Bard News & Events

Press Release


Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard College, which has long been recognized as a leader in the advancement and support of the arts and arts education, has received an endowment grant of $1 million from the Ford Foundation to administer for the support and development of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO).

The endowment grant will help to fund a range of programs of the ASO, which has an established reputation for innovative programming and presentation, initiatives in music education, and the broadening of audiences for orchestral concerts. The grant will also support ongoing and future collaborations between Bard and the ASO relating to programming and educational projects, especially as the opening of Bard’s Performing Arts Center in 2002 draws nearer.

"We are deeply gratified by this strong endorsement of the work of the American Symphony Orchestra and the principle of collaboration between educational institutions and presenters of performing arts outside of the commercial realm," said Leon Botstein, president of Bard College and music director of the American Symphony Orchestra.

"Through this generous grant, the Ford Foundation has demonstrated foresight and an ongoing commitment to supporting the orchestra’s interdisciplinary conception of music and music education," Botstein said, adding, "The grant will strengthen the orchestra’s ability to present its concerts imaginatively and adventurously, both in New York City and eventually at the Bard Performing Arts Center."


In addition, he said, "the grant will help us to develop further a model for colleges and universities which, like Bard, seek to protect and guide the non-commercial art forms that are essential to our culture."

In announcing the grant, Susan V. Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation, said, "We’re pleased to support an orchestra that has helped broaden the repertoire for classical music programming and successfully forged a creative relationship with a leading liberal arts college with particular strengths in the fine and performing arts."

Since his 1992 appointment as music director of the American Symphony Orchestra, Leon Botstein has invigorated New York’s musical life through new conceptions in programming and performance. As the first orchestra to institute thematic programming, and with its original educational publications, preconcert talks and symposia, and educational concert series, the ASO has successfully drawn new and younger audiences to orchestral concerts. The grant will provide substantive new support for these endeavors, according to Lynne Meloccaro, executive director of the ASO. "We are extremely pleased by the Ford Foundation’s generous support, which validates our efforts to explore ways for orchestras and great music to remain effective cultural institutions for current and future audiences," Meloccaro said. "An endowment such as this, which acknowledges that new ways of doing things must be explored, helps immeasurably in securing our continued presentation of daring, inventive programming and quality performances."

Alison Bernstein, vice president, Education, Media, Arts & Culture, The Ford Foundation, said, "Colleges and Universities have a significant and crucial role in nurturing our nation’s cultural resources. We believe that Bard’s leadership deserves to be supported and emulated."

The endowment will be instituted as a challenge grant, in which the American Symphony Orchestra pledges to match the $1 million Ford grant with $2 million to be raised over the next three fiscal years. The completion of the grant will coincide with the opening of Bard’s new 100,000 square foot Performing Arts Center, designed by Frank O. Gehry.

(3.14.00) # # #

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001