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BARD COLLEGE LAUNCHES NEW CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC Bard’s Innovative New Double-Degree Program Combines World-Class Musical Training and Liberal Arts Education

Mark Primoff
Bard’s Innovative New Double-Degree Program Combines World-Class Musical Training and Liberal Arts Education ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. —Building on its distinguished history of innovation in arts and education, Bard College has launched the Bard College Conservatory of Music, which is currently accepting applications for admission in Fall 2005. This innovative double-degree program is guided by the principle that musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. While training and studying for the bachelor of music degree with world class musicians and teachers and performing in state-of-the-art facilities, such as the new Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard Conservatory students will also pursue a bachelor of arts degree at Bard, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. The graduating musicians will be capable of pursuing professional careers with broad, deep knowledge afforded by a liberal arts education, ready to enter their professions with interpretive skills well beyond simple musical competence. “We believe deeply in the value of an education in the liberal arts and sciences, not as a luxury but as the best preparation for functioning competitively and creatively,” says Robert Martin, director of the Conservatory and vice president for academic affairs at Bard College. According to pianist and associate director Melvin Chen, who also teaches both music and science at Bard College, “music, like all art, engages the mind and the heart. It redefines boundaries and questions limits in order to make a meaningful statement about the human condition. The education of the mind is therefore as important as the education of the fingers or voice. The greatest musicians not only have the technical mastery to communicate effectively, but also are deeply curious and equally adept at analytical and emotional modes of thought.” The Conservatory is geared toward students determined to have a career in music, enhanced by the benefits of a liberal arts education; those seeking a combined career in music and some other field; and those whose career goals lie in a field other than music, but still want to study music deeply. Conservatory students will participate fully in the scholarly life of the college by pursuing a major in a field other than music. The double-degree program will be demanding and, as a general rule, take five years to complete. But students will have assistance in meeting these challenges because the Conservatory and the college are small, flexible, and closely integrated. Each student’s program will be developed through careful consultation between student and faculty. The Conservatory experience will be composed of five dimensions: studio instruction; ensemble and chamber music; Conservatory academic core, which includes theory, analysis, aural skills, and history; senior recital; and all-school colloquium, in which all enrolled students participate in a project focused on a specific composer. Each component will be designed to integrate with the student’s work in the College. The primary mission of the Bard College Conservatory of Music will be to provide the best possible preparation for a person dedicated to a life immersed in the creation and performance of music. To fulfill that mission, the Conservatory’s instrumental and composition faculty will include world-class musicians and composers, including pianists Melvin Chen, Jeremy Denk, Richard Goode, and Peter Serkin; violinists Ani Kavafian, Weigang Li, Laurie Smukler, and Arnold Steinhardt; violists Michael Tree and Ira Weller; clarinetists Laura Flax and David Krakauer; cellists Sophie Chao and Peter Wiley; double bassist Marji Danilow; flutist Tara Helen O’Connor; oboist Laura Ahlbeck; bassoonist Marc Goldberg; horn players Julie Landsman and Jeffrey Lang; the Colorado String Quartet; and composer Joan Tower. Courses in music history, theory, and aural skills will be taught by the faculty of Bard’s Music Program. In addition, members and principals of the American Symphony Orchestra will be available for instruction, coaching, and leading of sectional rehearsals in the Conservatory Orchestra. For its first year, 2005-2006, the Conservatory will accept a total of approximately 30 students of the following instruments: piano, violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn. Beginning in the fall of 2006, students of other orchestral instruments, voice, and composition may apply for admission. Approximately 30 students will be accepted each year, anticipating a full enrollment of approximately 140 by 2009-2010. Bard College is a selective, private, coeducational liberal arts college whose undergraduate programs are enriched through its affiliations with research institutes and graduate programs. Founded in 1860, the College draws 1,300 students from all regions of the United States. Fourteen percent of Bard’s students are from abroad, creating a diverse and internationally informed environment. The College's curricular strength is bolstered by innovative scholarship programs in literature, arts, and science, including a collaboration with The Rockefeller University. For further information about Bard, visit its website, For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or log onto the program’s website,

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This event was last updated on 02-25-2005