THE ORCHESTRA NOW (TŌN) – DECEMBER CONCERTS

TAN DUN TO CONDUCT U.S. PREMIERE OF HIS VIOLIN CONCERTO: RHAPSODY AND FANTASIA AT ROSE THEATER SERIES AT JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2019

SIGHT & SOUND SERIES AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART CONTINUES WITH HONEGGGER, VALLOTTON & THE AVANT-GARDE IN PARIS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2019

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, November 21, 2019Tan Dun, world-renowned composer, conductor, and Dean of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, will take the podium for the opening concert of The Orchestra Now’s Rose Theater series at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Dec. 15, 2019. The program will be highlighted by the U.S. premiere of Dun’s 2018 Violin Concerto: Rhapsody and Fantasia featuring the award-winning Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing, who recently premiered Dun’s Fire Ritual – A Musical Ritual for Victims of War with the Oslo Philharmonic. Hemsing is also the subject of the upcoming documentary Forte directed by David Donnelly, focusing on women in the arts. Other works on the concert include Stravinsky’s Fireworks, Debussy’s Rhapsody for Clarinet with Hungarian soloist and TŌN musician Viktor Tóth; and Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin Suite.

Also in December, TŌN presents Honeggger, Vallotton & the Avant-Garde in Paris, the second installment of its popular Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in which conductor and music historian Leon Botstein explores the parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts (Dec. 8, 2019).

Sight & Sound Series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
Honegger, Vallotton & the Avant-Garde in Paris
Sunday December 8, 2019 at 2 PM
Composer Arthur Honegger and painter Félix Vallotton were both Swiss nationals who spent the larger part of their careers in Paris, where they became part of the avant-garde scene in music (Le Six) and art (Les Nabis). Both explored the intersection of tradition and modernism. Honegger’s first symphony mirrors the magnetism of Paris in the 1920s, and this event marks the work’s first NYC performance in 58 years. All presentations in this series offer a discussion accompanied by musical excerpts performed by The Orchestra Now, with on-screen artworks followed by a full performance and audience Q&A.

Leon Botstein, conductor
Honegger: Symphony No. 1*
The Artwork of Félix Vallotton
*First NYC performance in 58 years

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through January 26, 2020

Tickets priced at $30–$50; Bring the Kids for $1. All tickets include same-day museum admission. Tickets may be purchased online at metmuseum.org/sightandsound, by calling The Met at 212.570.3949, or at The Great Hall at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

TŌN Rose Theater Series
Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall
Tan Dun Conducts Stravinsky, Debussy & Bartók
Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 3 PM
Tan Dun, conductor
Eldbjørg Hemsing, violin
Viktor Tóth, clarinet
Stravinsky: Fireworks
Tan Dun: Violin Concerto: Rhapsody and Fantasia (U.S. Premiere)
Debussy: Rhapsody for Clarinet
Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin Suite

Tickets priced at $25–$50 are available online at jazz.org, by calling CenterCharge at 212.721.6500, or at the Jazz at Lincoln Center box office at Broadway & 60th, Ground Floor.

The Orchestra Now
The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is a group of 65 vibrant young musicians from 12 different countries across the globe: Bulgaria, China, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Peru, Taiwan, Ukraine, the U.K., and the U.S. All share a mission to make orchestral music relevant to 21st-century audiences by sharing their unique personal insights in a welcoming environment. Hand-picked 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 enlightening curious minds by giving on-stage introductions and demonstrations, writing concert notes from the musicians’ perspective, and having one-on-one discussions with patrons during intermissions.

Conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, whom The New York Times said “draws rich, expressive playing from the orchestra,” founded TŌN in 2015 as a graduate program at Bard College, where he is also president. TŌN offers both a three-year master’s degree in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies and a two-year advanced certificate in Orchestra Studies. The orchestra’s home base is the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center at Bard, where they perform multiple concerts each season and take part in the annual Bard Music Festival. They also perform regularly at the finest venues in New York, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and others across NYC and beyond. HuffPost, who has called TŌN’s performances “dramatic and intense,” praises these concerts as “an opportunity to see talented musicians early in their careers.”

