By Ed Kliszus

NEW YORK – American Classical Orchestra presents Astronomical, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York

Under Maestro Crawford’s able baton, the ACO and soloists presented an imaginative, innovative, and marvelous collection of 18th-century musical gems performed by a fine orchestra. Using period instruments, the ensemble projected a historically rich and authentic musical experience characterized by warmth, clarity, and a distinct period sound.


Tonight’s concert was more than just a performance, it was a magical, immersive experience where listeners transcended time to revel in the authenticity of the music’s epoch. Indeed, the evening was a delightful journey into the heart of 18th-century music, illuminated by the virtuosity of master musicians and the rich acoustics of a hall resonating with historical sonic poetry.

Period Instruments

For those new to “period instruments’, features include gut strings that create warmth and a softer, rounder tone, the use of baroque bows, wooden transverse flutes, 18th century double reeds (oboes and bassoons), natural horns and trumpets, timpani with natural skin heads, minimal use of vibrato, and Maestro Crawford conducting as he performed on the harpsichord continuo.

Jessica Park, Violin

The concert began with Johan Daniel Berlin’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, performed by violin soloist Jessica Park. Park deftly navigated the work’s intricate ornamentation and quick passage work, highlighting virtuosity and rich sound. Her interplay with the orchestra created a conversational, engaging quality evoking buoyant delights and tenderness, gradually building to a triumphant conclusion.

Subtle Stylings

Jessica Park, Violin, Photo by David Noles. Gonzalo-Ruiz, Oboe. Courtesy

Jessica Park, Violin, Photo by David Noles. Gonzalo-Ruiz, Oboe. Courtesy

In CPE Bach’s Symphony in B Minor, listeners sensed the composer’s subtle stylings, as evidenced by the work’s sudden contrasts and expressive melodic lines. Rapid shifts in mood and tempo produced excitement while engaging listeners.

Gonzalo Ruiz, Oboe

Oboist Gonzalo Ruiz joined the orchestra for William Herschel’s Oboe Concerto No. 1 in E flat major. Performing with a period instrument, Ruiz exhibited exquisite control, virtuosity, and breath support that made the oboe lines soar while authentic ornamentation and cadenzas enhanced the performance.


During the concert, Maestro Thomas Crawford explained many features of the music. He called on orchestra sections to demonstrate excerpts as he elucidated insights into the music’s structures, inspiration, and purposes.

Brilliance, Wit, and Charm

Moreover, Crawford shared his keenly informed insights about the music that earned positive, significant audience responses to his witticisms and humor. Like those around me, I couldn’t help but chuckle—I even ruminated about concerts I attended long ago where Peter Schickele similarly shared his brilliance, wit, and charm. Crawford’s exploratory references to “Astronomical” forces were hilarious!


As the final notes of Mozart’s exquisite Jupiter Symphony resonated in the hall, the audience rose, revitalized, and inspired. This evening of virtuosity, authenticity, and masterful programming produced an unforgettable concert that left intuitive listeners deeply and artistically connected to the past and profoundly uplifted by the timeless beauty and expression of 18th-century music.

American Classical Orchestra presents Astronomical

Conducted by Founder & Artistic Director Thomas Crawford

Johan Daniel Berlin Concerto á 5 in A Major, Jessica Park, Violin
CPE Bach Symphony in B minor
William Herschel Oboe Concerto No. 1 in E-flat, Gonzalo Ruiz, Oboe
Mozart Symphony 41 in C (Jupiter)

American Classical Orchestra

PO Box 366
New York, NY 10025-0007
Office: (212) 362-2727
Click HERE for information and Tickets

Readers may also enjoy our reviews of American Classical Orchestra Performs Bach’s B Minor Mass, Oratorio Society of NY Performs Mahler, Beethoven, and Karen P. Thomas, and the  Park Avenue Chamber Symphony Records Tchaikovsky.