Bard News & Events

Press Release


Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — As part of its First-Year Seminar (FYS) program, Bard College is hosting a series of free concerts, lectures, and films on Monday afternoons this fall. The theme of this year's seminar is "What is Enlightenment?" and the series is highlighted by a lecture and performance by Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO) on Monday, September 15, in the newly opened Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. All events are free and open to the public, start at 4:30 p.m., and, with the exception of the ASO event, take place at 4:30 p.m. in Olin Hall.

The fall lecture series is a part of the First-Year Seminar at Bard College, a required two-semester program for freshman students that introduces them to worldwide, intellectual, artistic, and cultural traditions and to methods of studying those traditions. The fall program is organized around a central theme, "What is Enlightenment?" and focuses on a series of primary readings, largely from the 17th and 18th centuries—the period of the so-called Enlightenment in Europe. The lecture series provides a public forum for the students, the public, and leading scholars and artists to explore both contemporary and relevant issues, as well as the latest scholarship on enduring questions.

The highlight of this year's event series is the lecture and performance by Leon Botstein and the ASO on Monday, September 15. With the orchestra on stage to demonstratemusical thinking in a vivid fashion, Botstein will discuss how Franz Joseph Haydn's music and its original formal development connects to and illustrates 18th-century aesthetic principles and ethical values. The orchestra will then perform Haydn's Symphony No. 103 in E-flat major ("Drum Roll") in its entirety.

Other events include a panel discussion on the transatlantic slave trade featuring renowned Nigerian writer and Bard professor Chinua Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart, and Bard professors Myra Armstead and Geoffrey Sanborn. The panel will focus on the paradox of the brutally inhumane slave trade carried on throughout the height of the Enlightenment, an era that emphasized individual freedom, natural rights, and equality before the law. There are also lectures by distinguished outside scholars, including Wesleyan University professor Stephen Angle, who will discuss "Confucian Enlightenment" on September 22; and Adam Sutcliffe, a professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who will discuss "Judaism, Enlightenment, and the Paradoxes of Toleration" on November 3. The series opens on September 8, with a lecture, "From Kant to Kosovo: Does Enlightenment Still Work?," by Tom Keenan, director of the Human Rights Program at Bard. Keenan will look at how the philosophical values of the Enlightenment continue to inform the struggle for human rights on a global scale.

The American Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski with a 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 into an effort to revitalize the concertgoing experience in order to maintain it as a vibrant force in contemporary culture. As part of Lincoln Center Presents Great Performers, the ASO performs thematically organized concerts at Avery Fisher Hall, linking music to the visual arts literature, politics, and popular culture, often in collaboration with museums and other cultural institutions. During the summer, the ASO is featured in the Bard Music Festival at Bard College.

Leon Botstein is music director and principal conductor of the ASO; founder, coartistic director, and conductor of the Bard Music Festival; and president of Bard College. He was recently appointed music director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. 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.

Schedule of Events:

Olin Auditorium, Mondays, 4:30 p.m.

September 8: From Kant to Kosovo: Does Enlightenment Still Work? Lecture by Tom Keenan, director of the Human Rights Program at Bard College September 15: In Reason’s Ear: Music and the Enlightenment Concert and Lecture by Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra [The Richard B. Fisher Performing Arts Center] September 22: Confucian Enlightenment Lecture by Stephen Angle, associate professor of philosophy, Wesleyan University and author of Human Rights and Chinese Thought: A Cross-Cultural Inquiry September 29: Competing Views of the Cosmos in Galileo’s Time Lecture by Matthew Deady, professor of physics, Bard College October 6: The Art of Eyesight: Painting and Optical Theory in the Dutch Golden Age Lecture by Susan Merriam, assistant professor of art history, Bard College October 20: Film Screening of Eric Rohmer’s My Night at Maude’s

October 27: Panel Discussion on Pascal’s Wager Mark Halsey, associate professor of mathematics; Karen Sullivan, associate professor of literature; Jeff Suzuki, visiting assistant professor of mathematics, Bard College November 3: Judaism, Enlightenment, and the Paradoxes of Toleration Lecture by Adam Sutcliffe, Chaim Lopata Assistant Professor of European Jewish History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and author of Judaism and Enlightenment

November 17: Film Screening of Mozart’s Opera, Don Giovanni

November 24: The Seductions of Don Giovanni Christopher Gibbs, James H. Ottaway Jr. Visiting Professor of Music, Bard College, and coartistic director of the Bard Music Festival

December 1: Panel Discussion of Equiano and the Transatlantic Slave Trade Chinua Achebe, Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature; Geoffrey Sanborn, assistant professor of literature; Myra Armstead, professor of history, Bard College December 8: Columns or Crenelation? The Evolving Association of Classical and Anti-Classical Architecture Diana Minsky, visiting assistant professor of art history, Bard College < All events are free and open to the public. For more information on the American Symphony Orchestra event on September 15, call 758-7900. For information on all other events, call 758-7649.
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This event was last updated on 12-11-2003