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Recital by the Acclaimed Shanghai Quartet Opens the Fall 2007 Conservatory Concerts and Lectures

Emily Darrow

The Bard College Conservatory of Music Presents Renowned Musicians in Intimate Recitals in Olin Hall and Orchestra Concerts in the Acoustically Superb Fisher Center

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Tuesday, September 4, a recital by the acclaimed Shanghai Quartet opens the popular series, Conservatory Concerts and Lectures, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. The series, presented by The Bard College Conservatory of Music, includes performances and master classes with faculty members and students of the Conservatory as well as visiting orchestras and artists. All are free and open to the public.

The Shanghai Quartet is joined by violist Che-Yen Chen and cellist Hai-Ye Ni. The program includes Beethoven’s Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95, “Serioso”; Haydn’s Quartet in G Major, Op. 77, No. 1; and Tchaikovsky’s Sextet for Strings in D Major, Op. 70, “Souvenir de Florence.”

“The whole performance was superb,” wrote a critic in the New York Times of a concert by the Shanghai Quartet. Originally formed in Shanghai, this versatile ensemble is known for its passionate musicality, virtuosic technique, and multicultural innovations. To celebrate its 25th anniversary (2008–2009), the Quartet will premiere commissions from composers Chen Yi, Krzysztof Penderecki, and jazz pianist Dick Hyman. The Quartet regularly tours the great music centers of North and South America, Asia, and Europe. It has appeared frequently at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and has performed in venues from London, Vienna, and Prague to Australia’s Sydney Opera House. The Quartet is the ensemble in residence at Montclair State University. Members also serve as visiting professors at the Shanghai Conservatory and the Central Conservatory in China. Two of its members, violinists Weigang Li and Yi-Wen Jiang, serve on the faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music

Described by Strad magazine as a musician whose “tonal distinction and essential musicality produced an auspicious impression,” Taiwanese violist Che-Yen Chen (also known as Brian Chen) has established himself as a prominent recitalist, chamber, and orchestral musician. He is the first-prize winner of the 2003 William Primrose Viola Competition and won the President Prize of the 2003 Lionel Tertis Viola Competition. He has performed throughout the United States and abroad in such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jordan Hall, Library of Congress, Kimmel Center, Taiwan National Concert Hall, Wigmore Hall, and Snape Malting Concert Hall, among numerous others.

One of the most accomplished young cellists of our time, Hai-Ye Ni is currently principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She came into prominence via her critically praised New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1991, which resulted from her being awarded first prize at the Naumburg International Cello Competition. She was the youngest musician to receive this distinguished award. In 1996, Ni was the unanimous choice for first prize in the International Paulo Cello Competition in Finland. In 2001 she received the Avery Fisher Career Grant.

In conjunction with the celebration of the opening of the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation, the Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Guillermo Figueroa, performs works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky on Sunday, September 23. The featured soloist for the concert, which begins at 3:00 p.m. in Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, is violinist Weigang Li.

On Wednesday,  September 26, pianist Alexander Tamir offers a master class at 4:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. Tamir, professor of piano and chair of the piano department at Jerusalem Academy of Music, is a pivotal figure in the musical life of Israel, and especially of Jerusalem. He is the artistic director of the Targ Music Centre in Ein Karem, Jerusalem. Half a century ago, Tamir formed a piano duo with Bracha Eden, which became world famous and remained active until Eden’s death last year. The duo studied with Victor Babin and Vitya Vronsky and won the international Vercelli duo competition in Italy. The worldwide performances and research by the Eden-Tamir Duo were instrumental in molding today’s approach to the artistry of duo pianism, and their contribution to expanding duo repertoire was remarkable. Inter alia, they were responsible for introducing Lutoslawski’s Paganini Variations and, at the suggestion of Stravinsky, were the first to perform and record the two-piano version of The Rite of Spring. The duo’s many prizes include Grand prix du disque. Many compositions were especially written for and premiered by them.

