Leon Botstein Leads Orchestra in Russian Evolution: From Rimsky-Korsakov to Glière

New York, New York, November 26, 2018 — The Orchestra Now (TŌN) begins its fourth season at Carnegie Hall with a concert titled Russian Evolution: From Rimsky-Korsakov to Glière on Friday, December 14 at 7:30 pm.  The program focuses on the drama of Russian music and will also be performed at The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College on Wednesday, December 12 at 7:00 pm.

Rimsky-Korsakov wrote much of his first symphony while serving in the Russian navy, and actually appeared onstage in uniform at the work’s 1865 premiere. Many Russian folk and oriental melodies can be heard in the piece, and nationalists dubbed it the “First Russian Symphony.” Reinhold Glière’s expansive Symphony No. 3, Ilya Muromets, is based on the life of one of Russia’s most famous mythical heroes. Highly respected for his values, he is the only such character to have been canonized by Russia’s Orthodox Church. Glière was a true believer in the pre-revolutionary national Russian school and hence, his embrace of traditional forms made him a favorite of Soviet authorities.

With this concert, Leon Botstein highlights the search for a true, nationalist style in Russian symphonic music, one with an aesthetic that incorporated folk or oriental themes or that was based on legends and folk heroes. The works performed at the evening’s concert by these two composers illustrate how Russian music evolved along those lines from the time of Rimsky’s first symphony (1865) to the time of Glière’s third (1911).

Russian Evolution: From Rimsky-Korsakov to Glière
Carnegie Hall Series, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Friday December 14, 2018 at 7:30 pm
Leon Botstein, conductor
Rimsky-Korsakov: Symphony No. 1
Reinhold Glière: Symphony No. 3, Ilya Muromets

TŌN will next appear at Carnegie Hall with Botstein conducting the U.S. premieres of Joachim Raff’s Psalm 130: De Profundis and Lera Auerbach’s De Profundis (Violin Concerto No. 3) with internationally acclaimed violinist Vadim Repin on May 2, 2019.  For details of upcoming 2018-19 season concerts, please click here.

Tickets start at $25, and may be purchased online at, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800, or in person at the Carnegie Hall box office at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue.

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

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

Press Contacts:
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088

Mark Primoff
Associate Vice President of Communications
Bard College
Phone: 845.758.7412

Hear TŌN on “Performance Today”

The Orchestra Now will once again be featured on America’s most popular classical music radio program, Performance Today, this Wednesday, November 14, with our performance of Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral . Listen online starting at 9 AM Wednesday. Hudson Valley residents can also tune in to WMHT-FM 89.1 or WRHV-FM 88.7 at 8 PM Wednesday evening.

To keep up on all of TŌN’s radio appearances, visit the Watch & Listen page on this website and click on “Radio Schedule.”


Cadenza: Tan Dun Brings Nature’s Secrets to The Orchestra Now

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“The Orchestra Now gives hope. Founded in 2015 by Leon Botstein, TŌN is comprised of Master’s Degree students at Bard College, and can be found performing all over the city, including at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Metropolitan Museum of Art — sometimes for free. Like the student orchestra at Tanglewood, and Miami’s New World Symphony, they’re capable of just about anything, and more than their professional counterparts, they really exude a personal love of music. And they rise to the occasion of encountering international stars like Tan Dun.

TŌN’s winds play with a dark, mellow timbre, rounded intonation, and a keen blend. The strings have a honey-like sheen and the violin section displays more rhythmic vitality than many orchestras. They sound terrific.

Underscoring the group’s educational underpinnings, it’s terrific how TŌN’s musicians are encouraged to contribute to the program notes, and to speak to the audience to introduce the repertoire. Their enthusiasm for the material, and their craft, is palpable. The concert concluded with an fervent reading of Ottorino Respighi’s early-twentieth-century four movement tone poem The Pines of Rome. As the first orchestral work to utilize an electronic recording (the third movement ends with a recording of the nightingale, as specified by the composer), it’s a fitting pairing with Dun’s Secret of Wind and Birds. The off-stage trumpet solo in the second movement was played with warm lyricism by Anita Tóth, and the third movement’s clarinet solo masterfully played by Viktor Tóth.” —Brian Taylor

The Epoch Times: Chopin and Delacroix: How Romanticism Grapples With Past and Present

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“Artist Eugène Delacroix, whose work is currently featured at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, was a leader in the French Romantic school. On Nov. 18, visitors are invited to explore his work in depth with the addition of Frédéric Chopin’s music and a lecture presented by conductor Leon Botstein and The Orchestra Now, in the museum’s ongoing “Sight and Sound” series.

‘The making of art was indispensably essential to their life. It was related to their politics, to their person, and they believed it was a powerful medium, whether painting or music, in the world they lived. Something we don’t believe today,’ Botstein said.” —Catherine Yang

Artwork: Eugène Delacroix, (French, 1798–1863). Collision of Arab Horsemen (detail), 1833/34. Oil on canvas. 31 11/16 × 39 9/16 in. (80.5 × 100.5 cm). Private collection