Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-The semiannual gala concert, presented by the Music Program of Bard College, will feature performances by the vocal, jazz, and electronic music ensembles as well as the debut performance of the new orchestra at Bard College. The audience will have a chance to name the new orchestra and the prize will be the opportunity play, sing, or conduct the orchestra at a rehearsal. The concert, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Olin Hall on Tuesday, May 11, at 8:00 p.m.

The student orchestra was founded by Music Program Director Joan Tower, an internationally known composer and conductor who will conduct the orchestra in its debut performance. "We were able to form a student orchestra because the Music Program has grown over the past few years, and more students are available to play a variety of instruments," she says. "For example, we now have a bassoonist and an oboist-and there's a funny story about that. At one of the get-acquainted lunches with prospective students, a young woman spoke to me, knowing I had something to do with the Music Program. I asked her what she played, and she said bassoon. 'You play what?' I asked, and she thought I didn't know what a bassoon was. But I was so excited because it had been thirteen years since a bassoonist had studied at Bard. That alumna is now a coach with the orchestra, and the prospective student is studying at Bard, and is our bassoonist."

The orchestra, which has rehearsed weekly since it was formed in February, will start small for its first appearance and will offer a full-length concert in December," says Tower. This performance they will play three selections: Rossini overture to Il Signore Bruschino; Haydn's London Symphony No. 104, The Andante and Minuet; and Ravel's "Rigaudon" from Tombeau de Couperin. Tower acknowledges "some outsiders rounding out the orchestra"-students from area high schools and adults. The youngest orchestra member is thirteen, the oldest thirty-five, with most of the additional players in their twenties. The orchestra has three volunteer coaches, one each for upper strings, lower strings, and wind instruments. It also has a manager, a librarian, and an assistant (an aspiring conductor) for Tower-all Bard students. "As the former composer-in-residence for the St. Louis Symphony, I realize how important it is to have a staff to support the orchestra," says Tower.

Three additional ensembles will play at the gala concert: the jazz ensemble directed by Thurman Barker; the vocal ensemble directed by Megan Hastie; and the electronic ensemble directed by Richard Teitelbaum. The jazz ensemble will play four selections, Rogers and Hart's "Have You Met Miss Jones," Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," Tim Clark's "Blue Reflections," and Horace Silver's "Sister Sadie." The vocal ensemble will perform Hildegard von Bingen's "The Letter O to Illustrata" and Poulenc's "Timor et tremor" and "Vinea mea electa." The electronic ensemble will play improvisational music.

For further information about the concert, call the music program at 914-758-7250.

About the Directors:

Thurman Barker, jazz ensemble, is associate professor of jazz studies at the College. He is a world-renowned drummer and percussionist with a further reputation as a player and interpreter of new music. Barker studied at the American Conservatory of Music and has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians since the age of seventeen, when he recorded his first album with Joseph Jarman. He has performed and recorded with Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, and Sam Rivers, among others. Barker's work Dialogue premiered at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City in 1994. He has received grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Barker's most recent recording is The Way I Hear It by Uptee Productions.

Megan Hastie, vocal ensemble, is a graduate of Bard College, where she currently teaches classical guitar. She has been the conductor of the Bard College Vocal Ensemble since 1991. She has also been assistant conductor and director of the Bard College Community Chorus.

Joan Tower, orchestra, is Asher B. Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College and one of the most highly regarded composers in the United States today. In 1998, the year of her sixtieth birthday, more than twenty concerts were presented in her honor throughout the country. She 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. She was active as the founder and pianist with the 1973 Naumburg Award-winning ensemble, the Da Capo Chamber Players. She was composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and is currently co-artistic director of the Yale/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and composer-in-residence at the Institute at Deer Valley in Utah. Her most recent recording (on d-Note Records) includes her Concertos for Clarinet, Flute, Piano, and Violin, featuring David Shifrin, Carol Wincenc, Ursula Oppens, and Elmar Oliveira.

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001