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Press Release

Bard's Music Program Presents Vocal Concert on Tuesday, May 6, at the Fisher Center

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Under the direction of James Bagwell, the Bard College Symphonic Chorus and Chamber Singers perform in the acoustically superb Sosnoff Theater of the Fisher Center on Tuesday, May 6. The program begins at 8:00 p.m. and tickets are $5 (free for Bard students and children 12 and under).


The program includes Transcendental Sonnets, by Bard professor Kyle Gann, featuring tenor Patrick Cook, soprano Chanel Wood, and pianists James Fitzwilliam and Wei-Han Wu. The Chamber Singers perform works by Bard student composers Daniel Whitener and Ben Richter. Rounding out the program is a new work by Fitzwilliam, longtime accompanist for the Bard Symphonic Chorus.


“It is a genuine thrill for me work with these new compositions. I originally commissioned Transcendental Sonnets in 2001, but was unable to conduct the premiere, so I asked Kyle to prepare a new two piano version, so this is, in a sense, a new piece,” says Maestro Bagwell, associate professor of music and choral director at Bard.


Conductor James Bagwell maintains an active schedule throughout the United States as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral literature. In 2006 he made his major orchestra debut, leading the Jerusalem Symphony in two concerts, and in 2007 he led subscription concerts with the Tulsa Symphony. In summer 2005 he led six sold-out performances of Copland’s The Tender Land as part of Bard SummerScape, which received unanimous praise from the New York Times, New Yorker, and Opera News. He returned to SummerScape in 2006 to conduct three Offenbach operettas, and in 2007 to lead a new production of The Sorcerer. Now in his ninth season as music director of Light Opera Oklahoma, he conducted three new productions for the 2007 summer festival season, including the OK Mozart International Music Festival in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Bagwell is director of choruses for the Bard Music Festival, conducting and preparing choral works during the summer festival at the

Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard, and at Alice Tully Hall in New York City. He also prepares the Concert Chorale of New York for concerts with the American Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Mostly Mozart Festival, all in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. In 2005, he was named music director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York City, which has made three appearances at Carnegie Hall, most recently with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in October 2007. Since 1997 he has been music director of the May Festival Youth Chorus in Cincinnati, conducting regularly during the May Festival, Carolfest, and outreach concerts throughout the Cincinnati area. He is artistic director of the New York Repertory Singers, and serves as conductor for the Berkshire Bach Society Choruses. Bagwell has worked with such noted conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Louis Langrée, Leon Botstein, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Raymond Leppard, James Conlon, Christof Perick, Jesús López-Cobos, Erich Kunzel, Leon Fleischer, and Robert Shaw. In 2000 he joined the faculty of Bard College, where he is director of the Music Program.


Kyle Gann, an internationally known authority on American music, was new music critic for the Village Voice from 1986 to 2005. Since 1997, he has taught music history and theory at Bard College. Author of The Music of Conlon Nancarrow; American Music in the 20th Century; and Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice, Gann was awarded the American Music Center’s Letter of Distinction in 2003, along with Steve Reich, Wayne Shorter, and George Crumb. His works have been performed at festivals including New Music America, Bang on a Can, and Spoleto and have been recorded on the Lovely Music, New Tone, and Monroe Street labels. Gann maintains a blog on,


Seating for the May 6 concert is on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information, call 845-758-7900.


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To download high-resolution press images for upcoming Music Program events, please click on thumbnail images below:

James Bagwell, music director

Bard College Chamber Singers and Symphonic Chorus

Kyle Gann

Transcendental Sonnets

Chanel Wood, soprano

Patrick Cook, tenor

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This event was last updated on 05-06-2008