Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily M. Darrow

Program includes world premieres by Harold Farberman and Daniel Wohl

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Da Capo Chamber Players will give a special concert on Wednesday, April 21, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall at Bard College. "Da Capo Celebrates Bard" features works by Bard faculty, alumni/ae, and Bard students. Presented by The Bard Center, the program is free and open to the public.

Works to be performed include two world premieres written for Da Capo: Harold Farberman’s "Games" and Bard alumnus Daniel Wohl’s "5 Chemical Elements." The program also includes Bard professor George Tsontakis’s "Eclipse," Bard senior Sergei Tcherepnin’s "look up firefly the night is calling" (written for Da Capo), Hudson Valley resident Brian Fennelly’s "Skyscapes III," and Reza Vali’s Folk Song Set No. 9 for flute and cello, with guest cellist Ashley Bathgate, a second-year student at Bard.

"Music at Bard is intensely creative," says Patricia Spencer, visiting associate professor of music at the College and flutist with Da Capo. "It evokes a spirit of much earlier times, when all performers were composers and vice versa."

Da Capo is widely acclaimed for its virtuosity, stimulating programs, and openness to a wide spectrum of styles in new music. Its dedication to working with composers is matched by a commitment to rehearsing each piece as a living, moving, breathing entity, rather than as a fixed blueprint. Winner of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1973, Da Capo has been a leader in building a strong heritage of present-day American chamber music and can point with pride to more than 90 chamber music works written especially for the ensemble by Joan Tower, Philip Glass, Harvey Sollberger, and Philippe Bodin, among many others. In April 2003, Da Capo performed at the Moscow Forum International Festival of Contemporary Music. Forthcoming recordings include chamber works by Alla Borzova and Judith Shatin. The Da Capo Chamber Players are flutist Patricia Spencer, clarinetist Meighan Stoops, violinist David Bowlin, cellist André Emelianoff, and pianist Blair McMillen.

This concert is made possible, in part, through the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation at Bard College. For further information about the program, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.


Violinist David Bowlin is a 2002 graduate of The Juilliard School, where he studied with Ronald Copes. Winner of first prize in violin at the 2003 Washington International Competition for Strings, he will perform a debut recital at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., this season. This marks Bowlin’s first season as a member of the Da Capo Chamber Players; he was appointed in June 2003 after performing extensively last season as a guest with the ensemble. He is a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, a uniquely structured collective of composers and instrumentalists that performs concerts in Chicago and New York, including an annual weeklong festival in Chicago in June. As a member of the Andros Quartet (a finalist in the 2003 Concert Artists’ Guild competition), he has performed traditional quartet literature in numerous venues around the New York area, including Bargemusic and Alice Tully Hall. Bowlin received a B.M. from the Oberlin Conservatory, where he was a student of Roland and Almita Vamos. He currently serves as Copes’s teaching assistant at Juilliard.

André Emelianoff has toured throughout North America, Japan, Russia, Austria, and England, and given recitals throughout central Asia and the Mediterranean as an American Ambassador for the Arts, sponsored by the U.S Information Agency. Cellist with Da Capo Chamber Players since 1976, he is also a member of the Aeolian Chamber Players and has been involved with the Music Today Ensemble. Winner of a 1985 National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Award, he has commissioned works by Aaron Kernis, Joan Tower, George Perle, Richard Wernick, Shulamit Ran, Stephen Jaffe, and Gerald Levinson. He has appeared as a guest artist with Da Camera of Houston, the New Jersey Chamber Society, and Lincoln Center Chamber Society; as a participant in the Marlboro, Chamber Music West, and Piccolo Spoleto festivals; and as a soloist with the Albany Symphony. He is on the faculty at The Juilliard School, as well as the Round Top (Texas) Festival and the Perlman Program. Emelianoff has recorded for CRI, Opus One, New World Records, Nonesuch, GM Recordings, RCA, Bridge Records, and Pro Arte.

