The Clarion Orchestra was founded in 1957 by conductor and musicologist Newell Jenkins. Beginning on modern instruments, then switching to period instruments in the 1970s, Clarion became one of the first period ensembles with a concert series in the United States. Shortly after Jenkins’ tenure, the series had a nearly ten-year hiatus until its revival in 2006 by the Clarion Board of Directors and Steven Fox. Since its revival the Orchestra has received critical acclaim, being called ‘stellar’ and ‘polished’ by The New York Times, and ‘legendary’ by The New Yorker. Many of the ensemble members are acclaimed as solo and chamber musicians and serve on renowned music faculties at The Juilliard School, Bard College, SUNY Purchase, Mannes School of Music and Yale School of Music; other members of the Orchestra are recent graduates of such programs. The Orchestra has played on such prestigious stages as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Frick Collection in repertoire that has ranged from the early Baroque to the early Romantic. In 2009, The Clarion Orchestra was featured in Jonathan Miller’s iconic production of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at BAM. And in the spring of 2017, the Orchestra, in collaboration with Christodora, produced its first-ever staged opera production, Mozart's Magic Flute. The sold-out performances received critical acclaim in The New York Times, Opera News, The New York Concert Review and London's Opera magazine, which reported, 'the generously sized period orchestra played superbly.' In recent years, the Orchestra has been a recipient of three Art Works grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.
One of the country’s leading professional vocal ensembles, The Clarion Choir has performed on some of the greatest stages of North America and Europe. The group was featured on PBS’s NYC-Arts program in 2014, and their debut recording released August 2016, received a 2017 GRAMMY® nomination for Best Choral Performance, and a nomination for the BBC Music Magazine Choral Award in England. The Choir's Lincoln Center debut at the 2011 White Light Festival was described by The Wall Street Journal as 'superb…the choristers sang with purity of tone and ensemble precision.'In 2014, the choir gave the New York premiere of Passion Week by Maximilian Steinberg, praised as ‘a stunning performance’ by The New York Times. And in October 2016, the Choir premiered this same work in Moscow and St. Petersburg, where it was written in 1923, and in London. The Russian premiere, made possible by the United States Department of State, was hailed on Russian television (Vesti Rossiya 24) as 'one of the best examples of cooperation between our countries;' and the London performance at the Royal Academy of Music was called 'a beautiful UK premiere... expertly paced by the conductor Steven Fox, the singing was fluid and full of light and shade' by The Times (UK).
Conductor Steven Fox is Artistic Director of The Clarion Choir and The Clarion Orchestra, and Founder of Musica Antiqua St. Petersburg, which he established as Russia’s first period-instrument orchestra at the age of 21. A 2017 GRAMMY®-nominee, he has appeared as a guest conductor with many renowned ensembles such as Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco, Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, Juilliard415 at Lincoln Center, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, l’Opéra de Québec, Music of the Baroque in Chicago and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. His performances have also taken him to some of the most prestigious halls internationally, such as the Grand Philharmonic Hall and Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Rachmaninoff Hall in Moscow, the Duke's Hall of London, and the Vatican.
From 2008 to 2013 he was an Associate Conductor at New York City Opera, and he has served as Assistant Conductor for the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Program and Juilliard Opera. He is the conductor of the Taghkanic Chorale since 2007 and the Pro Arte Chorale since 2011.
Steven has been called 'an esteemed director' by The New Yorker and 'visionary' by BBC Music Magazine. Of a recent performance with The Clarion Choir, The New York Times praised his ‘deft guidance’ and wrote: ‘an inspired interpretation. Mr. Fox revealed the drama of the score with vivid dynamic shadings. Intonation and pacing were exemplary throughout the performance.’
In 2014, Steven and The Clarion Choir were featured on PBS performing parts of the lost Russian masterwork Passion Week by Maximilian Steinberg. The piece had been written in 1923 in St. Petersburg yet never performed, due to the Bolshevik ban on sacred music. Later in 2014, Clarion gave the New York premiere of the work, which was called ‘a stunning performance’ by The New York Times. And in the fall of 2016, Steven and Clarion, with the aid of the United States Department of State, gave the Russian premiere of the work nearly 90 years after it was written, with performances in St. Petersburg and Moscow, as well as in London. The debut performances in Russia were featured on Russian television and called ‘one of the best examples of cooperation between our two countries' by Vesti Rossiya 24, and the debut in London was called a ‘beautiful UK premiere...expertly paced by the conductor Steven Fox, the singing was fluid and full of light and shade' by The Times (UK).
Their recording of that same work, released on the Naxos label in August 2016, drew international acclaim and numerous honors. It was awarded '5 Diapasons' by Diapason magazine (France), and received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Choral Performance. The recording also was nominated for the annual Choral Award given by BBC Music Magazine (UK), in which the recording received 5 stars and was the Choral & Song Feature for the December 2017 issue.
In 2017, Steven and The Clarion Orchestra mounted the organization's first fully-staged opera production, Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. The production, staged by renowned Canadian director Alain Gauthier, was called 'a deft reach across two centuries' by The New York Times and 'a delight, on all fronts' by Opera magazine (UK).
Steven was named an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, in 2010 ‘for significant contributions to his field in music.’ He has given master classes and clinics at Dartmouth College, The Juilliard School and Yale University, where he served for two years as preparatory conductor of the Yale Schola Cantorum.
James Estrin/The New York Times/Redux
‘Never seen in 20 years, I swear. The 100 choristers were ready to follow their conductor to the end of the world, because the presence of Steven Fox made all the difference. The American conductor distinguishes himself [with] astonishing results from his troops. What work he has accomplished.’ Le Soleil, on debut with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, 23 April 2015