Directed by Marilyn Lehman, ACE was founded in 1965 by pianist Blanche Abram and clarinetist Naomi Drucker. In residence at Hofstra University, the ensemble explores the great chamber music literature for piano, strings, woodwinds and voice and presents performances featuring world-class artists. ACE consists of the finest freelance musicians in the New York area and has been cited by critics for their superb presentations of chamber masterworks.
ACE is dedicated to presenting the music of living American composers and has commissioned and presented World Premieres by Joelle Wallach, Martin Wind, 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 Long Island based, it has, since 1980, included a work celebrating the Festival of Long Island Composers on many of its concerts. The purpose is to help our audience realize that today's composer is their neighbor whose contribution to our culture, although relatively unrecognized, is very important.
Core members of the American Chamber Ensemble are Marilyn Lehman, piano, Blanche Abram, piano, Mindy Dragovich, clarinet, Eriko Sato, violin, Deborah Wong, violin, Lois Martin, viola and Chris Finckel, cello. Frequent guest artists are Stanley Drucker, clarinet and Karen Lehman DiMartino, soprano.
- Board of Directors
- Peter Lehman, President
- Linda Russ, Vice President
- Eileen Benedict, Treasurer
- Jeffrey James, Secretary
- Marilyn Lehman
- Adam Levin
- Judy Levin
- Mindy Dragovich
The 2015-16 season marked the 50th Anniversary of the American Chamber Ensemble. In 1965 Directors Naomi Drucker, clarinetist and Blanche Abram, pianist, then young mothers and musicians, were determined to continue making their place in the world of music. In a very different world from today, with a strong sense of place and the need to perform close to home, the music journey began 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 a local venue.
Now in their 6th decade of continuous performances, ACE, directed by Marilyn Lehman, has a superb reputation and loyal audience for its concerts, recordings, commissions, World Premieres and support of American music and Long Island composers. In 1978, ACE began a residency at Hofstra University, which continues to this day.
Although venues have included the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, 92nd St. Y, CAMI Hall, Christ and St. Stephen's Church, the Nassau County Museum of Art and prestigious universities, it is the Long Island audience which is the soul of the American Chamber Ensemble.