Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra (WCO) concert series at Bard College, presented by The Bard Center, continues on Wednesday, March 13, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. Admission to the concerts is $12 for adults, $6 for non-Bard students, and free for children 12 and under and Bard students, staff, and faculty.

The program features two works by Schumann, the "adagio espressivo" from Symphony No. 2 in C and the Concerto in A Minor for Cello, with guest artist Ashley Bathgate. Ars Choralis will join the WCO for the performance of Mozart's Vespers Solennes de Confessore, K. 339. Soloists include soprano Doris Blatter, alto Wendy Lowe, tenor Matthew Ulrich, and bass Paul Frazer. (This concert will also be performed on Saturday, March 9, at Holy Cross Church in Kingston, and on Sunday, March 10, at the Reformed Church of Saugerties.)

"The WCO continues the tradition of presenting exceptional local talent to join the orchestra with this concert," according to Luis Garcia-Renart, artistic director of the WCO. "Not only are we pleased to have the chance for talented cellist Ashley Bathgate to join us, but also the choral members and soloists of the Ars Choralis, a superb Hudson Valley chorus directed by Barbara Pickhardt."

The final concert of the 2001?02 WCO series at Bard will take place on Wednesday, May 8. This program will feature the world premiere of a work by acclaimed composer and Woodstock resident Peter Schickele. (His son, Matthew Schickele, a Bard graduate, also had an orchestral piece premiered by the WCO.) Also to be performed are Saint-Saëns's "Havanaise," Op. 83, and his "Introduction and Rondo Capricioso," with featured violinist Betty Jean Hagen (WCO concertmaster); and Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36. (This concert will also be performed on Saturday, May 4, at Holy Cross Church in Kingston, and on Sunday, May 5, at Bearsville Theater in Woodstock.)

These concerts are made possible in part with funds 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. For further information or to order tickets, call the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra at 845-246-7045.

About the artists:

"Bathgate has established herself as a rising star of the instrument [cello]," said Times Union classical music critic Ron Emery of Ashley Bathgate's recent performance with the Empire Youth Orchestra. "She demonstrated the full tone, generous musicality, long line, and mature command of her instrument in this performance of the Schumann." Bathgate, a 16-year-old from Saratoga Springs, is a student of Luis Garcia-Renart, artistic director of the WCO. She is the first-chair cellist of the Empire State Youth Orchestra and a two-time recipient of its Lois Lyman Concerto Competition. She was also the guest soloist in a young artists concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center's Chamber Music Festival. Bathgate, an honors student at Saratoga Springs High School, began studying the cello at age 11. She is a member of her school's earth science team (which took top honors in the National Science Olympiad) and an avid downhill skier.

Ars Choralis, founded in 1966, has performed with the WCO in more than 20 concerts since the early 1980s. Under the musical direction of Pickhardt, the chorus has performed throughout the Hudson Valley and recently in Europe, in Budapest and Vienna. The members of Ars Choralis believe in "music's ability to touch the heart, expand one's horizons, break down barriers between people, and encourage the spirit to become its ideal," according to Pickhardt.

WCO artistic director Luis Garcia-Renart's "supreme gift as conductor is his ability to inspire and elicit depth of expression from all his musicians, whatever level of technical ability," writes music critic Kitty Montgomery in the Daily Freeman. This is his 11th year as artistic director of the WCO. Garcia-Renart is a professor of music at Bard College and also serves on the faculties of Vassar College, the Piatigorsky seminars at the University of Southern California, and Yale University's summer programs in chamber music. He was born in Barcelona, Spain, and studied at the Music School of the National University and the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico. From 1951 until 1956, his cello studies were supervised by Pablo Casals. He also studied directly with Casals in France and in Puerto Rico until 1960, when he won a scholarship to study at the Conservatory of Moscow with Rostropovich and Khachaturian. Garcia-Renart attended the conservatories of Bern and Basel, Switzerland, and Trossingen, Germany, where he was a pupil of Sándor Veress and Sándor Vegh. Prizes awarded Garcia-Renart include the Casals International Contests in Paris in 1956, Xalpa in 1959, and Israel in 1961. He also received the Harriet Cohen Cello Prize in London in 1959. In addition to conducting, Garcia-Renart has been an active soloist in Europe, the Soviet Union, Israel, and North and South America.

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This event was last updated on 02-12-2002