American Chamber Orchestra
with The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut
american chamber orchestra
with The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut
Featuring Stephanie Gregory, Soprano
and Thomas Woodman, Baritone
Under the Direction of Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell
March 12, 2022 at 7:30pm
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT
April 2, 2022 at 7:30pm
The Quick Center
1073 N. Benson rd. Fairfield, CT
adding the Fairfield Glee Club of the Fairfield University
Christopher James Hisey, Music Director
ACO Winter Concert 2022
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut
The American Chamber Orchestra is a 65-member ensemble based in Fairfield County, Connecticut. We perform high baroque, classical, and early romantic repertory, and selected modern works, regularly including young professional musicians in our programs as featured soloists. Founded in 2003 by Music Director Christopher James Hisey and a group of dedicated amateur musicians, we have presented more than 30 very successful concerts in Fairfield, Norwalk, and Bridgeport.
June 12, 2004, the orchestra performed the world premiere of ‘Symphony – Wind River’ by Rex Cadwallader, an Emmy award-winning American composer.
February 11, 2006, we premiered Ed Thompson's orchestral suite 'Five in Fairfield,' depicting five places in Fairfield County.
In February 2011, the premiere of Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra, a commissioned work by Dr. Rex Cadwallader, was presented and performed by Brett Altman.
In July 2005, the orchestra traveled to Vienna, Salzburg, and Prague, presenting four concerts during the tour. In July 2007, 83 members, family and friends traveled through Northern Italy, visiting Parma, Padua, Cremona, Lucca, Florence, Ravenna, Venice and Milan and giving four performances with well-attended audiences. In July 2009, the American Chamber Orchestra traveled the Scottish Highlands giving three wonderful performances including one in a real castle! The group's most recent trip to Spain in July 2012 included sightseeing in Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Zaragossa and Barcelona including three performances - the last of which was in a 12th century convent!
Members of the American Chamber Orchestra, family and friends traveled to Southern England and Ireland in July 2015, performing at the Frome Festival and at the chapel at Dublin Castle. Visited Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and viewed one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta which celebrated its 800th Anniversary during 2015; visited the Roman Baths and took a ferry ride to Dublin where we visited the Old Jameson Distillery and Temple Bar along with Trinity College where we say the Book of Kells. It was difficult to come back to the states!
The American Chamber Orchestra chooses the finest in orchestral literature to share with our audience. Artists who have appeared with the orchestra include Jenny Lind Award-winning soprano Stephanie Gregory, trumpeter Zebediah Upton, violinists Edita Orlinyte and Jinyeong Jessica Lee, violists Fiona Winnig and Yaroslav Kargin, cellists Rebecca Patterson and Kangho Lee, pianist Assaff Weisman, and organist Ed Thompson.
A champion of new music Maestro Hisey frequently premieres new works.
Emmy Award Winning composer Rex Cadwallader recently said of Maestro Hisey’s work, “He is an advocate for new music, and a caring and careful medium through whom my music has been brought gracefully and powerfully to life.”
Conductor Christopher James Hisey is the Music Director and Founder of the American Chamber Orchestra, Music Director and Founder of the Connecticut Philharmonic and Music Director of the Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras.
He has also served as the Music Director of the Civic Orchestra of New Haven, Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra, the Troupers Light Opera Company, and Perrysburg Symphony Chorale as well as the Associate Conductor of both the Perrysburg Symphony and the Bowling Green Philharmonia and Opera Theater Orchestras.
Maestro Hisey has been a frequent guest conductor of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and has made appearances with the Ruse Philharmonic and Pleven Philharmonic in Bulgaria, and the St. Petersburg “Klassika” Symphony, formerly the Leningrad State Philharmonic, in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has conducted concerts throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico and China. In addition, Maestro Hisey has conducted concerts with such notable musicians as Sir James Galway, Tim Janis, Jackie Evancho, James Dunham, Chris Finckel and Deborah Wong.
A passionate and sought after music educator Maestro Hisey frequently appears as guest adjudicator and clinician at schools and festivals throughout the region.
His student orchestras have won top prizes in competition and have been invited to appear at Carnegie Hall, NAFME Eastern Music Festival and other festivals and concerts in the United States and abroad. He has served as Professor of Conducting, Orchestration and Music Director of the Orchestra at Manhattanville College and Professor of Conducting and Music Director of the Orchestra at Fairfield University. For the last 20 years he has served as Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Greens Farms Academy, in Westport, CT.
Maestro Hisey holds a Bachelors degree in Viola Performance from the Eastman School of Music and Master’s Degree in Conducting from Bowling Green State Univeristy. He has been fortunate to study conducting with Emily Freeman Brown, David Effron, Gustav Meier, Donald Portnoy, and Donald Hunsberger.
Mr. Hisey lives in Bridgeport with his wife, Heather and their 4 children, Lauren, Alex, Grace and James.
Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell
One of America’s preeminent conductors of collegiate, community and professional choral ensembles, Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell has been the Director of Choral and Liturgical Music at Fairfield University since 1980. She is also the Founding Artistic Director and Conductor of The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut. In these and all her affiliations, Dr. Maxwell continuously strives for choral excellence through the total commitment and magnificent voices of thousands of gifted singers who gladly audition and travel great distances for the opportunity to work with her.
Noted for immense energy, consummate professionalism and complete dedication to the choral arts, Dr. Maxwell’s mission is to inspire and challenge each singer’s musical potential. Combining her talent with a wonderful sense of humor has set Dr. Maxwell aside from other conductors, making her extremely unique, and placing her in great demand. Her distinctive style and artistic leadership have produced critically acclaimed results from podiums throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. In addition, Dr. Maxwell is a favorite Chorus Master for area orchestras and is a member of the Board of The Fairfield County Children’s Choir. This year will find her choirs singing with The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Maxwell has been recognized for her artistic achievements with numerous awards. In 1992, Immaculata College presented Dr. Maxwell with the prestigious “Distinguished Music Alumna” award. The National Music Honor Society, Pi Kappa Lambda, honored her with membership citing her excellence and outstanding contributions in the field of choral music. The Connecticut Post named Dr. Maxwell a recipient of the “Woman of Substance” Award, celebrating outstanding women of the region, and Oxford Health Care honored her with its Humancare Award for her exceptional efforts in the community. In 2000, Dr. Maxwell was named “Woman of the Year” by Fairfield University Women’s Studies Program. Dr. Maxwell has been named to the National Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu.
A native of Mississippi, Stephanie Gregory made her debut as Magda in Puccini’s La Rondine with the Orchestra Giuseppe Verdi in Milan. She has sung the role of Tosca with Opera Theater of Connecticut, and the title role in Suor Angelica with the Mississippi Opera. She sang her first Mimi in La Bohème with Opera Ischia, a role she reprised with Mississippi Opera, and was featured in the roles of Micaëla in Missouri and South Carolina, as Musetta with the Opera Theater of Connecticut, and Violetta in South Carolina and with the New Opera Festival di Roma, in Rome Italy.
In 2004, she completed a concert tour of South America with the Yale Alumni Chorus as the soprano soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater. She made her debut in the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires with the Orquesta Filarmônica de Buenos Aires. Other cities included were Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and La Plata, Argentina.
Other operatic roles for the 2001 ‘American Jenny Lind’ include Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia, Nannetta in Falstaff, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, Ilia in Idomeneo and Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Opera engagements in 2008 and 2009 included Violetta in La Traviata, as well as reprising the title role of Suor Angelica for Opera Theater of Connecticut.
Her solo work includes Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem and ‘Great’ Mass in C Minor, Samuel Adler’s Stars in the Dust, and Haydn’s Creation and Lord Nelson Mass.
Her first recording, Stars In The Dust, music by Meira Warsheaur, was recorded by the Slovak Radio Orchestra in Bratislava and was released by Albany Records.
Ms. Gregory received a master of music degree in opera performance as well as an artist’s diploma from Yale University. She also graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor of music education degree, specializing in piano and choral conducting.
THOMAS WOODMAN, Baritone
Baritone Thomas Woodman’s career of opera, oratorio, symphonic and recital performances hasbrought him great recognition throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. His most recent performances include the role of the Cavalier in Madeline with The Victor Herbert Renaissance Foundation and Carmina Burana with Maestro Chris Hisey and The Greater Connecticut Youth Symphony. A graduate of the Hartt School, he was a winner of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Woodman started his professional career as a chorister with Connecticut Opera in Hartford and as a soloist with Central City Opera as an apprentice artist while still in college. Upon graduation, he was hired as the Readers Digest Affiliate Artist with the San Francisco Opera and subsequently was a part of the first class of the prestigious SFO Adler Fellowship Program.
Highlights of his performances in San Francisco Opera include The Count in The Marriage of Figaro, Germont in La Traviata and Ping in Turandot.
During that time in San Francisco, he was honored to sing for a State Dinner hosted by President Ronald Reagan for Queen Elizabeth II. His career continued with an engagement with The Darmstadt Staatstheater, singing Der Sekratär in Der Junge Lord in his European debut and then with the Bavarian State Opera where he sang Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Ping, Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte and Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, among other roles.
Upon returning to the United States he debuted with The New York City Opera as The Count and subsequently sang Marcello there in La Bohème. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Valentin in Faust and with last-minute notice, he jumped in to sing Wolfram in Tannhäuser.
Woodman continued to perform throughout North America and Europe; highlights include performing at La Scala in Milan, Italy and in Nice and Lyon, France. His symphonic performances include Händel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Requiem and Mahler’s 8th Symphony at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall.
Locally he has sung with the Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport and Hartford symphonies. He currently is the Bass section leader/soloist at The First Congregational Church of Greenwich and resident Voice Teacher at Greenwich High School. He also has studios in Fairfield and Wilton.
STAY IN THE LOOP