Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON—The Bard Center will present “Two Pianos/Two Percussion,” a concert featuring the world premiere of Harold Farberman’s Early Hudson Valley Scenes, on Sunday, September 21. Free and open to the public, the concert will begin at 3:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. Featured artists include pianists Todd Crow and John Van Buskirk, percussionists Matthew Beaumont and Jonathan Haas, and the Peabody Percussion Ensemble. In addition to Early Hudson Valley Scenes, the concert will present Benjamin Britten’s Introduction and Rondo alla Burlesca, Op. 23, No. 1; Farberman’s Combinations, featuring the Peabody Percussion Ensemble; and Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. Early Hudson Valley Scenes, commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Howard, contains four lyrically titled pieces: “The Mighty Hudson River: A Whale’s Final Journey”; “Ice Skating on the Frozen Hudson: A Child’s First Attempts”; “Hudson Valley Autumn: Leaves Turning—Woodpeckers;” and “Valley Legends: The Headless Horseman.” “From the very beginning,” says composer, conductor, and Hudson Valley resident Farberman, “two essential elements of the work fell into place. The piece would be Hudson Valley–based, and it would be conceived as a companion to the wonderful Bartók Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, even though—or precisely because—the musical styles and use of the percussion instruments in each have little in common. The composition is both musically and technically demanding, and I regard the work as a quartet for virtuosos.” Sunday’s performance is the world premiere of the complete work. The last two movements were performed in the Sosnoff Theater as part of the opening ceremonies of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on April 26, 2003. For further information, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425. ABOUT THE ARTISTS: Matthew Beaumont is an active freelance percussionist. He served as principal timpanist for the Richmond Symphony Orchestra’s 2002–03 season. Beaumont appears regularly with the Delaware, Charleston, and Lancaster symphony orchestras and has also performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, and Virginia Symphony. As a chamber musician, he has appeared with the Battery Four percussion quartet and performs recitals with flutist Ellen Dooley. Beaumont received a bachelor’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Jonathan Haas and Robert Van Sice. He continued his studies at Temple University, receiving a master’s degree under the tutelage of Alan Abel. Beaumont spends his summers in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where he serves as principal timpanist and contractor for the Conductors Institute at Bard College. The New York Times has described pianist Todd Crow’s playing as “heroic, [showing] endless flair, color, and stamina.” He has received wide acclaim for his performances in North and South America and Europe. The Times of London has called his playing “spine-chilling” and “exhilarating,” while the Wall Street Journal has praised his “stunning control and wonderful sense of musical architecture.” In recent years he has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the United States, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Venezuela, and in recital or chamber music concerts at Washington’s National Gallery of Art, London’s Wigmore Hall, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. He made his Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the American Symphony in 1992 and his London orchestral debut at the Barbican Centre with the London Philharmonic in 1986. He performs regularly in the major halls of New York and London and is heard frequently on BBC Radio in both live and recorded performances. Crow is music director and pianist with the Mt. Desert Festival of Chamber Music in Northeast Harbor, Maine, now in its 40th season. In addition to regular appearances at the Bard Music Festival, he has been heard at the Casals Festival, Music Mountain, Maverick Concerts, and other festivals. His recordings include Haydn piano sonatas, Schubert sonatas, Liszt’s piano solo transcription of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, works of Sergei Taneyev, and, with cellist Mark Shuman, the complete works for cello and piano by Mendelssohn. In November 2002, New World Records released his recording of Ernst Toch’s Piano Concerto with the North German Radio Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein. He is editor of the volume Bartók Studies (Detroit, 1976) and the author of articles on Bartók. In 1986 he received the University of California’s Distinguished Alumni Award. He is professor of music and chair of the music department at Vassar College. Harold Farberman is a noted conductor, composer, and musician. His first composition, Evolution, has been recorded four times, once by Leopold Stokowski. After hearing Evolution, Aaron Copland invited Farberman to study composition with him at Tanglewood. Farberman was music director of the Colorado Springs Symphony and Oakland Symphony Orchestra, and principal guest conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra and the Bournemouth (Great Britain) Sinfonietta. He has been a frequent guest conductor and recording artist with the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, and Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras. A prolific composer of music for orchestra, ballet, film, chamber ensemble, and opera, he was awarded the Ives Medal for his dedication to the music of Charles Ives. In November 2000, his cello concerto was premiered by the American Symphony Orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Farberman founded the Conductors Guild and is the author of The Art of Conducting Technique: A New Perspective. He is the founder and artistic director of the Conductors Institute, now in its third decade and fifth year at Bard College, and director of Bard’s master of fine arts in conducting degree program. Virtuoso timpanist Jonathan Haas has raised the status of the timpani to that of a solo instrument. From classical concertos to jazz and rock and roll, from symphonic masterpieces to the most experimental compositions, Haas has championed, commissioned, and celebrated music for his instrument, becoming, as Ovation magazine hailed him, “the Paganini of the timpani.” He has garnered worldwide acclaim for his performances of Philip Glass’s Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra, a piece conceived by Haas. His recordings include the trailblazing 18th Century Concertos for Timpani and Orchestra and Johnny H. and the Prisoners of Swing. Demonstrating a remarkable versatility as a musician, Haas has recorded with Emerson, Lake & Palmer, played on the Grammy Award–winning recording Zappa’s Universe, and recorded with Aerosmith, Michael Bolton, and Black Sabbath. An inspiring teacher, he is the director of the Peabody Conservatory Percussion Studio. The Peabody Percussion Ensemble was founded in 1983 by director and conductor Jonathan Haas. The ensemble has commissioned and premiered more than 30 compositions, including works by Harold Farberman, Frank Zappa, and Robert Miller, and performed seminal classics of the percussion repertoire by such composers as Alberto Ginastera and Edgar Varese. The Peabody Percussion Ensemble has performed at the Kennedy Center and, most recently, at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Columbus, Ohio, where they presented an historical performance of the Ballet mécanique, written by George Antheil. John Van Buskirk, well known as a versatile pianist, is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School; he also did post-graduate studies at the fabled Liszt Academy in Budapest. He has toured nationally and internationally as a recitalist, chamber music player, and recital partner to singers and instrumentalists. Van Buskirk has a special interest in classical and early romantic performance. He is a noted player of the fortepiano and has made several recordings on that instrument. He is the keyboard player of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and director of special music projects for the Paul and Irene Bogoni Foundation. He has played at many music festivals in the northeast and is on the faculty of Bennington College. Van Buskirk lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with his wife, violinist Tessa Petersen. The couple performs together as La Belle Alliance and cofounded WaterMusic, which presents concerts on the canals in Holyoke, Massachusetts. # # # (09.12.03)

back to top

This event was last updated on 10-03-2003