Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-On Friday, July 12, Aston Magna at Bard College will present a concert titled "Bach and Vivaldi" in a series described by the New York Times as "America's preeminent summer early-music event." Under the artistic direction of Daniel Stepner, Aston Magna aims to interpret the music of the past as each composer imagined it. For almost three decades, the series has been internationally recognized for its contributions to the popularization of early music performed using historically accurate instruments and techniques. The concert, presented by The Bard Center, will begin at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall (a preconcert talk begins at 7:00 p.m.).

"Bach and Vivaldi" will include two works by Bach: the solo cantata "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut" (BWV 199), with soprano Sharon Baker; and Concerto for Oboe d'Amore in A Major (BWV 1055a), with soloist Stephen Hammer. The program also includes Vivaldi's Concerto for Strings in E Minor, F. 11, No. 13. An instrumental ensemble led by Daniel Stepner (baroque violin) and including Laura Jeppesen (baroque viola and viola da gamba), Loretta O'Sullivan (baroque cello), Jane Starkman (baroque violin), and Peter Sykes (keyboard) will accompany the soloists.

Voted Boston's "Musician of the Year, 1998" by the Boston Globe, soprano Sharon Baker is widely acclaimed for her stylistic musicianship and purity of tone, most notably in the interpretation of Baroque and contemporary music. Stephen Hammer is one of America's leading specialists in historical woodwinds. He is a founding member of the Amadeus Winds and the Bach Ensemble, as well as principal oboe of the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, and the Boston Handel and Haydn Society.

The series continues with harpsichordist John Gibbons, violinist Stepner, and viola da gambist Jeppesen, who are the featured performers for "Concerts en Trio" on Friday, July 19. They will perform Jean-Philippe Rameau's five colorful Pièces de clavecin en concerts.

The main feature of the concert "The Concerted Madrigal" on Friday, July 26, will be the seventh and eighth books of Claudio Monteverdi's madrigals on the topics of love and war. The program will also include instrumental music of early baroque composers Salomone Rossi and Biagio Manni. Performers include sopranos Roberta Anderson and Laurie Monahan, countertenor Jeffrey Gall, tenors Bruce Fithian and William Hite, baritone David Ripley, violinists Stepner and Kinloch Earle, lutist Catherine Liddell, and keyboardist Sykes.

The Aston Magna at Bard 2002 series concludes on Friday, August 2, with "Bach and Handel," featuring works by Bach, Handel, and Correlli (among others). An instrumental ensemble, led by Stepner, will be joined by soprano Dominique Labelle, who will perform Bach's cantata "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!" (with baroque trumpeter Josh Cohen) and Handel's recently rediscovered Gloria. Cohen is also featured in the performance of Arcangelo Correlli's sonata for trumpet and strings. The instrumental ensemble includes keyboardist Sykes, baroque violinists Stepner and Nancy Wilson, baroque violist David Miller, baroque cellist O'Sullivan, and baroque bassist Anne Trout.

Daniel Stepner, artistic director, is a distinguished violinist of great versatility. He has performed and recorded contemporary music with Boston Musica Viva; the sonatas of Charles Ives with pianist John Kirkpatrick; and solo works, chamber works, and concertos from the baroque and classical eras on period instruments. He is first violinist of the Lydian String Quartet and has served as concertmaster of the Handel & Haydn Society, Banchetto Musicale, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, and New Haven Symphony, and as associate concertmaster of Frans Brüggen's Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. Stepner has taught at the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory, and the Longy School of Music.

Aston Magna at Bard is made possible, in part, by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation at Bard College. A subscription for the five concerts is $60 and for any three concerts $40; single tickets cost $15. For information on the concert series and to order tickets, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.

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This event was last updated on 07-08-2002