Bard News & Events

Press Release


Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Preliminary program details were announced today for the 11th annual Bard Music Festival which will take place over two weekends, August 11-13 and August 18-20, 2000, on Bard College’s scenic Hudson River Valley campus. Co-directed by Leon Botstein and Robert Martin, this year’s festival, Beethoven and His World, will celebrate the music of one of history’s most legendary composers, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), with orchestral, choral, and chamber concerts, along with discussions, preconcert talks, and a symposium affording a rediscovery of his music and legacy.

The eleven programs of Beethoven and His World survey the range of his output chronologically, and feature many works that were popular in his lifetime but have since fallen out of the repertory. These include a number of Beethoven songs as well as Elegischer Gesang, Op. 118 for four voices and string quartet (1814), Wellingtons Sieg oder Die Schlacht bei Vittoria ("Battle Symphony"), Op. 91 (1813), the Lobkowitz Cantata, WoO 106 for soprano, chorus, and piano (1823), and the Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, WoO 87 (1790). Other highlights include such audience favorites as his Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 (1811-12), Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 58 (1805-6), Thirty-three Variations in C Major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120 (1819-23), and the String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2 (1806). In its final weekend, the Festival concludes with Beethoven’s lofty choral masterpiece, the Missa solemnis, Op. 123 (1819-23).

Among this season’s featured performers are Melvin Chen, piano; Hélène Grimaud, piano; Siiri Schütz, piano; Dmitry Rachmanov, piano; Cynthia Raim, piano; Charles Rosen, piano; Juliette Kang, violin; Julie Rosenfeld, violin; the Jacques Thibaud String Trio; the Colorado String Quartet; the Wihan String Quartet; the Ludwig String Quartet; John Aler, tenor; John Cheek, bass-baritone; Helen Donath, soprano; Stephan Genz, baritone; Marietta Simpson, mezzo-soprano; Steven Tharp, tenor; the New York Virtuoso Singers; and others. The Bard Festival Orchestra will be led by Leon Botstein, conductor.

Beethoven’s significance and influence on the history of music over the past 200 years cannot be exaggerated. In the nineteenth century Beethoven came to represent the Romantic ideal of "artist as hero" and, in the twentieth century, his shadow loomed impressively over the evolution of modernism. At the same time, selections from his most recognized works have become clichés as they were appropriated by a startlingly contradictory range of personal and political and personal ideologies.

The Festival will systematically reexamine Beethoven’s influential stature by exploring his compositional practices and intentions, the nature of his personality, his life in Bonn and Vienna, and the form and character of his music. Within the chronological framework of the eleven programs, genres will be mixed, and well-known works will be placed side-by-side with the less familiar in each concert. It will be revealed that, surprisingly, much of Beethoven’s music is not well known, and many of the works most popular in his lifetime are now rarely heard. Through a reappraisal of Beethoven in his historical context, the Bard Music Festival seeks to help illuminate the ways Beethoven and his music may continue to influence music and culture in the twenty-first century.

As in previous seasons, a book of essays by noted scholars, Beethoven and His World, edited by Michael P. Steinberg and Scott Burnham, created expressly for the Festival and published by Princeton University Press, will be available to enhance the experience for concert-goers.


This eleventh season follows previous festivals devoted to the composers Arnold Schoenberg, Joseph Haydn, Johannes Brahms, Antonin Dvorák, Charles Ives, Bela Bartók, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Felix Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss, and Robert Schumann. The goal of each annual festival has been to explore the music of a single composer a historical and musical contexts, through performances of both familiar and lesser-known works and rich offerings of panels, preconcert talks, and special events.

The Bard Music Festival was established in 1990 as an annual two-week summer festival on Bard’s 600-acre campus overlooking the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. Recitals and chamber concerts take place in Bard’s intimate, 370-seat Olin Hall and the Chapel of the Holy Innocents; orchestra concerts are presented in an 800-seat acoustical tent on the campus. Bard College is located 90 miles north of New York City and is easily accessible by train or car.

For program, ticket, and lodging information for the Bard Music Festival, write to Bard Music Festival, Bard College, P.O. Box 5000, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000; call (914) 758-7410; or e-mail To purchase tickets call the box office at (914) 758-3226.

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(April 6, 2000)

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001