
After the March 7 concert, the American Classical Orchestra will next appear on May 8, 2024, at Alice Tully Hall, in a program titled Astronomical with works by W.A. Mozart, William Herschel, Johan Daniel Berlin, and C.P.E Bach.
Thursday, March 7, 2024, 7:30 pm at Alice Tully Hall
American Classical Orchestra
Thomas Crawford, conductor
Kristen Hahn, soprano
Nola Richardson, soprano
Reginald Mobley, countertenor
Steven Soph, tenor
Steven Eddy, bass
Johann Sebastian Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232
A musical setting of the complete Latin Mass, this 1749 work includes nine arias and duets, 14 ensemble sections for vocal groups of various sizes, and a range of instrumental solos in numerous styles. The composition as it is known today did not originate as a titled whole in any of Bach’s surviving documents. It was uncovered by his son C.P. E. Bach as a collection of his father’s hand-written scores grouped together inside four folders. The manuscripts were organized in four parts: The Kyrie and Gloria, followed by the Credo, the Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. Once published, the four parts became known as the B Minor Mass. Of note, Bach managed to complete the Mass while nearly blinded by cataracts. He subsequently underwent two unsuccessful eye surgeries using questionable methods, which worsened his condition.
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 from left to right: Soprano Kristen Hahn ©Jason Homa, soprano Nola Richardson ©byVinnik, countertenor Reginald Mobley ©Richard Dumas, Tenor Steven Soph ©Amanda Weber; and Bass Steven Eddy ©Michael Yeshion.