Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Aston Magna, whose concert series is described by the New York Times as "America's preeminent summer early-music event," will begin its summer series at Bard College on Friday evenings from July 7 through August 4, sponsored by The Bard Center. Under the artistic direction of Daniel Stepner, Aston Magna aims to interpret the music of the past as each composer imagined it. The festival has been recognized internationally over the last two decades for its contributions to the popularization of early music performed using historically accurate instruments and performance practices. A preconcert talk begins each evening at 7:00 p.m. in Olin Hall, followed by the performance at 8:00 p.m.

"Italy: Madrigals and Sonatas," featuring the music of Claudio Monteverdi and Salomone Rossi, begins the series on Friday, July 7. The program includes the ballo Movete al mio Ben Suon from Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals. Sopranos Roberta Anderson and Sharon Baker, tenors William Hite and Frank Kelley, and bassist David Ripley are joined by violinists Kinloch Earle and Daniel Stepner, violist da gamba Laura Jeppesen, and lutist Catherine Liddell.

"The Trout Quintet," the second concert, on Friday, July 14, features the chamber music of Franz Schubert. Musicians are violinist Daniel Stepner, violist David Miller, cellist Loretta O'Sullivan, bassist Anne Trout, and fortepianist John Gibbons.

The third concert in the series, "Great Baroque Arias," on Friday, July 21, features Handel’s dramatic cantata Lucrezia, along with selected arias and instrumental gems by Bach and Purcell. Soprano Nancy Armstrong is joined by cellist Loretta O'Sullivan, harpsichordist Peter Sykes, and violinist Daniel Stepner.

The fourth concert, on Friday, July 28, "Pathways to Bach: Music for Violin Alone," performed by violinist Daniel Stepner, features masterpieces for unaccompanied violin by Bach and others.

The final concert of the series, on Friday, August 4, is "Bach Cantatas," including O Jesu Christ, mein Lebens Licht; Wiederstehe doch der Sünde; Amore Traditore; and Geschwinde, ihr wirbeln den Winde ("The Singing Contest of Phoebus and Pan"). Soprano Jane Bryden, alto Jeffrey Gall, tenors Frank Kelley and Mark Kagan, and basses Robert Honeysucker and David Ripley are joined by an instrumental ensemble led by Daniel Stepner.

Daniel Stepner, artistic director, is a distinguished violinist of great versatility, who has performed and recorded contemporary music with the Boston Musica Viva; the sonatas of Charles Ives with pianist John Kirkpatrick; and solo works, chamber works, and concertos from the Baroque and Classical eras on period instruments. He is first violinist of the Lydian String Quartet and has served as concertmaster of the Handel & Haydn Society, Banchetto Musicale, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, and New Haven Symphony, and as associate concertmaster of Frans Brüggen's Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. Stepner has taught at the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory, and the Longy School of Music.

Aston Magna at Bard is made possible, in part, by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and through the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and The Leon Levy Foundation at Bard College. A subscription for the five concerts is $60, for any three concerts $38; single tickets cost $15. For information on the concert series and to order tickets, call The Bard Center at 914-758-7425.

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001