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Pianist Melvin Chen in Recital at Bard on Sunday, March 9

Emily Darrow


Bard’s Conservatory Concerts and Lectures Series Presents Free Concerts throughout the Semester with World-Acclaimed Artists


ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Conservatory Concerts and Lectures series presents pianist Melvin Chen in recital at Bard College on Sunday, March 9. Free and open to the public, the program begins at 3:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. Chen will perform Franz Josef Haydn’s Piano Sonata in C Major; György Ligeti’s Etudes pour piano—Book I; and Johannes Brahms’s Piano Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 5.


“A pianist whose playing is powerful and driven,” writes the New York Times of Tennessee native Melvin Chen. He is recognized as an important young artist, having received acclaim for performances throughout the United States and abroad. As a soloist and chamber musician Chen has performed at major venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Frick Collection, Kennedy Center, and Boston’s Jordan Hall, in addition to other appearances in the United States, Canada, and Asia. In recent seasons Chen’s concerts have included two solo recitals at Weill Recital Hall, concerto performances with the American Symphony Orchestra, and numerous solo and chamber music appearances internationally and in the United States.


Chen was the pianist in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice, presented by Lincoln Center in 2005, which received a special citation from the Obie Awards. His performances have been featured on radio and television stations around the globe, including KBS television and radio in Korea, NHK television in Japan, and NPR in the United States. Recently released recordings include Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations on the Bridge label and a recording of Joan Tower’s piano music on the Naxos label.


An enthusiastic chamber musician, Chen has collaborated with such artists as Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom, David Shifrin, Steven Isserlis, Pamela Frank, and Peter Wiley; with the Shanghai, Tokyo, Miami, Penderecki, Borromeo, and Miro quartets; and in contemporary music collaborations with the Da Capo Chamber Players and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble. He is an alumnus of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: Chamber Music Society Two, where he appeared with members of the Chamber Music Society in performance and educational programs for two seasons. As performer in numerous music festivals, he has appeared at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music Mountain, Chautauqua, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Bard Music Festival, and Music from Angel Fire, among others.


He completed a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University, and also holds a double master’s degree in piano and violin from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Seymour Lipkin and Glenn Dicterow, respectively. At Juilliard, Chen received a U.S. Department of Education Jacob Javits Fellowship, as well as the William Petschek Piano Scholarship and Ruth D. Rosenman Memorial Scholarship. Previously, he attended Yale University, receiving a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and physics. Upon graduation he was awarded the New Prize by the fellows of Jonathan Edwards College. During his tenure at Yale he studied with Boris Berman, Paul Kantor, and Ida Kavafian.


Chen, associate professor of interdisciplinary studies at Bard, is on the piano faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he is associate director, and previously served on the piano faculty at the Yale School of Music. He is also artistic director of the chamber music program at the Hotchkiss Summer Portals.


No reservations are necessary for the concert; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or visit



The Bard College Conservatory of Music

Robert Martin, Director
Melvin Chen, Associate Director


Building on its distinguished history in the arts and education, Bard College launched The Bard College Conservatory of Music, which welcomed its first class in August 2005. Now in its third year, the Conservatory’s undergraduate 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 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, Ani Kavafian (master classes), Ida Kavafian, Soovin Kim, Weigang Li, Laurie Smukler, and Arnold Steinhardt; violists Steven Tenenbom, Michael Tree, and Ira Weller; cellists Sophie Shao and Peter Wiley; double bassist Marji Danilow; pianists Melvin Chen, Jeremy Denk, Richard Goode (master classes) and Peter Serkin; oboists Laura Ahlbeck and Richard Dallessio; flutists Nadine Asin (master classes) and Tara Helen O’Connor; 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. Joan Tower and George Tsontakis direct the Conservatory Composition Program. The Colorado Quartet and Da Capo Chamber Players are in residence. Members and principals of the American Symphony Orchestra are 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 Graduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship, directed by Frank Corliss, provides accompanists for students in the undergraduate and the graduate vocal arts program.


The Graduate Program in Vocal Arts is a two-year master of music degree conceived by soprano Dawn Upshaw. The coursework is designed to support a broad-based approach to a singing career that extends from standard repertory to new music. Alongside weekly voice lessons and diction and repertory courses is training in acting, as well as core seminars that introduce and tie together the historical/cultural perspective, analytical tools, and performance skills that distinguish vocal and operatic performance at the highest level. In addition to artistic director Upshaw, the program includes associate director Kayo Iwama; voice teachers Edith Bers, Patricia Misslin, and Lorraine Nubar; diction coach Jennifer Ringo; Alexander Technique teachers Gwen Ellison and Judith Grodowitz; staff pianist Ying-Chien Lin; and career workshop coordinator Carol Yaple. Master classes have been held with conductor James Conlon; pianist Richard Goode; vocalists Phyllis Curtin, Timothy Hill, and Lucy Shelton; and directors JoAnne Akalaitis, Eve Shapiro and Peter Sellars.


The Conductors Institute at Bard aims to promote technical clarity and precision in baton movement; disarm the competitive learning process so that conductors assist and support one another; and encourage conductors to be advocates of contemporary composers. The six-week summer Conductors Institute offers four programs: the Discovery Program; the Composer-Conductor Program for composers who want to learn the fundamentals of conducting; Visual Score Study/Baton Placement and Body Movement Technique; and the Conducting Program for Fellows and Colleagues, in which students study with Maestro Harold Farberman and guest conductors and composers. The M.F.A. in conducting program comprises two consecutive summer Institutes and course work during the intervening academic year. The academic-year program features master classes in technical score study and analysis; class study in orchestral repertoire, composition, German or Italian for conductors, a “second” instrument, and solfège; and podium time, including class sessions with the Institute String Quintet, conducting opportunities with orchestra and chorus, and a thesis concert with the Institute Orchestra.


For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or visit


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This event was last updated on 03-10-2008