Fisher Center

Europe 2014 Tour Overview

Europe 2014 Tour Overview The Bard Conservatory Orchestra performs at the Liszt Academy, Budapest, Hungary, June 2014 [photo: Benko Sandor]

The Bard Music Festival
Bard College Conservatory of Music Orchestra
Leon Botstein, music director

In June of 2014, The Bard College Conservatory of Music Orchestra, led by music director by Leon Botstein, toured major European cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Berlin, Warsaw, Vienna, Bratislava, and Prague. Two programs were offered: Shostakovich and His World, with world-renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw as soloist in Lutosławski’s Chantefleurs et Chantefables, as well as the Shostakovich Symphony No. 15, Rossini’s William Tell Overture, and Siegfried’s Funeral March from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung; and a second program, Copland and His World, featuring a Martinů-Bartók-Copland program with internationally acclaimed pianist Benjamin Hochman as soloist in Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto.

Joining a rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music, five-time Grammy Award winner Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation—the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” prize—and in 2008 she became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Pianist Benjamin Hochman’s eloquent and virtuosic performances blend artistic bravura with poetic interpretation exciting audiences and critics alike. He performs in major cities around the world as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and respected chamber music partner, working with a celebrated array of renowned conductors and colleagues.  Described by the New York Times as a “gifted, fast-rising artist,” Mr. Hochman is an impassioned and intelligent exponent of diverse composers, from Bach and Mozart through to Kurtág and Peter Lieberson.  He strives to express the essence of each composer’s works, resulting in interpretations that the Vancouver Sun described as “stylish and lucid, with patrician authority and touches of elegant wit where context allows.”  Possessed of an intellectual and heartfelt musical inquisitiveness, Mr. Hochman frequently juxtaposes familiar works with the unfamiliar in his concert programs, to help illuminate each work for the listener, a talent further illustrated by his thoughtful recorded repertoire.

Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2011, Mr. Hochman made his successful New York recital debut in 2006 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  He subsequently established a vibrant and venerated musical presence in New York City through concerts with the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra, his Carnegie Hall debut with the Israel Philharmonic and a succession of prominent recital and chamber performances the 92nd Street Y.  Following his debut with the Chicago Symphony in a Mozart Piano Concerto project with Pinchas Zukerman and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, he returned at the invitation of Emanuel Ax to participate in the 2012 “Keys to the City” Festival.  In September 2012 he made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut at the Hollywood Bowl and in January 2013 he made his third subscription series appearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony in performances of Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand Alone, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda of which the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said: “He unfurled the music so gently, lending a grace to it I had not heard before.”

A statement from Classical Movements, the official concert touring company for the European trip, said, “Having taken a number of highly regarded orchestras on tour in our 21 years of managing concert tours that include the Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, we are proud to have taken the orchestra of The Bard College Conservatory of Music on this extensive tour. The rare combination of an elite private liberal arts college and a college president who is also a widely recognized orchestra conductor produced a remarkable program of exceptional music. The world is coming to recognize the extraordinary talents of young people, and the orchestra of Bard is an outstanding example of young musicians of the highest caliber. Of course all that, combined with soloists of the highest level, is a rare and fine combination. It is no surprise that many of the best halls in Russia, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic invited these wonderful musicians to perform, where the orchestra presented a challenging and singular program that enthralled audiences. It showed how people all over the world are eager to hear this orchestra.”

The 2014 Europe tour incorporated key aspects of the annual Bard Music Festival (BMF), now in its 25th year. BMF promotes new ways of understanding and presenting the history of music to a contemporary audience by choosing a single composer each season to explore in depth—through the composer’s biography, influences and consequences of that composer’s achievement, and all aspects of the musical culture surrounding the time and place of the composer’s life. The festival links music to the worlds of literature, painting, theater, philosophy, and politics and seeks to bridge the worlds of performance and scholarship in new and exciting ways.


Tour Schedule

June 7 at 6 p.m.
Shostakovich and His World
Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall
Presented by the Warsaw Philharmonic

June 9 at 7 p.m.
Copland and His World
St. Petersburg, Mariinsky Theatre
Presented by the Mariinsky Theatre as part of the White Nights Festival

June 11 at 7 p.m.
Shostakovich and His World
Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory
Presented by the Moscow Conservatory

June 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Copland and His World
Budapest, Great Hall, Liszt Academy
Presented by Liszt Academy of Music

June 17 at 7 p.m.
Shostakovich and His World
Bratislava, Slovak Radio Concert Hall
Presented by The Prague Concert Co. Admission to this concert was free with donations being collected for the Cancer Research Foundation.

June 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Copland and His World
Vienna, Konzerthaus
Presented by Jeunesse Musicales Austria

June 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Shostakovich and His World
Prague, Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall
Presented by The Prague Concert Co.

June 23 at 8 p.m.
Copland and His World
Berlin, Konzerthaus
Presented by Bard College Berlin




Gioachino Rossini - Overture from William Tell
Richard Wagner - Siegfried’s Funeral March from Götterdämmerung
Witold Lutosławski  - Chantefleurs et Chantefables (Song Flowers and Song Fables)
     with Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Dmitrii Shostakovich  - Symphony No. 15


Bohuslav Martinů - Memorial to Lidice
Béla Bartók - Piano Concerto No. 3
     with Benjamin Hochman, piano
Aaron Copland - Symphony No. 3