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, 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.