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FIRST CONCERT OF THE AMERICAN SYMPHONY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA 2002-03 BARD-VASSAR CONCERT SERIES FEATURES PERFORMANCES OF BACH, D'ALBERT, AND IVES September 20 and 21 concerts will feature guest artist, cellist Ashley Bathgate
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-The first concerts of the American Symphony Chamber Orchestra (ASCO) 2002-03 Bard-Vassar series, will feature performances of works by Bach, d'Albert, and Ives. The Friday, September 20, concert will be held in Olin Hall, Bard College; and the Saturday, September 21, concert will be held in Skinner Hall, Vassar College, both under the direction of Maestro Leon Botstein. The programs are presented by The Bard Center and begin at 8:00 p.m., with preconcert talks at 7:00 p.m.
The program includes Eugen d'Albert's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in C Major, Op. 20, with cellist Ashley Bathgate; Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047; and Charles Ives's Three Places in New England. Of Three Places in New England, composer and musicologist Nicholas Slonimsky, who conducted the premiere, wrote in a 1954 issue of Musical America, "The poetic invocation of old America, the turbulence of rhythms and massive harmonies, the stirring motion of waves of musical matter supporting the melodies in a contrapuntal design, all this was absorbing to me. The music was unlike any 'modern' music of the day. It could not be fitted into any category. It was a transcendental dream, but a dream filled with concrete images that assumed an objective reality."
Artistic director Leon Botstein explains that d'Albert's work offers "listeners a rare chance to hear one of the neglected gems of the cello concerto repertoire performed by a promising young cellist, who, by chance, has just entered her first year of college at Bard."
The next concerts in the ASCO series, will take place on February 14 and 15 and will offer Carl Maria von Weber's Oberon Overture; Beethoven's Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, "Emperor," with pianist Blanca Uribe; and Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 in A Major, "Italian." The final concerts of the series, on April 18 and 19, will feature Mozart's Concerto No. 9 in E-flat Major, "Jeunehomme," with pianist Todd Crow; Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, "Unfinished"; John Woolrich's Ulysses Awakes; and the world premiere of Richard Wilson's Peregrinations for viola and orchestra. The Woolrich and Wilson works will feature violist Paul Silverthorne.
The American Symphony Chamber Orchestra is composed of many of the best American Symphony Orchestra (ASO) musicians. The ASO was formed in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski with a stated mission to "perform concerts of great music within the means of everyone." Today, under music director Leon Botstein (who assumed the post in 1992), that mission has broadened to include the goal of revitalizing the concertgoing experience as a vibrant force in contemporary culture. Each year, the Bard-Vassar Concerts include several performances of superlative chamber music, featuring works of contemporary composers together with classics of the chamber repertoire.
Leon Botstein is music director of the ASCO, coartistic director and conductor of the Bard Music Festival, music director of the American Symphony Orchestra, and president of Bard College. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and has published several books, including The Compleat Brahms and Jefferson's Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture.
A first-year student at Bard College, Ashley Bathgate, age 17, began cello studies in 1997 with the late Rudolf Doblin. Her next teacher was Ann Alton of Juilliard Pre-College. She now studies with Luis Garcia-Renart, professor of music at Bard College. Bathgate, a member of the Empire State Youth Orchestra for five years, served as the orchestra's principal cello, sections coach, and coordinator of string ensembles. She received the Barry L. Richman Award in 2002, and is an unprecedented two-time winner of the Lois Lyman Concerto Competition. Bathgate appeared as a soloist with the Empire State Youth Orchestra at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in 1999 and 2001. She was also a featured young artist at the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, performing with pianist Pascal Rogé, violinist Chantal Juillet, and pianist Vanessa Benelli. In 2002, Bathgate performed in recitals, benefit performances, and with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. In January of 2002 she was among the first young musicians to receive a grant from the New York Philharmonic Players Fund. A high honors student throughout her high school career, Bathgate also received outstanding achievement awards in athletics, foreign language, and academics.
Single concert tickets are $20, a series subscription is $50. For further information about the ASCO Bard-Vassar concerts, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.
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