TŌN Begins a New Season on WMHT Live!

The Orchestra Now is thrilled to once again have our concerts broadcast on WMHT Live! Tune in to WMHT-FM 89.1/88.7, serving Eastern New York and Western New England, to hear our concerts recorded live at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College.

For a full schedule of upcoming broadcasts, visit the Watch & Listen page on this website and click on “Radio Schedule.”




TŌN Launched New WWFM Broadcast Series and Opens its Second Season of Radio Concerts with WMHT

New York, New York, October 19, 2018 — The Orchestra Now (TŌN) begins its third Rose Theater season at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 3pm.  Led by the renowned conductor, composer, visual artist, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Tan Dun, the program will be highlighted by the U.S. premiere of his Cello Concerto: Intercourse of Fire and Water, performed by Chinese soloist Jing Zhao in her Lincoln Center debut. The concert also includes another Tan Dun work: Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds, commissioned by Carnegie Hall in 2015 for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States. The music draws on forms from East and West, ancient and modern, and incorporates birdsong produced by smartphone.

Of special note in the Orchestra’s fall season, TŌN recently launched a new broadcast series on WWFM – The Classical Network station serving New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and around the world at wwfm.org. The programs are part of WWFM’s exclusive “The Classical Network in Concert” series and will be hosted by Carl Hemmingsen and the next performance will air on Friday November 9 at 8 pm. More information is available at wwfm.org. TŌN’s second broadcast season with WMHT, serving Eastern New York and Western New England, will start on October 28 and details are available at wmht.org.

Tan Dun & Respighi’s Pines of Rome
Sunday November 11, 2018 at 3 pm
Tan Dun, conductor
Jing Zhao, cello
Smetana: Vltava (The Moldau) from Má Vlast (My Country)
Tan Dun: Cello Concerto: Intercourse of Fire and Water (U.S. Premiere)
Tan Dun: Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds
Respighi: Pines of Rome

The next performance in the series will present guest conductor Fabio Luisi in works by Brahms and Grieg on March 26, 2019.

The Orchestra Now
The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is a group of more than 60 vibrant young musicians from 14 different countries around the globe: the United States, Bulgaria, China, France, Hungary, Malaysia, Mongolia, Peru, Poland, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Venezuela. All share a mission to make orchestral music relevant to 21st-century audiences. Hand-picked from hundreds of applicants from the world’s leading conservatories—including The Juilliard School, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Royal Conservatory of Brussels, and the Curtis Institute of Music—the members of TŌN are not only rousing audiences with their critically acclaimed performances, but also enlightening curious minds by presenting on-stage introductions and demonstrations at concerts, offering program notes written from the musicians’ perspective, and connecting with patrons through one-on-one discussions during intermissions. To date, members of TŌN have earned positions with orchestras across the United States and in Europe. Some play regularly with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony.

Conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein founded TŌN in 2015 as a master’s degree program at Bard College, where he also serves as president. The Orchestra is in residence at Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, offering multiple concerts there each season as well as participating in the annual Bard Music Festival. The Orchestra also performs numerous concert series at major venues in New York, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as a schedule of free performances across New York City boroughs. TŌN has collaborated with many distinguished conductors, including Fabio Luisi, Neeme Järvi, Gerard Schwarz, and JoAnn Falletta.

For upcoming activities and more detailed information about the musicians, visit theorchestranow.org.

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein brings a renowned career as both a conductor and educator to his role as music director of The Orchestra Now. He has been music director of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992, artistic co-director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival since their creation, and president of Bard College since 1975. He was the music director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 2003–2011 and is now conductor laureate. This year he has assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria. Mr. Botstein is also a frequent guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, has made numerous recordings, and is a prolific author and music historian. He is the editor of the prestigious The Musical Quarterly and has received many honors for his contributions to music. More info online at LeonBotstein.com.