The Orchestra has performed with many distinguished guest conductors and soloists, including Neeme Järvi, Vadim Repin, Fabio Luisi, Peter Serkin, Gerard Schwarz, Tan Dun, Zuill Bailey, and JoAnn Falletta. In the 2019–20 season, conductors Leonard Slatkin, and Hans Graf will also lead TŌN performances. Recordings featuring The Orchestra Now include Ferdinand Ries piano concertos with Piers Lane on Hyperion Records, and a Sorel Classics concert recording of pianist Anna Shelest performing works by Anton Rubinstein with TŌN and conductor Neeme Järvi. Upcoming albums include a second release with Piers Lane on Hyperion Records in the spring of 2020. Recordings of TŌN’s live concerts from the Fisher Center can be heard on Classical WMHT-FM and WWFM The Classical Network, and are featured regularly on Performance Today, broadcast nationwide. In 2019, the orchestra’s performance with Vadim Repin was live-streamed on The Violin Channel.

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 2003–11 and is now conductor laureate. In 2018, he 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 editor of the prestigious The Musical Quarterly and has received many honors for his contributions to music. More info online at LeonBotstein.com.

Tan Dun
A world-renowned artist and UNESCO Global Goodwill Ambassador, Tan Dun is a winner of the Grammy, Academy, Grawemeyer, and Shostakovich Awards; the Bach Prize; and most recently Italy’s Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement. His current season includes leading the Orchestre National de Lyon in a five-city China tour, the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in a four-city tour of Switzerland and Belgium, as well as engagements with Oslo Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, where he was recently named Artistic Ambassador. Mr. Dun currently serves as the Honorary Artistic Director of the China National Symphony Orchestra. Next season, he will conduct the English Chamber Orchestra in their tour to China. He has led the world’s most esteemed orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, , Metropolitan Opera, BBC Symphony, and Sydney Symphony Orchestras; the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, and the Filarmonica della Scala; among many others.

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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Arthur Honegger’s Rugby

Notes by TŌN bassist Kaden Henderson

The Composer
When thinking about the great orchestral tone poems in our repertoire, the mind immediately drifts to the likes of Richard Strauss and works like Don Juan, Also sprach Zarathustra, and Don Quixote. Often overlooked, however, is Arthur Honegger, a Swiss composer who largely composed in France during the early-to-mid 20th century. It was in France that Honegger wrote his three tone poems: Pacific 231, Rugby, and Symphonic Movement No. 3. Although not as well-known in America due to his untimely death in 1955 on the eve of a major American tour, he is widely known and appreciated in Europe, where his face adorned the 20-Franc banknote from 1996–2017. He was a member of Les Six, a group of French composers, including Poulenc and Milhaud, that paved the way for modern French classical music in the 20th century.

Full Contact Music
Honegger’s second tone poem, entitled Rugby, which we will be hearing today, was composed in 1928. Although it bears the name Rugby, the composer himself insisted that this work was not programmatic in a traditional sense. Despite what Honegger may have said, it takes little imagination to find oneself in the middle of the pitch dodging tackles left and right from the very first note. Immediately from the downbeat it is apparent that Honegger is not alluding to two-hand-touch rugby, but rather the sport in its full contact, “hold no prisoners” variety. The very first notes from the strings hit the audience like a ton of bricks as the cascading strings sweep us into a musical dogpile. Violent rhythms and loud brass proclamations provide an energetic backdrop for the strings to demonstrate their virtuosic feats of agility and precision. Honegger really shines in the way he is able to craft dissonant and often grotesque chords into something that is nothing short of brilliant and endlessly entertaining.

Lyrical Beauty
Unlike his more dreamy and impressionistic counterparts in Les Six, Honegger seems to thrive in a darker landscape. This work is loud, brash, and orchestrated very heavily. The pointillist bass line offers an almost conversational rebuttal against the cascading violins, much like playful banter on the field between friends. Although Honegger often employs striking dissonance, there are moments of exceptional lyrical beauty. My favorite moment comes about half way into the work, after a rather heated argument between the bass section and the bassoons. Just as it sounds there is about to be a physical altercation, listen for the violins to sweep in to calm the growing tension with a melody that sounds straight out of a Tchaikovsky ballet. Moments like these are sure to bring smiles to the faces of Schoenberg and Rossini lovers alike. Now put on your helmet, secure your elbow pads, and get ready for a musical sporting match like you’ve never heard before!

