Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-The internationally acclaimed Conductors Institute, founded and directed by conductor/composer Harold Farberman, is celebrating its twentieth anniversary and new home at Bard College. From June 28 to July 30, the Institute will offer programs for professional and semiprofessional conductors and composers on Bard's scenic campus in New York's Hudson River Valley, ninety miles north of New York City.

"Bard is an extraordinary artistic incubator, an environment filled with creative energy that feels right for the Conductors Institute," said Farberman. "It is just the home for the Institute I always envisioned."

"We are thrilled to have this prestigious institute affiliated with the College," said Leon Botstein, president of Bard and music director of the American Symphony Orchestra. "Harold Farberman has created a preeminent institution for conductors and composers," said Dr. Botstein, who added that Bard, well known for its strength in the performing arts and its active role as a presenter of world-class music, will make an ideal home for the Conductors Institute.

Twenty years ago Farberman founded the Conductors Institute at the University of West Virginia in Morgantown, seeking to fill a void in the United States with a summer training program for conductors. "I hit on a formula that remains the same to this day-vigorous technical training and promotion of American music in a cooperative atmosphere," he said. All the conducting workshops with orchestra and string quartet are videotaped for participants' self-assessment and evaluation.

Thirty-eight conductors will be accepted in two categories for four-week Institute: Fellows, who work with the Institute orchestra during the morning, or Colleagues, who work with the Institute string quintet during the afternoon and with the Institute orchestra on Fridays. Highlights of the repertoire include Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Verdi's Requiem, Mahler's Symphony No. 5, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and works by faculty composers.

Concurrent with the four-week Institute, a two-week Discovery Program takes place July 5-16, directed by Michelle Basile. The program is designed for conductors with limited experience who want to improve their skills. Participants work with a string quartet in three-hour afternoon sessions five days a week.

Six composers will be accepted into the Institute's Composer-Conductor program, which takes place July 19-30. Paired with six Institute conductors, the composers study conducting, while the conductors compose a two-minute work. Works by the student composers, and the two-minute conductors' works, will be performed by the Institute orchestra. During the first week the eminent composer George Crumb will be available to review the works of the student composers.

Farberman anchors an Institute faculty that this year includes conductors Daniel Lewis, Alfred Savia, James Setapen, and Michelle Basile-all "gifted teachers," Farberman said. "Al Savia was one of the first students of the Institute and is now music director of the Evansville [Indiana] Philharmonic Orchestra. He is one of the many distinguished conductors who have passed through the Institute, including Keith Lockhart of the Boston Pops and Marin Alsop, one of the leading female conductors in the country." Composers at the 1999 Institute-a "veritable royal hall of fame," said Farberman-include Pulitzer Prize-winner George Crumb, Grawemeyer Award-winner and Bard faculty member Joan Tower, and noted film orchestrator Conrad Pope.

The application deadline for the Institute is April 15. For more information and an application, call Administrative Director Amie McEvoy at 914-758-7425 or e-mail:

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001