Press Contacts:
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: pascal@pascalnadon.com

Mark Primoff
Associate Vice President of Communications
Bard College
Phone: 845.758.7412
Email: primoff@bard.edu

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Elgar’s Symphony No. 1

Notes by TŌN bassoonist Adam Romey

Fits and Starts
Elgar considered the creation of a large-scale symphony to be a crowning musical achievement. Like many composers following in the footsteps of Ludwig van Beethoven, he found the task quite daunting. In 1898, he began conceiving of a symphony that would tell the story of British military hero General Charles George Gordon, as a nod to Beethoven’s initial dedication of his Eroica symphony to Napoleon. Over the next three years, his best friend wrote a story outline, Elgar drafted a theme, and his wife reported hearing morsels of symphonic sketches. When a friend offered him a commission in 1901, Elgar declined and abandoned the project. He accepted another commission in 1904, but soon backed out. It wasn’t until 1907 that he finally began work on what would become his first symphony.

The Reception
Symphony No. 1 was finished in October of 1908 and premiered that December. It was enthusiastically received, and triumphantly declared the first great English symphony. Conductor Hans Richter called it “the greatest symphony of modern times.” Not only did the applause of the audience summon Elgar to the stage five times, the piece was performed more than 80 times around the world over the next year. While this symphony, like most of Elgar’s music, faded from non-British concert programs as the century progressed, it has begun to make a comeback in American concert halls. It has a healthy discography, though primarily by British orchestras, and the piece is admired by listeners and scholars alike.

The Music
One of the defining characteristics of both Elgar’s music and personality is the contrast between emotional episodes of vulnerable, inner experience and raw, anxious, unpredictable outbursts. The opening melody of the piece, marked ‘noble and simple’ in the score, begins intimately and steadily gains confidence, before dramatically launching off in other directions. Often, multiple and sometimes conflicting feelings are expressed, such as in the second movement’s alternation between the agitated drama with which it begins, and the punctuations of emotions equally playful, wistful, and melancholic. Considered by many to be the fullest realization of Elgar’s lyricism, the third movement showcases the orchestral forces in both broad sweeps and intimate detail, the way a skilled painter uses different brushes and colors across a canvas. Elgar’s self-doubt and earnest artistic devotion on his journey toward creating this symphony can be heard in the piece itself, particularly in the return of the opening melody at the end of the fourth movement in a grand restatement that was, for him, years in the making.

Joachim’s Hamlet Overture

Notes by TŌN horn player Ethan Brozka

The Composer
Joseph Joachim is known by many people solely because of his career as a performer. He was a violin virtuoso in the most outsized 19th-century way. His reputation was, and remains still, larger than life. But besides being Brahms’ favorite violinist, a pedagogical authority, and a sought-after performer all across Europe, Joachim was also a hard-working and well-studied, if relatively unprolific, composer. He lived in the era in which Romanticism was nearing its peak and the link between poetry and music was becoming more functional and symbiotic, in the style of Liszt.

The Subject
Hamlet is the subject of our first piece, and since the narrative of this play is considered far ahead of its time, one could easily argue that the content of the play is downright Romantic. There’s an introspective hero, copious amounts of dramatic irony, unrequited love, a usurped throne, and plenty of other poignant material around which to craft a dramatic musical narrative. The play’s eponymous hero is perhaps the most Romantic element of all. Hamlet is told from the first scene to avenge his father’s untimely death, and despite this very clear instruction, he spends the duration of the play in emotional and moral turmoil, struggling with how to do the deed. This in itself is a vivid portrayal of the archetypal Romantic hero. You’ll hear this turmoil reflected in the music—indecisive and mysterious—as well as hints of Brahms and Berlioz.

The Reception
This overture may be new to many listeners, and it did meet with limited success when it was first premiered in several places throughout Europe. The composer worked diligently and tirelessly on this piece for many years, sending drafts to his mentors and revising furiously, never quite satisfied with the results. Joachim believed in one case that the orchestra was at fault, writing in a letter, “Yes, if only they were all sensitive souls! — but the musicians blow and bow the notes so coarsely — and what in my mind was a sigh or a joyful Ach! was a crass horn tone — a screechy fiddle bow noise — why are there so many workmen, only!!” The work has been more present in orchestral programming in the past half-century, however, and Joachim is posthumously widening his reputation beyond being solely a violinist.

Meet the Musicians of TŌN

All season long we’ll be introducing you to our fabulous musicians in the video series Meet the Musicians of TŌN.

Get to know a little more about their journeys and what it’s like to pursue music as a career.