Bard News & Events

Press Release

The Bard Center Presents the 2010 Aston Magna Music Festival

Featurung the Music of Bach, Mozart, and Pergolesi, and an Exploration of 17th Century Italian Song

Eleanor Davis

Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. Aston Magna, whose concert series has been described by the New York Times as “America’s preeminent summer early-music event,” presents its 2010 concert series at Bard College on Friday evenings, June 18 and 25, and July 9 and 16. The series, held in Olin Hall, is sponsored by The Bard Center. Each 8:00 p.m. performance is preceded by a lecture at 7:00 p.m. A four-concert subscription is $90; two or three different concerts in a “make your own” subscription are $24 each; and single tickets are $30, $25 for senior citizens. A limited number of student rush tickets (for full-time students under the age of 25) will be available at the door 30 minutes prior to each concert for $5. For further information and reservations, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7887.

Under the artistic direction of Daniel Stepner, Aston Magna aims to interpret the music of the past as each composer envisioned it. For more than three decades, Aston Magna has been internationally recognized for its contributions to the popularization of early music, using historically accurate instruments and techniques. This year the festival is presenting a summer concert series and two workshops devoted to music spanning the period from the early 17th to the late 18th centuries. The Aston Magna at Bard series opens on Friday, June 18, with Stepner performing J. S. Bach’s three partitas for solo violin.

For its second concert, on Friday, June 25, Aston Magna will fill the air with “Completely Mozart,” a program dedicated to chamber music for winds and strings by the celebrated genius. Works include the quartet for oboe and strings, K. 370; an arrangement of the magnificent Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364, for string sextet; a movement for basset clarinet and string quartet, recently completed by Robert Levin; and the famous clarinet quintet, K. 581. Eric Hoeprich will play the basset clarinet in the final two works. Other artists will include Stepner and Nancy Wilson, classical violins; David Miller and Laura Jeppesen, classical violas; and Loretta O’Sullivan and Guy Fishman, classical cellos. Stephen Hammer will play classical oboe on the first work.

A birthday celebration, of sorts, will honor Giovanni Battista Pergolesi as he marks his 300th year. The third concert, on Friday, July 9, will feature the well-known and controversial early Italian comic opera La serva padrona. The cast includes Kristen Watson, soprano, and David Ripley, baritone. The composer’s lesser-known chamber cantata Orfeo will also be performed. Also appearing will be Frank Kelley, tenor; Stepner and Julie Leven, baroque violins; Jeppesen, baroque viola; O’Sullivan, baroque cello; Anne Trout, contrabass; Peter Sykes, harpsichord; and Cathy Liddell, theorbo.

For its final concert, on July 16, Aston Magna presents a multimedia event focusing on “17th-Century Italian Art and Music,” highlighting the musical context of the painter Artemesia Gentileschi (1593–ca. 1656). Guest director and theorbist Richard Savino will lead a program of music by Monteverdi, Marini, Frescobaldi, and others. Featured performers will also include sopranos Jennifer Ellis, Deborah Rentz-Moore, and Nell Snaidas with an ensemble including Stepner and Julie Leven, violins; Jeppesen, viola da gamba; and Michael Sponseller, harpsichord.

For further information and reservations, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7887.

For more information about workshops at Brandeis University devoted to music from the early 17th- to late-18th centuries, please consult the website

Aston Magna is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Aston Magna concerts at Bard are made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts.

 # # #


 [Editor’s Note: The Aston Magna series is repeated on Saturday evenings, June 19 and 26, and July 10 and 17, at 6 p.m., at the Daniel Arts Center at the Great Barrington, Massachusetts, campus of Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College. Single tickets are priced at $35, with discounts for subscriptions. Student/senior discount tickets may be purchased at the door, as available, on concert days. In addition, concerts 1 and 2 of the series will be performed on June 17 and June 24 at 8 p.m. at the Slosberg Auditorium at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Tickets are $35 with discounts for subscriptions. Senior tickets may be ordered in advance. For ticket information, call 800-875-7156, or 413-528-3595, or visit]


back to top

This event was last updated on 06-03-2010