Bard News & Events

Press Release


Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- This summer, The Bard Music Festival will turn its attention to the musical world of composer Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). The Thirteenth Annual Bard Music Festival, Mahler and His World --taking place over two weekends, August 9--11 and August 16--18, 2002, 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 Mahler's musical world and legacy vividly to life for concertgoers.

The twelve programs of Mahler and His World will explore the composer's music in the context of his contemporaries, bringing together a broad range of genres, including orchestral and chamber music, song repertoire, and folk music and dance. Programs will be organized around such topics as "Mahler and Twentieth-Century Music," "Mahler's Contemporaries," and "Popular Music in Vienna at the Turn of the Century." Featured alongside Mahler's music will be works by his conservatory friends Hans Rott and Hugo Wolf, as well as more famous contemporaries Richard Strauss, Hans Pfitzner, and Alexander Zemlinsky. Works by Bruckner, Brahms, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern will be placed in the context of Mahler's career, and audiences will have an opportunity to hear works by Bruno Walter, Felix Weingartner, and Alma Mahler.

Festival highlights include a performance of Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with chamber ensemble, arranged by Arnold Schoenberg, and two consecutive programs pairing an afternoon performance of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, featuring tenor John Horton Murray, with an evening performance of the Symphony No. 2--a pairing originally programmed by Bruno Walter and performed in a 1911 memorial concert for Mahler.

The Festival will also present a unique opportunity to hear live performances of popular and folk music from the turn of the century, ranging from Viennese operetta, popular song, Schrammel music, rural Moravian and Bohemian music, and examples of Jewish music from Vienna and the Hapsburg empire. Mahler and His World will close with a performance of Mahler's monumental Symphony No. 8, "Symphony of a Thousand."

Gustav Mahler is one of the most popular and frequently performed composers from the classical music tradition. Underlying this widespread embrace and enthusiasm, however, is some degree of conflict and uncertainty about the nature of Mahler's legacy. The Bard Music Festival's thirteenth season will place Mahler's work in context with his peers and those he influenced, and will address such questions as Mahler's originality, his relationship to religion and his Jewish identity, and his relationship with his legendary wife, Alma. Over two weekends of performances and special events, the Festival will move through Gustav Mahler's life from his student days in Vienna to his last years in New York.

During the second weekend the Festival will present a symposium entitled "Mahler's Fin-de-siècle." 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, Mahler and His World, is edited by Karen Painter of Harvard University.

The Bard Music Festival was established in 1990 as an annual two-week music 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. Beginning in 2003, orchestra concerts will be held in the College's new performing arts center designed by architect Frank O. Gehry. 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 845-758-7456; 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.]

(3/14/02) # # #

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This event was last updated on 03-15-2002