On Thursday, October 4, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall, the Conservatory presents a faculty recital by clarinetist Laura Flax and guest artist and flutist Bart Feller. Flax is the principal clarinetist of both the New York City Opera and the American Symphony Orchestra. She also performs regularly with the New York Philharmonic and has been a member of the San Diego and San Francisco Symphonies. Flax has premiered works by Elliott Carter, Philip Glass, Shulamit Ran, and Joan Tower, among other composers. In addition to serving on the faculty of the Conservatory, she is also on the faculty of The Juilliard School, and gives master classes and recitals throughout the United States. Feller is principal flute of the New York City Opera and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Bargemusic, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Feller has appeared as concerto soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Jupiter Symphony.

The Hungarian Brass Quintet presents a recital on Thursday, October 11, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall.


“Arias & Bacarolles,” performed by students of the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts, are offered on Wednesday, October 17, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall.

On Wednesday, October 24, at 8:00 p.m. in Sosnoff Theater of the Fisher Center, the Conservatory presents the Seoul Arts High School Orchestra, conducted by Nanse Gum.

A performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 by the Mannes College Orchestra, conducted by David Hayes, is presented on Saturday, November 3, at 8:00 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater of the Fisher Center.

On Wednesday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Bard Hall, the Conservatory and the Music Program at Bard present “Music Alive!” The program, hosted by Joan Tower, features more than 15 musicians performing works by Copland, Schnittke, Tower, and Tsontakis as well as a premiere by Conservatory composition student Conor Brown.

The preliminary round of the Bard Conservatory Concerto Competition is held on Sunday, November 18, at 10:00 a.m. in Olin Hall, followed by the final round on Monday, November 19, at 7:00 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater of the Fisher Center.

The Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Melvin Chen, performs on Sunday, December 16, at 3:00 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater of the Fisher Center.

Chamber concerts are presented in Olin Hall on Friday, November 2, at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, November 11, at 3:00 p.m.; and Saturday, December 1, at 8:00 p.m. Artists and programs to be announced.

Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. All programs are subject to change. For further information call the Conservatory at 845-758-7196, e-mail, or visit



About The Bard College Conservatory of Music

Building on its distinguished history in the arts and education, Bard College has launched The Bard College Conservatory of Music, which welcomed its first class in August 2005. This innovative, double-degree program is guided by the principle that musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. While training and studying for the bachelor of music degree with world-class musicians and teachers and performing in state-of-the art facilities, such as the new Frank Gehry–designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Conservatory students also pursue a bachelor of arts degree at Bard, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges.

Conservatory faculty include violinists Eugene Drucker, Yi-Wen Jiang, Ida Kavafian, Soovin Kim, Weigang Li, Laurie Smukler, and Arnold Steinhardt, and violin master classes with Ani Kavafian; violists Steven Tenenbom, Michael Tree, and Ira Weller; cellists Sophie Shao and Peter Wiley; double bassist Marji Danilow; pianists Melvin Chen, Jeremy Denk, Peter Serkin, and piano master classes with Richard Goode; oboists Laura Ahlbeck and Richard Dallessio; flutists Tara Helen O’Connor and flute master classes with Nadine Asin; clarinetists Laura Flax and David Krakauer; bassoonist Marc Goldberg; horn players Julie Landsman and Jeffrey Lang; trombonist John Rojak; trumpeter Mark Gould; and tuba player Alan Baer. The Conservatory Composition Program is directed by Joan Tower and George Tsontakis. The Colorado Quartet and Da Capo Chamber Players are in residence. Members and principals of the American Symphony Orchestra are also available for instruction, coaching, and leading of sectional rehearsals of the Conservatory Orchestra. In addition, the resources and faculty of the Bard College Music Program are available to students of the conservatory.

The Conservatory also includes the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts, directed by Dawn Upshaw, and The Conductors Institute and its graduate program in conducting, directed by Harold Farberman.

For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or log onto the program’s website,

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Click on thumbnail images to download high-resolution (300 dpi) press images.

Shanghai Quartet

Photo: Bard Martin

Shanghai Quartet
Photo: Montclair State University

Conservatory Chamber Orchestra

Photo: Karl Rabe

Guillermo Figueroa

Photo: Kim Jew

Guillermo Figueroa

Photo:  Erin Lubi

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This event was last updated on 09-12-2007