Season Opens with Chaconne, a Virtual Concert Event Featuring 10 Chamber Works and Enhanced Content Filmed at the Harlem Parish Livestreamed Concerts Offer Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola and Symphony No. 29 and a Performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Piano Concerto No. 4
The Sfzp Project Continues with a Recital Marathon of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas, plus Masterclasses, Concerts, and the International Fortepiano Competition
Soloists to Include Singer Guadalupe Peraza; Violinists Karen Dekker, Chloe Fedor, and Aisslinn Nosky; Violist Maureen Murchie; and Fortepianists Sylvia Berry, Shuann Chai, Mike Cheng-Yu Lee, Maria Rose, Dongsok Shin, Petra Somlai, Jiayan Sun,Bart van Oort, and Eric Zivian
New York, NY — American Classical Orchestra (ACO), New York City’s foremost period instrument orchestra, has announced its 2020-21 season, with concerts throughout Manhattan from November 17, 2020 to May 15, 2021 including a recital marathon of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. Under the leadership of Artistic Director and Founder Thomas Crawford, the Orchestra’s 36th season will open on November 17 with Chaconne, a virtual concert event to be offered in two parts including chamber music performances and interviews showcasing the musical genre of the chaconne in 17th and 18th century music. Filmed at the exquisite Neo-Gothic Harlem Parish, known for its remarkable fan vaulting and celebrated acoustics for this music, the program features award-winning Mexican mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Peraza, violinists Karen Dekker and Chloe Fedor, gambist Arnie Tanimoto, theorbo player Charles Weaver, and Thomas Crawford on harpsichord. The digital event will be available online that day at, starting at 7:30 PM EST. Other season highlights include a recital marathon of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas performed on fortepiano by a roster of early music keyboardists from around the globe (May 11–15, 2021) in venues including The Metropolitan Museum of Arts’ André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments; a concert featuring Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola performed by violinist Aisslinn Nosky and violist Maureen Murchie at the New York Society for Ethical Culture; and a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Piano Concerto No. 4, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5. In addition, Mr. Crawford will host a short documentary about Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to stream on December 1, ahead of the composer’s 250th birthday on December 16. The film pairs him with award-winning cinematographer Claudia Raschke (RBG and God Is the Bigger Elvis) and illuminates the compositional techniques that make Beethoven’s 9th Symphony timeless. All 2020-2021 season concerts will be streamed online, available starting on the date of each event. To sign up for reminders for the events, click here. “This is a season of masterworks that I hope will provide solace to our audiences at a time when revisiting the classics can offer a deeply meaningful experience,” said Thomas Crawford. “I have selected this season’s music for its timeless appeal and its ability to unite in an apprehensive world.” The Sfzp ProjectThe season will also feature the continuation of American Classical Orchestra’s Sfzp Project, a three-year cycle of programs and events designed to advance fortepiano performance in New York City and beyond. The Project is led by Thomas Crawford, with Artistic Advisor Malcolm Bilson, the Frederick J. Whiton Professor of Music Emeritus at Cornell University and a recipient of the Smithsonian Institution’s James Smithson Bicentennial Medal for his extraordinary lifetime achievements as a pioneer in the performance of period instruments. The Szfp Project’s three cycles follow the historical trajectory of the fortepiano, bringing together renowned pianists, chamber instrumentalists, vocalists, teachers, and students in masterclasses, scholarly forums, and recitals. The project’s Sfzp title is derived from the term sforzpiano, a dynamic marking – used by Beethoven – that calls for a “sforzando,” a strong, sudden accent in a score, immediately followed by “piano,” a soft sound. Due to the pandemic, the second edition of The Sfzp Project was postponed to 2021. Cycle II of the Project will focus on Beethoven in his 250th year with concerti, chamber, and solo literature from each period of the composer’s life. The unique charisma of the instrument will be exhibited by the young Hungarian artist Petra Somlai in Beethoven’s 5th, a concert featuring a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 (May 11, 2021). Over the course of three days starting on May 12, a roster of internationally-acclaimed artists will play all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas on fortepiano. In collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ACO will present virtual performances, along with behind-the-scenes tours and content, in the André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments. The Sfzp Project will continue its International Fortepiano Competition as well, open to professional-level fortepianists of all nationalities between the ages of 20 and 36. The first Prize winner will perform a concerto on fortepiano with the American Classical Orchestra, and receive a $5,000 cash prize. Among the guest artists and scholars participating in the ACO’s three-year Sfzp Project are David Belkovski (last year’s competition winner), Kristian Bezuidenhout, Sylvia Berry, Malcolm Bilson, Shuann Chai, Vladimir Feltsman, Steven LubinAlexei Lubimov, Jiayan Sun, and Eric Zivian. The winners of this season’s Cycle II Fortepiano Competition will be announced at a chamber music concert on May 15, 2021. For more information, click here.

Concerts, Access, and Attendance
American Classical Orchestra is taking all precautions to safeguard the health and safety of our musicians and audience, while continuing to provide work to our musicians and to produce high caliber performances. ACO is abiding by or exceeding local and state requirements for rehearsals and performances. All 2020-2021 concerts will be presented in a virtual format, either pre-recorded or livestreamed as indicated in this release. The January 27, May 11, and May 15, 2021 performances will be livestreamed, potentially with live audience attendance, pending compliance with social distancing protocols, government guidelines, and requirements for public health and safety. Artists are subject to change due to COVID travel restrictions.

As it is yet unclear when welcoming live audiences will be advisable, ACO will offer Flex Passes valid for live concerts from January 2021 through June 2022 instead of traditional subscriptions and single tickets. The Passes will provide enhanced flexibility during these uncertain times, giving audience members the ability to select and secure tickets to a specified number of concerts. Restrictions apply. Passes are sold in packs of four and two, priced at $275 and $145 for a four-concert pass (25% off regular single ticket prices); and $148 and $79 for a two-concert pass (a 20% discount). Flex Passes will be available beginning October 27, at and also provide free access to all 2020-21 digital performances. Flex Pass purchases prior to December 15 will include an additional free pass. The Passes will not only protect the ticket buyers’ purchases but will also support ACO’s programming.