The Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra
Over the past seven years the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra has performed in Lower Manhattan’s most inspiring performing spaces -- the soaring atrium of the World Financial Center Winter Garden, the inspiring vaulted space of Trinity Church, Pace University's state-of-the-art Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts -- and at smaller venues around Lower Manhattan, including numerous schools.
We've featured soloists of world-renown at these concerts (above, tenor Rinde Eckert sings with the KCO in the Winter Garden), and given prominence to KCO's own stellar musicians. Audiences have risen to waltz and children have sat entranced in their school auditoriums, absorbed by the subtlety and range of classical music.
Under the direction of Gary S. Fagin, the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra was founded to reintroduce people to their musical heritage by performing great music in distinctive downtown venues and by offering innovative educational outreach.
The orchestra comprises 25 of the region's top musicians, and was launched on January 17, 2009 at the World Financial Center Winter Garden with "The Red Violin Concert" featuring Elizabeth Pitcairn playing her 1720 Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius violin. One year later, after a triumphant first season, the KCO returned to the Winter Garden and drew 1,500 fans to "Musical Tales and Adventures," a concert starring renowned author Neil Gaiman narrating Prokofiev's "Peter & the Wolf" and Broadway star Jason Danieley in Mr. Fagin's composition "And Bold to Fall Withal – Henry Hudson in the New World" celebrating the 400th anniversary of Hudson's sail into New York Harbor.
On January 15, 2011, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus joined the KCO for "A Celebration of Spirit " at the Winter Garden, where the civic-savvy downtown audience was treated to a preview of Mr. Fagin's new music theatre work about controversial New York city planner and buider Robert Moses, "Robert Moses Astride New York," featuring Mr. Eckert. Click here for "Sing of the Master Builder," a New York Times Arts section cover story about this work. The KCO concluded its third season with three performances of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale (L'histoire du soldat), a collaboration with Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects on June 9, 10 and 11, 2011, at Pace University's Schimmel Center for the Arts. Once again, The New York Times covered the performance; click here to read "Stravinsky's Devil, Reignited."
The KCO returned to the Winter Garden for the fourth annual January concert in 2012 with "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Music!" featuring Broadway soprano Judy Kuhn. April 2012 saw Maestro Fagin and KCO musicians present "Poem in Your Pocket, Song in Your Heart," a concert in the Winter Garden starring children who sang original songs that had begun as poems. Season 4 concluded with an extraordinary concert -- "Music for the Tempest Tost: A Tribute to Emma Lazarus" -- at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. The concert featured Broadway's Marin Mazzie singing the world premiere of Mr. Fagin's "Cantata for the Huddled Masses."
Season Five began with "Music for a Changing World" at Pace University's Schimmel Center for the Arts, featuring celebrated pianist Harumi Hanafusa performing Maurice Ravel's jazz-infused Piano Concerto in G and the American premiere of Akira Nishimura's A Shaman for piano and orchestra, a challenging work, which, in the composer's words, is "an image of the Eastern Asiatic traditional divine service." On May 19, 2013, the KCO presented "Banished Genius: Emigre Composers in America," a concert to herald the opening of the new exhibition "Against the Odds" at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. On June 11, 2013, the KCO set up outside on Brookfield Place Plaza and performed "Shall We Dance," a stylish selection of foxtrots, waltzes and tangoes. Audience members of all ages accepted the KCO's invitation and danced as the sun set.
Click here for information and photos from Season 6.
The Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra is a meshing of the old and the new—classical music played by top contemporary musicians, performed in the fast-growing neighborhoods of old New York, in venues steps away from cobblestone streets and wireless skyscrapers. Please join us as we continue to present superb music in Season 7!