Pianist Blair McMillen leads a varied life as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Hailed by the New York Times as "lustrous," "riveting," and "a prodigiously accomplished and exciting artist," he has given concerto appearances in Alice Tully Hall, was soloist on a tour of Japan with the Juilliard Orchestra, and gave a much-heralded New York debut recital in 1998. As a collaborator, he has appeared with tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, Eos Orchestra, New York Woodwind Quintet, Locrian Chamber Players, Avian Orchestra, and New Juilliard Ensemble. Equally at home in both new and traditional repertoire, McMillen is a founding member of the composer/performer collective counter) induction, which holds a residency at Columbia University and will be a featured ensemble at the 2004 MATA Festival. Recent engagements include concerto appearances with the American Ballet Theater and a solo recital juxtaposing the music of Giacinto Scelsi and Luciano Berio for the "Piano Revolution" series at Coumbia’s Miller Theatre. A past winner of the Sony ES Career Grant, the Juilliard Gina Bachauer Scholarship, and the National Young Artists Competition, McMillen holds degrees from Oberlin College and The Juilliard School. He has recorded for BMG/Catalyst, Koch International, CRI, Albany, and New World. After frequent guest appearances with the Da Capo Chamber Players, he became a member of the group in the fall of 2003.

"Patricia Spencer’s presence was striking and her playing was extraordinary in its control over minutiae of dynamics, pitch, and timbre, particularly in relationship to the complex, fluid electronic environment that surrounded her. The performance was the tour de force of technique, emotion, and spirituality that the piece requires; it will stand as one of the highlights of the musical season," wrote Richard Dyer in the Boston Globe. Recent high points in Spencer’s career, devoted to new music, include her 2002 recital in Moscow for the Alternativa Festival; her premiere of Shulamit Ran’s flute concerto, Voices, at the 2000 National Flute Association convention; and her premiere of solo flute works by Louis Karchin and Eugene Lee at the Sonic Boom Festival in the fall of 2001. An exciting repertoire of pieces has been written for her, including Thea Musgrave’s Narcissus and Judith Shatin’s Kairos, which was featured on her solo CD, (Neuma Records). An earlier CD, with pianist Linda Hall, features Boulez’s Sonatine, plus works by Carter, Perle, Korde, Talma, Martirano, Kreiger, and Jaffe. Both CDs received rave reviews from Fanfare and the American Record Guide. Spencer has received awards for her solo recordings and commissioning projects from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music. As a recitalist and Da Capo member, she has commissioned more than 80 solo, duo, and chamber works for flute. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied with Robert Willoughby, Spencer also has studied with Marcel Moyse, John Wummer, and Josef Marx. She teaches flute and chamber music at Bard College and Hofstra University.

Clarinetist Meighan Stoops is an active chamber musician, recitalist, and teacher. She has performed at Bargemusic and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Key West Symphony Orchestra, and Con Brio Ensemble. With the Da Capo Chamber Players she performed on John Schaefer’s New Sounds on WNYC and at MATA (Music at the Anthology). Stoops holds degrees from Northwestern University and Yale University, where she received the Lucy G. Moses Fellowship and the Dean’s Award. Past teachers include Russell Dagon, David Shifrin, and Kalmen Opperman.


"Ashley Bathgate is a very talented young cellist, whose tone was right on pitch. She certainly has the makings of becoming a top performer in her field," wrote Lakeville Journal critic Peter Marshall. She is a second-year student at Bard College, where she studies with Luis Garcia-Renart, professor of music at Bard. A member of the Empire State Youth Orchestra for five years, Bathgate served as the orchestra’s principal cello, sections coach, and coordinator of string ensembles. She received the Barry L. Richman Award in 2002, and is an unprecedented two-time winner of the Lois Lyman Concerto Competition. Bathgate appeared as a soloist with the Empire State Youth Orchestra at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in 1999 and 2001. She was also a featured young artist at the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, performing with pianist Pascal Rogé, violinist Chantal Juillet, and pianist Vanessa Benelli. Bathgate has appeared in recitals, benefit performances, and with the American Symphony Chamber Orchestra and the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. In summer 2003, she performed with pianist Todd Crow and violinist Marcello Defant in Normandy, France. In January 2002 she was among the first young musicians to receive a grant from the New York Philharmonic Players Fund.


