American Chamber Ensemble
The American Chamber Ensemble (ACE), founded by pianist Blanche Abram and clarinetist Naomi Drucker, has presented concerts for more than 50 years. In residence at Hofstra University since 1978, ACE, now directed by pianist Marilyn Lehman, is a consortium of distinguished musicians whose concerts explore the music for clarinet and/or piano with strings, woodwinds and/or voice.
Drucker and Abram founded ACE in 1965 when they were young mothers and musicians. They desired to continue making a place for themselves in the world of music but needed to be able to perform close to home. They began their musical partnership with performances in libraries, churches, and for civic organizations. ACE brought imaginative concerts for clarinet and/or piano with strings, woodwinds, and voice to an audience eager to hear music in local venues.
ACE is dedicated to presenting the music of living American composers and has commissioned and presented world premieres by Jonathan Russ, Andres Maldonado, Elie Siegmeister, Meyer Kupferman, Benjamin Lees, Leo Kraft, Julie Mandel, Vally Weigl, Max Lifchitz, David Hollister, Albert Tepper, Marga Richter, Dana Richardson, Edward Smaldone, Jerry Rizzi, Katherine Hoover, Josef Alexander, and Herbert Deutsch.
They have performed music by American composers Andre Previn, Peter Schickele, Morton Gould, Judith Lang Zaimont, Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Leonard Bernstein, Vally Weigl, Haskell Small, Robert Muczynski, Philip James, Angelo Musolino, Miriam Gideon, Daniel Gregory Mason, Charles Ives, George Kleinsinger, Douglas Moore, Amy Beach, George Gershwin, Alan Hovhaness, Robert Starer, and many others. They have recorded for Elysium, Leonarda, Gasparo, Soundspells, Cala, Dionysus & 4Tay, including complete disks of the music of Peter Schickele, Albert Tepper, Meyer Kufperman, and Herbert Deutsch, as well as individual works by Judith Lang Zaimont, George Kleinsinger, Elliott Carter, Virgil Thomson, Gary Schocker, and Douglas Moore.
Because ACE is based on Long Island, it has included a work celebrating the Festival of Long Island Composers at each concert since 1980. The purpose is to help its audiences realize that today's composer is their neighbor whose contribution to our culture, although relatively unrecognized, is very important.
Current ACE performers are pianist Marilyn Lehman, violinist Eriko Sato, and cellist Chris Finckel.