Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

Bard College Catalogue 2016-17

Bard College Catalogue 2016-17

Cultural Programs

Bard Music Festival

The Bard Music Festival (BMF) entered its 27th season in 2016. Since 1990 the festival has been presented on the Bard campus each summer over two consecutive weekends in August. In 2003 the festival moved into The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where it continues to offer an array of programs whose themes are taken from the life, work, and world of a single composer. Concerts presented in the Fisher Center’s 800-seat Sosnoff Theater and 200-seat LUMA Theater, as well as in the 370-seat Olin Hall, offer both the intimate communication of recital and chamber music and the excitement of full orchestral and choral sound. The weeks of the festival are filled with open rehearsals throughout the ­campus, and orchestral musicians are often invited to perform in chamber groups. Special events are arranged to complement the performances.

Through a series of preconcert talks and panel discussions by eminent music scholars, composers are examined within the cultural and political contexts of their careers. In 2016, Giacomo Puccini was the featured composer; other recent subjects have included Carlos Chávez, Franz Schubert, Igor Stravinsky, Camille Saint-Saëns, Jean Sibelius, Alban Berg, Richard Wagner, Sergey Prokofiev, Edward Elgar, Franz Liszt, Dmitrii Shostakovich, and Aaron Copland. Related articles and essays are published by Princeton University Press in a companion book edited by a major music scholar; the series was honored with an ASCAP Deems Taylor Special Recognition Award in 2006. The combination of innovative programs built around a specific theme and an outstanding level of professional musicianship has brought the festival international critical acclaim from publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times

Lecture and Performance Series

The Bard College Conservatory of Music in 2015–16 presented master classes, chamber music, and orchestra concerts by students, faculty, and guest artists. In spring 2016, Conservatory events at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and László Z. Bitó ‘60 Conservatory Building included the Haydn Project, a series of concerts featuring string quartets, piano trios, part songs, and other works by Joseph Haydn, curated by Peter Serkin; Concerto Competition; an opera double bill of Oliver Knussen’s Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must be More to Life and Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Redux; and a performance by the Conservatory Orchestra and The Orchestra Now of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 and Alban Berg’s Seven Early Songs.

The John Ashbery Poetry Series, named for Bard’s distinguished Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor Emeritus of Languages and Literature, brings leading contemporary poets to campus for readings and discussion in an intimate setting.

Aston Magna

The Aston Magna Foundation for Music and the Humanities is dedicated to the performance and study of 17th- and 18th-century music. Founded in 1972, the Aston Magna Festival—the oldest summer festival in America devoted to music ­performed on period instruments—has been held in the Berkshires every year since its inception and at Bard since 1984. Under the artistic direction of Daniel Stepner, Aston Magna’s performances aim to interpret as accurately as possible the music of the past as the composer imagined it. The performance style for these concerts has been developed through interpretation by internationally recognized specialists, and the instruments played are originals from the period or historically accurate reproductions.

Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle

Founded in 1950, the Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle has attracted a large and loyal regional ­following that has enjoyed annual June performances by some of the finest classical ensembles and soloists in the world.  In 2016, featured artists included Emerson String Quartet; Calidone String Quartet; and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio.


Founded in 1981, Bard’s influential literary journal, Conjunctions, publishes innovative
fiction, poetry, translations, essays, and interviews by contemporary masters and exciting new voices from the United States and around the world. As its slogan, “Read Dangerously,” suggests, the journal brings fearless writing to risk-taking readers. Edited by Bard professor and novelist Bradford Morrow, winner of PEN’s prestigious Nora Magid Award for excellence in editing a literary journal, Conjunctions appears biannually, in the spring and fall. The spring 2016 issue, Conjunctions:66, Affinity, investigates friendship in its many forms, including previously unpublished poems by Robert Duncan and new writing by contributors such as John Ashbery (Charles P. Stevenson, Jr. Professor Emeritus of Languages and Literature), Jedediah Berry ’00, Jonathan Carroll, Paul Lisicky, J. W. McCormack ’03, Rick Moody and Darcey Steinke, Stephen O’Connor, Elizabeth Robinson, and Cole Swensen. The fall 2015 issue, Conjunctions:65, Sleights of Hand, featured works on the subject of deception by Rae Armantrout, Can Xue, Porochista Khakpour (visiting writer in residence, Bard College), Edie Meidav, James Morrow, Joyce Carol Oates, and Laura van den Berg (2015 Bard Fiction Prize winner), among others.

Conjunctions also publishes a Web magazine at, allowing it to spotlight a single author each week and feature multimedia and electronic literature. The site also maintains an online audio vault of exclusive recordings of author readings.

In 2015 Conjunctions launched the Cities Reading Series in partnership with the Office of Alumni/ae Affairs. The Cities Series allows Conjunctions to celebrate the rich regional diversity of its writers and readers by holding events in indie bookstores all across the country, emceed by Bard alumni/ae.

Bard Center Evenings

Bard Center Evenings give trustees and friends of the College opportunities to meet distinguished experts during a series of thought-provoking panel discussions. These evenings are held at least three times a year and explore issues of intellectual, ­cultural, and social concern. Recent topics have included “Syria, Resistance, and the Future of Arab Uprisings,” “American Guns and Gun Violence: Is There a Political Solution?” and “What Has Philanthropy Accomplished for American Education?”