Bard News & Events

Press Release


Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-Preliminary program details were announced today for the 10th
annual Bard Music Festival, which will take place over two weekends, August 13-15, and
August 20-22, 1999, on Bard College's scenic Hudson River Valley campus. Co-directed by
Leon Botstein and Robert Martin, this year's festival, Schoenberg and His World, will
celebrate the music of the 20th century's most influential composer, Arnold Schoenberg
(1874-1951), with orchestral, choral, and chamber concerts, and discussions, preconcert
talks, and a symposium presenting a multifaceted view of Schoenberg's music and legacy.

The ten programs of Schoenberg and His World will also include works of his
contemporaries and successors. Highlights of the festival include Schoenberg's massive
symphonic ode to Teutonic legend, Gurrelieder (1900-11); a concert performance of his
dramatic work, Die Glückliche Hand, Op. 18 (1910-13); his song cycle Das Buch der
hangenden Garten, Op. 15 (1908-09); his Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31 (1926-28); his
Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9b, (1935); and a semi-staged performance of Erich
Korngold's arrangement of the music of Johann Strauss Junior and Senior in a comic
operetta, Walzer aus Wien (1930). In its final weekend, the festival includes
Schoenberg's Strauss-inspired orchestral piece, Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5,
(1902-03), and his Piano Concerto, Op. 42. Featured along with Schoenberg's music are
important works by Mahler, Zemlinsky, Berg, Webern, Korngold, and Reger, among others.

This tenth season follows previous festivals devoted to such composers as Joseph Haydn,
Johannes Brahms, Antonin Dvorák, Charles Ives, Bela Bartók, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Felix
Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss, and Robert Schumann. The goal of each annual festival has
been to explore the music of a single composer in a historical and musical context,
through performances of both familiar and lesser-known works and rich offerings of
panels, preconcert talks, and special events.

Few composers could benefit more from such an approach than Arnold Schoenberg, whose
legacy presents one of the most interesting paradoxes in contemporary music. Although
historians acknowledge his influence and importance, his work receives minimal
attention in the modern concert hall. Schoenberg is widely regarded as one of the most
creative figures of our age, and his name is typically linked with the most radical and
dramatic elements in 20th-century music. Yet the music's very revolutionary nature has
not always found wide acceptance from mass audiences. 

This year's Bard Music Festival will present a reconsideration of Schoenberg's place in
the canon of 20th-century music. With a mixture of scholarship, dialogue, and
performance, the festival will shed light on such aspects of his achievements as his
debt to the German musical tradition, his relationship with Viennese society and
Hollywood, and his legacy to both European and American composers. This latter
connection will be presented in the November 20, 1999 festival concerts at Lincoln
Center in New York. By clarifying Schoenberg's artistic roots and revealing the
remarkable expressive range and variety of his music, the festival will present
audiences with a contextual basis for an appreciation of his work.

The Bard Music Festival was established in 1990 as an annual two-week summer festival
on Bard's scenic, 600-acre campus overlooking the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.
Recitals and chamber concerts take place in Bard's intimate, 370-seat Olin Hall and the
Chapel of the Holy Innocents; orchestra concerts are presented in an 800-seat
acoustical tent on the campus. Bard College is located 90 miles north of New York City
and is readily accessible by train or car.

For ticket and program information for the Bard Music Festival, write to Bard Music
Festival, Bard College, PO Box 5000, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000; call (914)
758-3226; or e-mail

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001