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American Chamber Ensemble: “passionate performance” engages entire audience

By Jessica Braveman


Photo courtesy of Grace Finlayson

On a Sunday afternoon, one wouldn’t expect to see a Hofstra University lecture hall completely filled. However, when the American Chamber Ensemble plays, it is always expected. The American Chamber Ensemble (ACE) performed their fall concert on Sunday, Oct. 26, drawing a typically large crowd to the Helene Fortunoff Theater in Monroe Lecture Center.

ACE is composed of talented Hofstra Music Department faculty Professor Blanche Abram, piano; Naomi Drucker, clarinet; Marilyn Lehman, piano; as well as Eriko Sato, violin and Chris Finckel, cello. This weekend’s performance also featured Stanley Drucker, a distinguished clarinetist, as their guest artist. ACE performed works by composers Frédéric Chopin, Bedrich Smetana, Igor Stravinsky, Francis Poulenc and Ludwig van Beethoven.

The beauty and difficulty of each work demonstrated the deep knowledge of the music faculty. Crowd favorites included the “Trio in g minor, Op. 15” by Smetana and the “Trio in Bb Major, Op. 11” by Beethoven, both performances receiving loud cheers from the audience.

A notable part of the concert was Stanley Drucker’s performance of Stravinsky’s “3 Pieces for Clarinet.” While the pieces are short in length, they are intriguing due to their high level of difficulty. All eyes in the audience were glued to Drucker as his fingers flew up and down the keys of his clarinet. The Stravinsky work built up the audience’s excitement, engaging them as the opening song following intermission.

The Smetana work, featuring Abram, Sato and Finckel, was divided into three movements, “Moderato assai-piu animato,” “Allegro ma non agitato” and “Finale-Presto,” each slowly building in speed to a grand finale. Beethoven’s “Trio in Bb Major, Op. 11,” performed by Naomi Drucker, Finckel and Lehman, similarly constructed into three movements, was the perfect choice for the final piece of the performance.

Its third movement, famously known for it’s numerous variations off of a singular theme, was the perfect end to the concert, keeping the audience at the edge of their seats, speeding up and down multiple times before finally coming to an exciting close.

The American Chamber Ensemble always puts on a passionate performance, wowing the audience with their skill and enthusiasm for the music. ACE has built quite the following over the years and never disappoints.

For a list of all up coming ACE events, head to

Photo courtesy of Grace Finlayson

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