KCO Rinde Eckert Gary Fagin by Robert Simko MEDIUM.jpg
Marin and Gary.JPG
 Photo credit: Kevin Yatarola

Photo credit: Kevin Yatarola

Since its first concert in 2009, the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra (KCO) has performed in Lower Manhattan’s most inspiring performing spaces -- the soaring atrium of the World Financial Center Winter Garden, the inspiring vaulted space of Trinity Church, Pace University's state-of-the-art Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts -- and at smaller venues around Lower Manhattan, including numerous schools. We've featured soloists of world-renown at these performances. Audiences indoors and out have risen to waltz and children have sat entranced in their school auditoriums.

Founded by Downtown resident Gary S. Fagin -- an accomplished conductor, composer and educator -- the KCO is the only professional chamber orchestra based in Lower Manhattan. The KCO is a meshing of the old and the new—classical music played by top contemporary musicians, performed in the fast-growing neighborhoods of old New York, in venues steps away from cobblestone streets and wireless skyscrapers. Until the KCO was founded, there were few programs in Lower Manhattan devoted to the great classical music repertoire.

Highlights of the KCO's presentations include the January 2010 world premiere at the World Financial Center Winter Garden of Mr. Fagin’s composition “And Bold To Fall Withal (Henry Hudson In The New World),” featuring Broadway star Jason Danieley singing the story of Henry Hudson’s arrival in New York Harbor 400 years ago. The January 2011 world premiere of Mr. Fagin's music theater work "Robert Moses Astride New York," also at the Winter Garden, featured visionary performer Rinde Eckert portraying controversial NYC builder Robert Moses. Mr. Eckert joined the KCO in October 2014 at the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY, for another Moses performance.

Click here for "Sing of the Master Builder," a New York Times Arts section cover story about this work.

Notably, the KCO has performed three extraordinary concerts at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocuast in Lower Manhattan. Broadway's Marin Mazzie starred in "Music for the Tempest Tost: A Tribute to Emma Lazarus" in June 2012. In May 2013,  "Banished Genius: Emigre Composers in America" at the museum featured singer/actor Henry Stram. One year later, in May 2014, the KCO presented "Pièces de Résistance: Music Celebrating the Polish Spirit," featuring violin virtuoso Shir Levy.

Read an article by International Musician on Belinda Whitney, concertmaster and personnel manager for The Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra. 

"...I love that I’m involved with the Harlem Chamber Players and Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra, which put on children’s concerts. Investing in others is really important because that’s what brought me here...”

KCO Mission

  • Perform classical orchestral repertoire in Lower Manhattan, where the city's 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century history is most resonant

  • Offer interactive, educational outreach programs

  • Provide classical music ensembles for downtown public and private events.


Since the first year of our Youth Outreach program in 2009, the KCO has reached thousands of young people, from kindergarten to twelfth grade, at both public and private schools. Click here to learn more.

Please convey our deep appreciation to all of the musicians who performed for us this morning. What happened was beautiful, elegant, moving, incredibly professional, and ear-opening. More importantly for my kids, I was able to teach some great lessons last week to prepare them for your presentation today, and am having more great lessons afterward as they analyze your performance and make connections to the past, our current culture, and their own role in our society’s future.
— Nate Sutton, Band Director, Manhattan Academy of Technology (PS/IS 126)


"The name "Knickerbocker" first acquired meaning through Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859), American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century, best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle.”...

Click here to read more on the term Knickerbocker on Gary S. Fagin's blog, plus other entries


An active member of the Lower Manhattan community, Gary S. Fagin leads the KCO as part of his mission to lift the spirit and aesthetic presence of Lower Manhattan in the New York City cultural landscape. Click here to learn more about Gary S. Fagin.