Appearances Include Two NYC Performances:
A Program on Shostakovich and Michelangelo at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
And a Free Concert at Peter Norton Symphony Space

Plus Two Programs at the Fisher Center at Bard College
Featuring Gershwin’s American in Paris and Mahler’s 7th Symphony

Annandale-on Hudson, New York, January 10, 2018 – The Orchestra Now (TŌN) begins its winter season in New York City on January 21, when resident conductor Zachary Schwartzman leads a FREE concert including works by Sibelius and Rimsky-Korsakov at Peter Norton Symphony Space as part of the Orchestra’s family-friendly Around Town series. Music director Leon Botstein will conduct a second Manhattan performance on February 11: Shostakovich, Michelangelo, & the Artistic Conscience, the second installment in TŌN’s Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The program will present Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo in conjunction with The Met’s exhibition Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer. As with all Sight & Sound concerts, on-screen artworks are staged in a lively discussion alongside musical excerpts performed by the Orchestra, followed by a full performance and audience Q & A.

In addition, TŌN will give two programs as part of its residence at Bard College. Associate conductor James Bagwell will lead the Orchestra in Gershwin’s American in Paris together with works by Jennifer Higdon and Schumann on February 3-4. On February 17-18, Leon Botstein takes the podium for the tonal complexity of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony; Elias Rodriguez, winner of TŌN’s 2017 Concerto Competition, will be the soloist in Weber’s romantic Clarinet Concerto No. 1.

AROUND TOWN FREE CONCERTS, Peter Norton Symphony Space
Sibelius & Rimsky-Korsakov
Sun. Jan 21, 2018 at 4 pm
Zachary Schwartzman, conductor
Enescu: Romanian Rhapsody No. 1
Sibelius: The Swan of Tuonela
Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnol
Einojuhani Rautavaara: Symphony No. 8, ‘The Journey’

This concert is a co-presentation with Peter Norton Symphony Space.

Tickets: All Around Town concerts are FREE, no tickets necessary. RSVP to show interest at or by calling 646.237.5034.

Gershwin’s An American in Paris
Sat. Feb 3, 2018 at 8 pm
Sun. Feb 4, 2018 at 2 pm
James Bagwell, conductor
Jennifer Higdon: blue cathedral
Gershwin: An American in Paris
Schumann: Symphony No. 2

Tickets, starting at $25, may be purchased by calling the box office at 845.758.7900, in person at the Fisher Center box office, or by visiting the website at

Shostakovich, Michelangelo, & the Artistic Conscience
Sun. Feb 11, 2018 at 2 pm
Leon Botstein, conductor
Tyler Duncan, baritone
Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo and the Artwork of Michelangelo & Others

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo’s birth, Shostakovich set 11 poems by the Renaissance master to music. This symphonic song cycle illuminates the timeless struggle of artists across the ages—from Michelangelo to Beethoven and Shostakovich himself—in their quest to remain free.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer, on view at The Met Fifth Avenue until February 12, 2018.

This concert will be streamed on Facebook Live via The Met’s Facebook page. All Sight & Sound concerts are a co-presentation with MetLiveArts.

Tickets, starting at $30, may be purchased online at, by calling The Met at 212.570.3949, or in person at The Great Hall Box Office at The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 5th Ave and 82nd St.

Mahler’s Seventh Symphony
Sat. Feb 17, 2018 at 8 pm
Sun. Feb 18, 2018 at 2 pm
Leon Botstein, conductor
Elias Rodriguez, clarinet
Weber: Clarinet Concerto No. 1
Mahler: Symphony No. 7

Tickets, starting at $25, may be purchased by calling the box office at 845.758.7900, in person at the Fisher Center box office, or by visiting the website at

The Orchestra Now
The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is a group of some 80 vibrant young musicians from more than 12 different countries around the globe, whose goal is to make orchestral music relevant to 21st-century audiences. They are lifting the curtain on the musicians’ experience by sharing their unique personal insights in a welcoming environment. 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.

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 assumes artistic directorship of the 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

The New York Times: Exhausted by Harmony, Schoenberg Found Atonality

Read full article

“At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the conductor Leon Botstein discussed Schoenberg’s “Erwartung” (“Expectation”), a one-act monodrama for soprano and orchestra, written in 1909, and led The Orchestra Now, an ensemble from Bard College (where Mr. Botstein is the president), and the soprano Kirsten Chambers in excerpts from the piece to illustrate his points.

Mr. Botstein began by describing both “Erwartung” and the paintings of Munch (the subject of a major exhibition at the museum’s Met Breuer space) as works of Expressionism. The Expressionists rejected conventional reality, he said, believing that individuals, including artists, create their own.

Calling “Erwartung” the “first Freudian opera,” Mr. Botstein played excerpts to illustrate the work’s restless, sometimes rootless harmonic language, the skittish interplay of contrapuntal lines, the composer’s use of recurring motifs and the tormented emotional cast of the music. He drew rich, expressive playing from the orchestra, and Ms. Chambers’s bright lyric soprano lent fragile innocence to her portrayal of the desperate Woman.” – Anthony Tommasini

Photo by David DeNee

amNewYork: Met Museum’s ‘Sight and Sound’ series returns with Leon Botstein and The Orchestra Now

Read full article

“Most New Yorkers have seen “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, even if it was just on a poster in an angsty teen’s bedroom. Now The Metropolitan Museum of Art wants you to hear the spectral painting.

On Dec. 3, The Orchestra Now (TŌN) will kick off its third season of “Sight & Sound” concerts at the museum by pairing a discussion of Munch’s work with a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s “Erwartung,” a one-act monodrama about a disoriented, possibly delusional, woman (soprano Kirsten Chambers) searching for her lover in a forest.

There are “integral connections” between the Norwegian painter and the Austrian composer, according to TŌN music director Leon Botstein. It is those links, “between art and music, between the visual and the auditory,” which drive this unique series.” – Cory Oldweiler

Photo by David DeNee

HuffPost: Don’t Miss The Orchestra Now

Read full article

“On the musical engagement front, don’t miss The Orchestra Now (TŌN). Its noble aim is to make orchestral music relevant to 21st-century audiences, led by renowned conductor Leon Botstein.

The musicians are handpicked from the world’s leading conservatories and their performances, as evidenced by their recent Carnegie Hall rendition of Bernard Herrmann’s “Psycho Suite,” “Symphony No. 1” and Erich Korngold’s “Symphony in F. Sharp,” was dramatic and intense. TŌN is an opportunity to see talented musicians early in their careers.

What’s so impressive about the accomplished TŌN is its variety — upcoming concerts include Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and Shostakovich’s “Michelangelo” — and occasional free concerts at Symphony Space on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.” – Fern Siegel

Photo by David DeNee

The New Yorker: The Visual Artists Who Inspired Brahms

Read full article

“Amid the cultural turmoil of late-nineteenth-century Europe—driven, most powerfully, by the revolutionary operas of Richard Wagner—Johannes Brahms continued to explore the early-nineteenth-century musical genres perfected by Beethoven: the symphony, the sonata, and the concerto, forms in which the composer used craftsmanship to transform pure emotion into musical structure. Brahms did keep up with the trends of his time, of course, if only to be familiar with the kinds of music he positioned his own works against. But his keen interest in the visual art of his day is less well known—an aspect of his creativity that Leon Botstein will explore with The Orchestra Now (TŌN) in their latest concert at the Metropolitan Museum, “Sight and Sound: Brahms, Menzel, and Klinger” (Jan. 29).” – Russell Platt