About The American Classical Orchestra

The American Classical Orchestra celebrates classical music performance on original instruments, specializing in repertoire from the 17th-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, Classic, and early Romantic eras. Interested in reviving and preserving the art of playing original instruments, the ACO also fosters the education of musicians and the public in authentic performance technique.

The Orchestra’s mission is to bring classical music to the widest possible audience through an annual subscription concert series, education programs for adults, Classical Music for Kids (an education program for school children and their families) and performance engagements at public and private locations throughout the year. Because the Orchestra is unique in Connecticut and the Tri-State region, it can offer a wide array of innovative educational programs and concerts to underserved audiences.

Comprised of leading period instrumentalists in the New York metropolitan region, the American Classical Orchestra has achieved significant critical acclaim through its performances and professional recordings, concretizing regularly in Connecticut and New York.

In 2000 and 2001, the Orchestra performed extensively in New York including extraordinary new venues; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Yacht Club, the Colony Club, and the Union Club. During the spring of 1992, the Orchestra appeared twice at Lincoln Center on the Great Performers Series. The remarkable progress led to recordings with the internationally acclaimed fortepianist Malcolm Bilson, his first with an American orchestra. Both compact discs, featuring Mozart piano concerti, are available worldwide on the MusicMasters label.

In 1995, the Orchestra released its third commercial recording, which includes Beethoven’s Sextet, Opus 81b and Septet, Opus 20. A review in the prestigious American Record Guide said, “these are wonderfully buoyant performances…The horn players are so skillful that one would almost doubt that they really used period instruments, were it not for the timbre. These equal the best performances now available. What more needs to be said?”

The American Classical Orchestra has made several international recordings including the complete Mozart wind concerti using its principal players as soloists. These three compact discs, released as a boxed set in January 1998 by Musical Heritage Society, sold out in its first printing. They mark the first comprehensive survey of the Mozart wind concerti by an American period instrument ensemble and conductor.

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