Stravinsky’s Divertimento, The Fairy’s Kiss Suite

Notes by TŌN cellist Sarah Schoeffler

The History
Le Baiser de la fée (The Fairy’s Kiss) is a one-act ballet composed in 1928 by the Russian pianist, composer, and conductor Igor Stravinsky. Over the years, the ballet underwent several prominent revisions and adaptations. One of the most lasting results from such efforts is the Divertimento, an orchestral suite comprised of music taken from the ballet. It is the result of a collaboration between Stravinsky and violinist Samuel Dushkin. In 1932, for Dushkin, Stravinsky created an arrangement of The Fairy’s Kiss for violin and piano alone entitled Divertimento, and two years later he orchestrated the same music into the concert suite heard here. The concert suite contains approximately half of the music from the original ballet.

Adaptation and Admiration
The ballet itself was Stravinsky’s adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Ice Maiden, and was Stravinsky’s chance to pay homage to Tchaikovsky. Despite his derision of romanticism, Stravinsky had long admired Tchaikovsky, treasuring a childhood memory of when he caught a glimpse of the great composer at a concert in St. Petersburg. In The Fairy’s Kiss, Stravinsky combined fragments from Tchaikovsky with his own composition so persuasively that Stravinsky later said he lost track of what belonged to whom.

The Music and Story
The Divertimento is comprised of four movements: Sinfonia, Danses suisses, Scherzo, and Pas de deux. Sinfonia is taken from the introductory scene of the ballet, and portrays a disoriented mother lost with her child in a storm. As in the Hans Christian Anderson tale, the fairy’s sprites steal the baby away from the mother. You can hear Stravinsky’s characteristic rhythmic brilliance in this movement. The next movement, Danses suisses, depicts the engagement party for the child, now a grown man. In the Scherzo movement, the fairy leads the young man to a mill where his betrothed is with her friends. In the last movement, Pas de deux, the lovers’ dance, we enjoy some of the most exquisitely beautiful writing of the entire work.

Schubert’s Symphony No. 9

Notes by TŌN horn player Emily Buehler

A Masterpiece Unheard
Could you imagine completing what you think to be one of your greatest works, never to hear it performed? This is exactly what happened to Franz Schubert and his Symphony No. 9. He finished composing the piece in 1826, but it wasn’t performed until 1839 . . . 11 years after his death! People simply didn’t know it existed. Schubert entrusted his scores to his friend Franz von Schober, who ended up leaving them with Schubert’s brother, Ferdinand. Apparently, no one understood their value or took any action to get them published until 1829. Ferdinand enlisted the help of Robert Schumann, who was able to list Schubert’s posthumous works in the newspaper. Unfortunately, the response was underwhelming.

Schumann’s Discovery
Two years later Schumann was in Vienna visiting the graves of Beethoven and Schubert. He recalled Ferdinand still lived nearby, and was able to visit. Famously, Schumann described what he found: “He [Ferdinand] knew of me because of that veneration for his brother which I have so often publicly expressed; told me and showed me many things. . . . Finally, he allowed me to see those treasured compositions of Schubert’s which he still possesses. The sight of this hoard of riches thrilled me with joy; where to begin, where to end! Among other things, he drew my attention to the scores of several symphonies, many of which have never as yet been heard, but were shelved as too heavy and turgid. There, among the piles, lay a heavy volume of 130 pages, dated March 1828 at the top of the first sheet. The manuscript, including the date and a number of corrections, is entirely in Schubert’s hand, which often appears to have been flying as fast as his pen could go. The work, a symphony in C, Schubert’s last and greatest, had never been performed.”

The Music
The piece opens with a slow horn call, turning into a noble Andante, and whirlwinds into a riveting Allegro. You can recognize a kind of metamorphosis of the opening horn call to the quicker section, and this is harkened to once again at the final moments of the movement. The second movement can not be of more contrast. The character here is grave, yet march-like. Schubert has a beautiful way of moving from major to minor, and holds onto that in this movement, each modal movement done with intrinsic intention and meaning. Schubert wrote, about the ending of this movement: “A horn is heard from a distance. It seems to come from another sphere. Here everything listens, as if a heavenly spirit were wandering through the orchestra.“ As we move along to the third movement, you may find your feet tapping to this dance music! It is rumored that Schubert would entertain friends all night by playing dance tunes “off the cuff” in an improvisatory style! This was a natural way of writing for him. In the elegant final movement, Schubert hints back to important key relationships, themes, and rhythms from previous movements, and connects them into something new.