Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY-The Da Capo Chamber Players will perform a special concert, "CELEBRATE BARD!," on Wednesday, April 17, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall at Bard College. The performance features works by Bard faculty members Joan Tower and Kyle Gann, as well as works by Louise Talma, Martin Bresnick, and two pieces by Bard student composers. The program, presented by The Bard Center, is free and open to the public. Following the concert, the composers will participate in a short panel discussion.

"Music at Bard is intensely creative," says Patricia Spencer, visiting associate professor of music at the College and flutist with Da Capo. "It evokes a spirit of much earlier times, when all performers were composers and vice versa. We've included a work by Louise Talma, as she is both a pioneering woman composer and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Bard in 1984."

Da Capo will perform Joan Tower's Flute Concerto (flute and piano version by the composer); Kyle Gann's New World Coming, for solo bassoon, flute, viola, and piano; Louise Talma's Lament; quintets by Bard students Casey Hale and Chandler Litterst; and a new piece by Martin Bresnick, My Twentieth Century, written for Da Capo. Guest artists Joan Tower, pianist and composer; Nicolas Danielson, violinist and concertmaster of the New York City Ballet; Lois Martin, violist and founding member of the Atlantic String Quartet; and Tamara Plummer, Bard student and bassoonist, will join the members of Da Capo for the program.

Da Capo is widely acclaimed for its virtuosity, stimulating programs, and openness to a wide spectrum of styles in new music. Its dedication to working with composers is matched by a commitment to rehearsing each piece as a living, moving, breathing entity, rather than a fixed blueprint. Winners of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1973, Da Capo was subsequently honored with a second major concert presented by the Naumburg Foundation for the group's 10th anniversary. Da Capo has been a leader in building a strong heritage of present-day American chamber music, and can now point with pride to more than 70 chamber music works written especially for the group. This season marks their 30th anniversary. The Da Capo Chamber Players are flutist Spencer, clarinetist Jo-Ann Sternberg, cellist André Emelianoff, violinist Eva Gruesser, and pianist Lisa Moore.

Funding for the concert is provided through the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation at Bard College. For further information, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.


The music of Martin Bresnick has been performed in festivals and concerts throughout the world. His compositions, written in virtually every medium from chamber and symphonic music to film and computer music, are sharply focused, expressive, and structurally intriguing. He has won numerous prizes including the Rome Prize, the Stoeger Prize for Chamber Music from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the first Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Aaron Copland Award for teaching from ASCAP, and a Berlin Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin. He has received commissions from the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as individual ensembles and performers. His work is represented by Carl Fischer Music Publishers, and is recorded by CRI, New World, Centaur, and Artifact Music.

"Kyle Gann's reputation as a composer is beginning to equal his renown as a writer on new music," wrote Paul Griffiths in the New York Times. An internationally known authority on American music, Gann has been assistant professor of music at Bard since 1997 and new-music critic for the Village Voice since 1986. He is the author of The Music of Conlon Nancarrow and American Music in the 20th Century. A collection of his Village Voice columns will appear in 2002. Gann studied composition with Ben Johnston, Morton Feldman, and Peter Gena. His music is often microtonal, using up to 37 pitches per octave, and his rhythmic language, based on contrasting tempos both in quick succession and at the same time, was developed from his study of Hopi, Zuni, and Pueblo Indian musics. In 1996-97 he received a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artists Fellowship. His major works to date are Custer and Sitting Bull, a 35-minute dramatic piece for voice and electronics drawn from historical texts; Transcendental Sonnets for chorus and orchestra; and a 10-movement suite The Planets, for the Relache ensemble.

Louise Talma (1906-96) studied composition at the Institute of Musical Art and later harmony, counterpoint, fugue, composition, and organ with Nadia Boulanger. A number of "firsts" stand out in her life: she was the first American to teach at Fountainebleau; the 1962 premiere of her opera, The Alcestiad, in Frankfurt am Main was the first major European production of an opera by an American woman; she was the first woman composer to be elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; and she was the first woman composer to receive two Guggenheim Fellowships. She was awarded honorary doctorates by Bard, Hunter, and St. Mary of the Woods Colleges. She wrote a large number of choral works, the Toccata for Orchestra, many song cycles with piano or chamber ensembles, and a rich collection of chamber music for various instrumentations.

The Detroit News notes that "Joan Tower has earned a place among the most original and forceful voices in modern American music." Tower, the Asher B. Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, is one of the most highly regarded composers in the United States today. In 1998, the year of her 60th birthday, more than 20 concerts were presented in her honor throughout the country. Tower received the Delaware Symphony's Alfred I. duPont Award for Distinguished American Composers and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 1990 was the recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Tower, whose orchestral works have been commissioned and performed around the world, is currently composer in residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke's in New York City. Recent commissions include works for percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the National Symphony Orchestra, pianist John Browning, the Emerson and Tokyo Quartets, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and a viola concerto for Paul Neubauer. Tower recently conducted the Anchorage Symphony and the University of Southern California orchestras. She was active as pianist with the 1973 Naumburg Award-winning ensemble, the Da Capo Chamber Players, which she founded. She was composer in residence with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and is currently coartistic director of the Yale/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and composer in residence at the Institute at Park City in Utah. Her most recent recording is Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman (Koch International Classics), with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor.

# # #


back to top

This event was last updated on 03-18-2002