In this interview, TŌN trumpeter Maggie Wei talks about how she fell in love with the trumpet at age nine, the benefits of playing lesser-known music, and how a Cézanne exhibit at MoMA sparked thoughts about the roots of all artistic endeavors.
Guest Artists Feature Conductor Joseph Young, Pianists Lara Downes, Anna Polonsky, Gilles Vonsattel, and Frank Corliss
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, January 12, 2022 – The Orchestra Now (TŌN), the far-sighted orchestra and master’s degree program founded by Bard College president, conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, continues the seventh season of its residency at Bard College’s Fisher Center this spring with four concerts, beginning on February 5 with a selection of audience favorites by Rossini, Tchaikovsky, and Zemlinsky. Notable spring season highlights comprise seldom-heard performances of Dismal Swamp, William Grant Still’s portrait of enslaved people taking sanctuary while seeking freedom, and Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s Symphony No. 1, the composer’s response to conditions under the Nazi regime (May 7-8); a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 led by guest conductor Joseph Young, Resident Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra–USA at Carnegie Hall (April 23-24); and a concert offering Brahms’s German Requiem and Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto with soloist Anna Polonsky (April 2-3).
Tchaikovsky, William Tell & The Mermaid
Saturday, February 5, 2022 at 8 PM
Sunday, February 6, 2022 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Rossini: William Tell Overture
Alexander Zemlinsky: The Mermaid
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Pathétique
The spring 2022 season unfolds with a concert of such popular works as Rossini’s iconic William Tell Overture and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid, richly orchestrated by Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky. The program closes with Tchaikovsky’s final completed symphony, the Pathétique, which the composer called his “Passionate Symphony.”
Clara Schumann & Brahms’ German Requiem
Saturday April 2, 2022 at 8 PM
Sunday, April 3, 2022 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Anna Polonsky, piano
Vocal soloists from Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program
Bard Festival Chorale, Bard College Chamber Singers
James Bagwell, choral director
Clara Schumann: Piano Concerto
Brahms: A German Requiem
Clara Schumann began writing her memorable Piano Concerto when she was just 14 years old, already a prodigy on the instrument. This virtuoso work will be performed by acclaimed pianist Anna Polonsky. Schumann was close friends with Johannes Brahms later in life. She said his German Requiem “is an immense piece that takes hold of one’s whole being like very little else.”
Rachmaninoff & Joseph Young
Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 8 PM
Sunday, April 24, 2022 at 2 PM
Joseph Young, conductor
Lara Downes, piano
Julia Perry: A Short Piece for Orchestra
Florence Price: Piano Concerto in One Movement
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3
Guest conductor Joseph Young, Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony and Resident Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra–USA at Carnegie Hall, leads the Orchestra. The performance features Julia Perry’s riotous Short Work for Orchestra, which was recorded by the New York Philharmonic in 1965. While much of her work has been neglected, she won the Boulanger Grand Prix for her Viola Sonata. Also on the program is the Piano Concerto by Florence Price, the first Black woman to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1933). While her Piano Concerto is described as being in one movement, it actually has three defined sections played without a break. The soloist is pianist, recording artist, producer, curator, activist, and arts advocate Lara Downes, praised by NPR as “a delightful artist with a unique blend of musicianship and showmanship.” Rachmaninoff’s rhythmically expressive Symphony No. 3 concludes the concert.
New Voices from the 1930s
Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 8 PM
Sunday, May 8, 2022 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Gilles Vonsattel, piano
Frank Corliss, piano
William Grant Still: Dismal Swamp
Carlos Chávez: Piano Concerto
Witold Lutosławski: Symphonic Variations
Karl Amadeus Hartmann: Symphony No. 1, Essay for a Requiem
The rarely-heard masterpieces in this concert spotlight works from the late 1930s, including William Grant Still’s evocative portrait of enslaved people taking refuge while seeking freedom, and Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s commentary on conditions under the Nazi regime. The concert also offers Mexican Symphonic Music Director and composer Carlos Chávez’s virtuosic Piano Concerto, called “imaginatively scored” and praised for its “elemental strength” and the “originality of its orchestral coloring” by The New York Times at its 1942 premiere. Leading progressive Polish music composer Witold Lutosławski’s adventurous Symphonic Variations was written while he was still a student at Warsaw University. His first substantial orchestral work, the Variations contain many folk-like themes.
Tickets, priced at $25–$40, are available online at fishercenter.bard.edu, or by calling the Fisher Center at 845.758.7900. Ticket holders will need to comply with the venue’s health and safety requirements, which can be found here.
The performances on Sunday February 6, April 3, and May 8 will be livestreamed on TŌN’s website and at fishercenter.bard.edu, with suggested RSVP available on each of the respective concert webpages listed above.
The Orchestra Now
The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is a group of 61 vibrant young musicians from 13 different countries across the globe: Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Mongolia, Peru, Taiwan, and the United States. 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 Yale School of Music, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Royal Academy of Music, and the Eastman School 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 it performs multiple concerts each season and takes part in the annual Bard Music Festival. It also performs 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 Leonard Slatkin, Neeme Järvi, Gil Shaham, Fabio Luisi, Vadim Repin, Hans Graf, Peter Serkin, Gerard Schwarz, Tan Dun, and JoAnn Falletta. Recordings featuring The Orchestra Now include two albums of 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. Buried Alive with baritone Michael Nagy, released on Bridge Records in August 2020, includes the first recording in almost 60 years—and only the second recording ever—of Othmar Schoeck’s song-cycle Lebendig begraben. Recent releases include an album of piano concertos with Orion Weiss on Bridge Records, and the soundtrack to the motion picture Forte. 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.
For upcoming activities and more detailed information about the musicians, visit ton.bard.edu.
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.
Pascal Nadon Communications
Associate Vice President of Communications
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