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TWELFTH ANNUAL BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL TO EXPLORE MUSICAL WORLD OF FRENCH COMPOSER CLAUDE DEBUSSY Turn of the Century Parisian Society and Culture Provide Vivid Backdrop to Bard Festival's Rediscovery of

Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-Parisian culture and society at the turn of the last century provide a vibrant context for the Bard Music Festival in 2001, which this year explores the musical world of Claude Debussy (1862-1918). The Twelfth Annual Bard Music Festival, Debussy and His World-taking place over two weekends,

August 10-12 and August 17-19, 2001, on Bard College's scenic Hudson River Valley campus-presents orchestral, choral, and chamber concerts, complemented by discussions, preconcert talks, and a symposium, all designed to bring Debussy's musical world and legacy vividly to life for concertgoers.

The eleven programs of Debussy and His World bring together a broad range of genres, including orchestral and chamber music, song repertoire, choral music, and other special events, such as "The Lure of the Exotic," which illustrates the influence of music from Spain, Russia, Scotland, the Middle East, Bali, and China. Programs will be organized around such topics as "French Nationalism and Music," "Debussy's Friends and Admirers," "Cosmopolitan Paris Before the War," and "The French Musical Establishment of the Third Republic." Featured along with Debussy's music will be works by Bizet, Gounod, Massenet, Saint-Saëns, Franck, Ravel, Stravinsky, and others.

Highlights of the festival include rare performances of Debussy's Printemps for piano four hands and female chorus, a work the composer submitted to the Prix de Rome; and a rarely heard orchestral work, Ode de la France. Throughout the festival there will be an emphasis on song literature by Debussy and his contemporaries.

Claude Debussy's life and music offer an opportunity for the Bard Music Festival to reexamine the musical paths taken by French composers from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, a time which saw the evolution of modern French nationalism, the transformation of painting, photography, and sculpture in France, and the emergence of modern poetics and the modern novel. The festival will explore Debussy's role in the evolution of a distinctly French aesthetic, which began with the generation of César Franck and developed in a factional music scene that included such composers as Saint-Saëns, Dukas, Widor, Chausson, Magnard, and others.

In addition to the special program "The Lure of the Exotic," which features examples of music from the 1889 World's Fair, the festival will present a symposium on "Literature and Painting in Fin-de-siècle Paris." As with past festivals, Princeton University Press will release a collection of essays and articles by noted scholars at the start of the festival. This season's volume, Debussy and His World, is edited by Jane Fulcher of Indiana University.

The Bard Music Festival was established in 1990 as an annual two-week event on Bard's scenic 600-acre campus overlooking the Hudson River and the 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 readily accessible by train or car.

For ticket and program information, call the box office at 845.758.3226; write to the Bard Music Festival, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000; or visit the Bard Music Festival website at

[Note to editors-Photographs are available, in transparency and electronic form, by request. Call 845-758-7412 or email for information.]

(3/14/01) # # #




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This event was last updated on 03-20-2001