Featured Soloists are Cellist Lucas Button and Violist Leonardo Vásquez Chacón

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, October 3, 2019 – The Orchestra Now (TŌN) will open its 2019 fall season in New York City on Oct. 27 with Strauss’ Don Quixote & The Last Knight, the first of three programs in its popular Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Emperor Maximilian I of Austria, often referred to as “the last knight,” was passionate about the exploration of chivalry and armor. There is no more influential tale of knighthood than Cervantes’ Don Quixote, which inspired Strauss’ “Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character,” the composer’s moving musical realization of Quixote’s chivalric journey. Both soloists at this performance are talented young TŌN musicians: cellist Lucas Button, a Syracuse native, and Peruvian violist Leonardo Vásquez Chacón.

The program will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximillian I, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Oct. 7, 2019–Jan. 5, 2020.

The Sight & Sound series explores parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts with conductor and music historian Leon Botstein.  Each presentation offers a discussion accompanied by musical excerpts performed by The Orchestra Now with on-screen artworks, followed by a full performance and audience Q&A.

The next program in the series will be Honegger, Vallotton & the Avant-Garde in Paris, featuring the first NYC performance in 58 years of Honegger’s Symphony No. 1 (Dec. 8, 2019); followed by Haydn’s The Clock: The Intersection of Art & Technology, which focuses on Haydn’s interest in the advances of horology in Vienna and London (Feb. 23, 2020).


 The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

Strauss’ Don Quixote & The Last Knight
Sun, Oct 27, 2019 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Lucas Button, cello
Leonardo Vásquez Chacón, viola
Strauss: Don Quixote
Artwork about Chivalry

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximillian I, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art October 7, 2019–January 5, 2020

Honegger, Vallotton & the Avant-Garde in Paris
Sun, Dec 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.
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 October 29, 2019–January 26, 2020

Haydn’s The Clock: The Intersection of Art & Technology
Sun, Feb 23, 2020 2 PM
Musicians, like their contemporaries in art and science, were mesmerized (often literally by Franz Anton Mesmer himself) by advancements and pseudo-advancements in science and technology during the second half of the 18th century. While Mozart poked fun at this fascination in Così fan tutte, Haydn drew inspiration from the advances in horology in Vienna and London.
Leon Botstein, conductor
Haydn: Symphony No. 101, The Clock
Artwork about Technology

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Making Marvels: Science and Splendor at the Courts of Europe, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art November 25, 2019–March 1, 2020


Tickets priced at $30–$50; 3-concert series from $75; Bring the Kids for $1. All tickets include same-day museum admission. Tickets may be purchased online at, by calling The Met at 212.570.3949, or at The Great Hall box office at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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

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

Press Contacts
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088

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

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