Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Crawford leads the American Classical Orchestra (ACO), New York City’s foremost period instrument orchestra, in a program of much-loved Bach cantatas at the beautiful Gothic-style Church of St. Vincent Ferrer in Manhattan on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at 8 pm.
The concert features an ensemble of notable soloists including soprano Sherezade Panthaki, head of Mount Holyoke College’s vocal program and Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble founding member; countertenor and Metropolitan Opera singer Daniel Moody, praised for his “profoundly startling vocal resonance” (The New York Times); tenor Brian Giebler, recipient of a Best Classical Solo Vocal Album Grammy nomination in 2020; and bass-baritone Joseph Parrish, winner of the 2022 Young Concert Artists International Auditions.
Artistic Director Thomas Crawford will give a brief pre-concert talk to illuminate the program at 7:15 pm.
The following performance will close the ACO season with an evening of Romantic music by Schumann, Sarasate, and Grieg. It will feature baritone William Meinert, praised for his “rich vibrant bass” (Opera Today) and award-winning violinist Rachell Ellen Wong, on May 18 at Alice Tully Hall.
Thursday, March 2, 2023, at 8 pm, Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, Lexington Avenue at 66th Street
Pre-concert Talk at 7:15 pm
American Classical Orchestra
Thomas Crawford, conductor
Corrine Byrne, soprano
Sherezade Panthaki, soprano
Sylvia Leith, mezzo-soprano
Daniel Moody, countertenor
Brian Giebler, tenor
Lawrence Jones, tenor
Edmund Milly, bass-baritone
Joseph Parrish, bass-baritone
Marc Schachman, oboe and oboe d’amore
Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats, BWV 42
Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt, BWV 18
Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36
The Church of St. Vincent Ferrer—the venue for this cantata concert—was designed by Bertram Goodhue, completed in 1918, and designated a New York City Landmark in 1967. The word “cantata” comes from the Italian cantare, which means “to sing.” The cantata format—the major form of vocal chamber music in the 17th century—features solos, duets, recitatives, and choruses, with instrumental accompaniment. A prolific composer of the genre, Bach has more than 200 sacred cantatas in his catalogue. His Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats (“Then the same Sabbath at evening”), written in 1725 for the first Sunday after Easter with text from the Gospel of the day, John 20:19-23, tells the story of the risen Christ appearing to his disciples. The composer’s Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt (“Just as the showers and snow from heaven fall”), one of his earliest church works, was composed in Weimar for the second Sunday before Lent. It is notable for its scoring, which has no wind or high string instruments. The program concludes with Bach’s church cantata, Schwingt freudig euch empor (“Soar joyfully upwards”). Written in 1731 for the first Sunday in Advent, it represents his reworking of an earlier secular work, composed to a libretto by the Leipzig poet Picander.
Tickets, priced at $75, $55, and $35 are available at aconyc.org or by calling ACO at 212.362.2727, ext. 4.
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, John Corigliano, 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, 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 received a Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth award from the National Endowment for the Arts, recognizing 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 on 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.