Conductor Leonard Slatkin Makes TŌN Debut Leading the Orchestra in World Premiere of his Brahmsiana

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York DATE — The Orchestra Now (TŌN) launches its 2021-22 season at the Fisher Center at Bard with three concert programs in September and October, beginning on September 11 – 12 with a program that includes William L. Dawson’s seldom-heard, emotionally charged Negro Folk Symphony. The second program on September 17-18 features the TŌN debut of distinguished conductor Leonard Slatkin leading two of his own arrangements, one a world premiere; and the October 1-2 performances will offer Strauss’ crowd-pleasing Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks alongside Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony. The performances on Saturday evenings are livestreamed for free and access details are included below.

Upcoming in the Orchestra’s Fisher Center series is a program highlighted by acclaimed violinist Gil Shaham in the world premiere performance of Birds of America, a new work written for him by Scott Wheeler (November 13 – 14); and a special holiday program presenting Handel’s Messiah (December 11 – 12).

Shostakovich & Dawson
Saturday September 11, 2021 at 8 PM
Sunday September 12, 2021 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
William L. Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7, Leningrad
William L. Dawson said of his Negro Folk Symphony that he wanted listeners to know it was “unmistakably not the work of a white man.” The work is paired with Shostakovich’s enormous and patriotic Seventh Symphony, Leningrad, written largely after he had fled the city following the German invasion during WWII.

Slatkin Conducts Brahmsiana
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 8 PM
Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 2 PM
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Cindy McTee: Circuits
Brahms: Brahmsiana arr. Leonard Slatkin (World Premiere)
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, Leonard Slatkin’s new arr. of Ravel’s orchestration
Internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin makes his debut with TŌN, leading the world premiere of his own arrangement of Brahms melodies, Brahmsiana, and his new arrangement of Pictures at an Exhibition, which takes Ravel’s famous orchestration and reinstates portions of Mussorgsky’s original. The concert opens with Circuits, written by award-winning composer Cindy McTee.

Strauss’ Merry Pranks & Bruckner’s Fifth
Friday, October 1, 2021 at 8 PM
Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 5 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks
Bruckner: Symphony No. 5
Richard Strauss’ audience favorite Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, which chronicles the misadventures of the practical jokester and German peasant folk hero, is presented in contrast to Anton Bruckner’s massive Fifth Symphony, which was performed only once during the composer’s lifetime. He died having never heard it.

Tickets $10–$40 with prices varying for each concert; all seats for Oct. 1 and 2 concerts are $10; 5-Concert Series from $81.25 (35% off); Create Your Own Series from $56.25 (25% off). Tickets are available online at, 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. All Saturday evening performances are livestreamed for free at RSVP on the event pages to receive a direct link to the livestream on the day of the concert.

The Orchestra Now
The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is a group of 65 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. 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

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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