Composer and conductor Harold Farberman has written diverse works for orchestra, three operas, numerous chamber works, an Academy Award–winning documentary film score, and music for dance companies. His works have been performed all over the world; many are represented on three CDs devoted to his music, released by Albany Records. An advocate of modern music, Farberman received the Ives Award for his definitive interpretations of the work of Charles Ives. His recordings of Mahler, Michael Haydn, and Irwin Bazelon, as well as that of Ives and his own music, have earned worldwide recognition for excellence. Farberman founded the Conductors Guild and is the author of a pioneering work about the physical movement of the baton titled The Art of Conducting Technique: A New Perspective. He is also the founder and artistic director of the Conductors Institute and director of Bard’s master of fine arts degree program in conducting. The world premiere of his opera The Song of Eddie will be performed at the Richard B. Fisher Center in July.

Brian Fennelly received a M.Mus. and Ph.D. degree from Yale and taught at New York University, where he is now professor emeritus. In addition to a Guggenheim fellowship, his awards include three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, three composer grants from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund, two Koussevitsky Foundation commissions, and an award for lifetime achievement from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His music has been awarded prizes in such prestigious competitions as the Louisville Orchestra New Music Competition and the Goffredo Petrassi International Competition for orchestral music. His compositions have been recorded by the Albany, New World, and CRI labels. He is codirector of the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, which he founded in 1976.

Sergei Tcherepnin says that the biggest influence on the development of his musical sensibilities is the fact that he grew up in a household where music was an essential part of everyday life. He remembers drifting off to sleep at night as his father played very quiet piano music, which floated up the stairs and into his bedroom, seeping into his dreams. Tcherepnin gravitated towards the piano, and spent a lot of time improvising as well as learning simple classical pieces. He did not study music formally until his second year at Bard, when he took Joan Tower’s composition class. He says his goal is to be able create music that is spontaneous yet still has a feeling of inevitability.

George Tsontakis studied composition with Roger Sessions at Juilliard and conducting with Jorge Mester. He is the recipient of two Kennedy Center Awards, for String Quartet No. 4 and Perpetual Angelus, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ award for lifetime achievement. His music has been recorded on the Hyperion, New World, CRI, Koch, and Opus One labels; his works have been commissioned and performed by the American, Blair, Colorado, and Emerson string quartets; New York Virtuoso Singers; Aspen Wind Quintet; Orpheus; flutist Ransom Wilson; violinist Glenn Dicterow; and many other orchestras, ensembles, and musicians. He is a faculty member of the Aspen Music School and a founding director of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.

Reza Vali’s first string quartet, "Persian Folklore," commissioned and premiered by the Kronos Quartet, was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "urgent, cogent and tautly dramatic." Vali was born in Ghazvin, Iran, and studied at the Conservatory of Music in Teheran and at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Following his move to the United States, he received a Ph.D. in music theory and composition from the University of Pittsburgh. Vali has been a faculty member of the music department at Carnegie Mellon University since 1988, and has received numerous honors and commissions, including the honor prize of the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Sciences, two Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships, commissions from the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. He has also received grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education. In December 1991, he was selected by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as Outstanding Emerging Artist and received their Creative Achievement Award. Performances of Vali’s compositions have received critical acclaim in the United States, Europe, South America, and Australia.

Daniel Wohl’03 began playing music when he was very young, improvising at the piano, forming bands, and studying jazz piano. He began composing when he transferred to Bard College, where he studied with Joan Tower. The music that he writes is influenced by a variety of different styles; each of them, he feels, reflect aspects of himself.

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This event was last updated on 04-22-2004