First-Year Seminar Experience Days

Spring 2018

Anne Carson


A reading of Sappho’s poetry by Anne Carson, with Amy Khoshbin, Robert Currie, Nick Flynn, and Sam Anderson

Monday, April 23, 2018 at 4:45 PM

Sosnoff Theater, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
First-Year Seminar explores the poetry of Sappho through the lens of acclaimed Canadian poet, essayist, and translator Anne Carson, whose translation, If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, we have been reading this semester. 

First, Anne Carson will present "Bracko," a multimedia recitation of Sappho's poetry in four voices with accompanying video. Then she will be joined by artist Amy Khoshbin for a discussion on artistic freedom in the ancient world and today, in which students are invited to participate.

In addition to welcoming Sappho’s distinguished translator to First-Year Seminar, this event celebrates an extraordinary moment in the history of Sappho’s poetry. Her bittersweet lyrics on love, longing, and loss, which have survived the millennia in tantalizing fragments, recently made headlines worldwide after the rare discovery of previously unknown poems.

Past Experience Days

Experiencing Revolution
Leon Botstein with musicians from The Conservatory - photo by Karle Rabe / Ludvig van Beethoven / Leon Botstein with musicians from The Orchestra Now - photo by Sarah Kenyon, Studio Route 7

Experiencing Revolution

Monday, November 13, 2017 at 4:45 PM

Sosnoff Theater, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
It starts with the most famous four notes in music. Join us in in Frank Gehry's iconic Fisher Center to hear Beethoven’s legendary Fifth Symphony--a work written under the imaginative spell of revolution.
President Leon Botstein will discuss Beethoven and the Age of Revolution, and then lead Bard's Conservatory Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven's dramatic symphony.
You've read Rousseau, Wheatley, Toussaint, Tocqueville and the Adamses in class: now come and hear Beethoven’s soundtrack to the Age of Revolution.
Further details are available from your FYSEM instructor. Attendance will be taken.
It’s the work that sets in motion the machinery of awe, of fear, of terror, of pain, and awakens that infinite yearning which is the essence of romanticism.   -- ETA Hoffmann

The famous theme is derived from Cherubini’s revolutionary Hymne du Panthéon of 1794. The words for that piece were overtly revolutionary – ‘We swear, sword in hand, to die for the Republic and for the rights of man’ – and it was a heck of a thing for a composer to encode in a symphony without words. If this had come out into the open in a city as reactionary as Vienna, he would have been incarcerated.  -- Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Experiencing Malcolm X

Experiencing Malcolm X

Monday, April 3, 2017 at 4:45 PM

Sosnoff Theater, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
As we read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, First-Year Seminar presents The Acting Company (described by The New York Times as “the major touring classical theater in the United States”) in X: Or Betty Shabazz vs. The Nation, a new play written by Marcus Gardley (according to The New Yorker, “the heir to Garcia Lorca, Pirandello, and Tennessee Williams”) and directed by Ian Belknap.
Continuing with our theme of dialogues ancient and modern, this new play juxtaposes the assassinations of Julius Caesar and Malcolm X.  At a time of renewed activism regarding race and other social issues across the country, the play deepens our understanding of one of the most compelling and controversial revolutionary leaders of the 1960s.
Further details are available from your FYSEM instructor.  Attendance will be taken.
National Theater Live - EncoreFrankenstein

National Theater Live - Encore

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Avery Arts Complex (south campus)
Screenings at 6:30 PM and 9 PM

As we read Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, FYSEM presents the UK National Theatre Live’s thrilling broadcast of Frankenstein, adapted for the stage by Nick Dear.

Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire), Frankenstein features Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange, Sherlock) and Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting, Elementary) alternating roles as Victor Frankenstein and his creation.

Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein’s bewildered Creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, the friendless Creature, increasingly desperate and vengeful, determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal.

Urgent concerns of scientific responsibility, parental neglect, cognitive development and the nature of good and evil are embedded within this thrilling and deeply disturbing classic gothic tale.

Co-sponsored with the Bard Center for Moving Image Arts
2017 Eugene Meyer Lecture in British History and LiteratureFrancine Prose on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

2017 Eugene Meyer Lecture in British History and Literature
Francine Prose on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 4:45 PM

Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center
Acclaimed Bard novelist and critic Francine Prose, who has just written the introduction to a new edition of Frankenstein published by Restless Books, makes the case for the continued relevance of this towering work of gothic fiction.
Francine Prose is the prize-winning author of twenty works of fiction, including most recently Mister Monkey. Her works of nonfiction include the widely praised Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and The New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer
Eugene Meyer (1875-1959) was the owner and publisher of the Washington Post, chairman of the Federal Reserve, and first president of the World Bank. Previous Eugene Meyer speakers include Sir David Cannadine, Colm Tóibín, Andrew Roberts, Fintan O'Toole and David Reynolds.

Experiencing Coriolanus

Monday October 3, 2016 at 4:45 PM

Sosnoff Theater, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts

Join us in in Frank Gehry's iconic Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts to explore the dramatic story of the Roman soldier and leader Coriolanus. As we approach our own presidential election, his story, set in a war-weary nation starkly divided by internal political conflict, remains as timeless as ever. At its heart is a question that has challenged and perplexed us for millennia: what is the relationship between the people and those who govern them?

First, Bard College president and internationally-renowned conductor Leon Botstein leads Bard's pre-professional training orchestra, The Orchestra Now (TŌN), in a presentation centered around Beethoven's Coriolan Overture.

Then Bard College director-in-residence Jonathan Rosenberg and a cast of three professional actors—Kathleen Chalfant, Ezra Knight, and Richard Topol—perform scenes from Shakespeare's Coriolanus and discuss with students the interpretative choices they make when performing the play.

You've read Plutarch and Shakespeare in class: now come and see Coriolanus on the stage!

Further details are available from your FYSEM instructor. Attendance will be taken.
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Contact Us:

Program Directors:
Richard Aldous, Eugene Meyer Professor of British History and Literature
Karen Sullivan, Irma Brandeis Professor of Romance Culture and Literature

For further information, please contact:  
Julie Cerulli, Program Assistant
Tel: 845-758-7514