Holiday Chamber Concert: Noël
Featuring soprano Nola Richardson
American Classical Orchestra presents a program of chamber music to usher in the holiday season. From De Lalande’s joyful Noëls to Corelli’s darker-hued Christmas Concerto, the beauty and subtlety of this music will shine through in the ideal setting and acoustic of Saint Ignatius of Antioch. Rising star soprano Nola Richardson joins the ensemble for Alessandro Scarlatti’s pastoral Christmas Cantata.
Program: A. Scarlatti, Christmas Cantata
Corelli, Christmas Concerto
M. Delalande, Noëls
Tickets: $35 General Admission; $75 Prime Seating, includes festive post-concert
OR Call: 212-362-2727
OR at the door
About the Soloist:
Making her mark as an "especially impressive" (The New York Times) soprano, Australian/American Nola Richardson has won First Prize in all three major American competitions focused on the music of J.S. Bach (Bethlehem Bach, 2016; Audrey Rooney Bach, 2018; Grand Rapids Symphony Linn Maxwell Keller Award, 2019). These honors have catapulted her to the forefront of Baroque ensembles and orchestras around the country, where she has been praised for her "astonishing balance and accuracy,” “crystalline diction,” and “natural-sounding ease” (Washington Post).
Nola’s 2019-2020 season will feature her debuts with the Seattle Symphony (Handel Messiah), Philharmonia Baroque (Bach Coffee Cantata), Tenet (in concert with American violinist Hilary Hahn), Bach Akademie Charlotte (works of Bach, Schütz and Scarlatti), Mineola Choral Society (Haydn Creation) and an appearance at the Leipzig Bach Festival 2020 as a soloist with the Bethlehem Bach Society. She will make her stage debut next summer at the Caramoor Festival in Rameau’s Dardanus, directed by Julian Wachner and James Darrah. Return solo engagements include the American Bach Soloists, American Classical Orchestra (Scarlatti Christmas Cantata), Colorado Bach Ensemble, Madison Bach Ensemble, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and Seraphic Fire.
The 2018-2019 season featured debuts with the Grand Rapids Symphony (Bach Mass in A), the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado (Bach Cantata 51; Monteverdi Orfeo), and appearances with the American Classical Orchestra (Bach Cantata 147), Baltimore Choral Arts Society (Brahms Requiem), and the Master Chorale of South Florida (Haydn Creation). Her debut that season at the Kennedy Center with Opera Lafayette (Fraarte in Handel Radamisto) drew praise for her “particularly appealing freshness and directness” (Washington Post).
Ms. Richardson has also made appearances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, the Colorado Symphony, and the Madison Bach Musicians (Belinda in Dido and Aeneas); sang the premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s Carroll in Numberland (alongside soprano Dawn Upshaw) at Tanglewood; and gave a recital at the National Cathedral with Baroque trumpeter Josh Cohen and ACRONYM. Her performances as Maria Magdalena in Handel La Resurrezione and a program of French Baroque music with the American Bach Soloists drew praise for her "lusciously polished... exemplary impassioned singing" (San Francisco Classical Voice).
A frequent of Mozart operatic roles, she has sung Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Madame Silberklang (Der Schauspieldirektor) with Bel Cantanti Opera, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Maryland Concert Opera, Gianetta in L'elisir D'amore with Emerald City Opera, and gave a “standout” performance (Opera News) as the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte with the Clarion Music Society.
As a dedicated ensemble and chamber musician, Nola frequently appears with GRAMMY® nominated professional choirs Seraphic Fire (with whom she has performed solos at the Aspen Music Festival under conductors Robert Spano and Xian Zhang), the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and the Clarion Music Society, with whom she went on an international tour of Handel Semele with The English Concert and Harry Bicket.
An Australian by birth, Nola has spent most of her life in the US. She holds a BM from Illinois Wesleyan University and dual MM degrees in Vocal Performance and Early Music from the Peabody Conservatory. She was a young artist with the Boston Early Music Festival, a vocal fellow at Tanglewood, a Marc and Eva Stern Fellow at Songfest, and most recently, a Carmel Bach Festival Virginia Best Adams Fellow in 2019. Nola attended the Institute of Sacred Music Program and is currently finishing her DMA at Yale on a full scholarship.
About Thomas Crawford:
Artistic Director and Founder of the American Classical Orchestra, Thomas Crawford is a champion of historically accurate performance styles in Baroque, Classical and Early Romantic music. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with renowned soloists including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, André Watts, Dawn Upshaw, Richard Goode, and Vladimir Feltsman; and has produced recordings with great American pianists Malcolm Bilson and Keith Jarrett.
A passionate activist determined to bring the beauty of period music to a wider audience, Crawford has been applauded for the ACO’s dynamic music outreach to New York City schoolchildren. He holds a Bachelor of Music in composition and organ performance from Eastman School of Music, where he studied choral and orchestral conducting under Samuel Adler. After graduation, he went on to train with Hugo Fiorato, conductor of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and to earn a Master of Arts in composition from Columbia University.
About American Classical Orchestra:
Described as “simply splendid” by The New York Times, the American Classical Orchestra (ACO) is a leader in the field of historically accurate performance. A period instrument ensemble devoted to preserving and performing the repertoire of 17th, 18th, and 19th century composers, ACO recreates the sound world of the masters using priceless historic instruments, as well as era-specific performance techniques. Comprising many of the world’s top period instrumentalists, the ACO provides audiences with the opportunity to experience classical music in the specific way it was intended to be heard.
Highlights of the ACO's history include a concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with the Museum’s exhibition Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825–1861, a debut concert on the Lincoln Center Great Performers Series, a sold-out 25th Anniversary performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and a staged performance of Handel's opera Alceste as part of the ACO's Handelfest 2014.
Founded by Artistic Director Thomas Crawford in 1984 as The Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy in Fairfield, Connecticut, the American Classical Orchestra moved to New York City in 2005, emerging as one of the City’s premier period instrument ensembles.
The ACO is dedicated to the appreciation and understanding of classical music through educational programs, and spreading historically-informed performance practices to new generations. In order to provide audiences with first-hand insight into the music, Music Director Thomas Crawford gives informative concert previews with live musical examples from the orchestra at the beginning of each concert. In 2019, ACO launched The Sfzp Project, a three-year initiative to elevate the study and performance of the fortepiano, including an international concerto competition, whose winner is given a featured appearance with the orchestra, among other prizes. Finally, through its immersive in-school program, Classical Music for Kids, the orchestra has inspired hundreds of thousands of young students and musicians. For this work, the ACO was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant and Early Music America prize. For more information, visit www.aconyc.org.
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