Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily M. Darrow
“Berman seems to have absorbed the best the Russian training has to offer. There is little he doesn’t know about sonority, voicing of chords, variety of attack . . . his tone is unfailingly beautiful.”—Boston Globe ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— The Conservatory Concerts and Lectures Series, presented by the Bard College Conservatory of Music, offers five programs at Bard this spring. Opening the season is a recital by acclaimed pianist Boris Berman on Sunday, February 5, at 3:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. All performances are free and open to the public. Berman’s program “In Celebration of the Centenary of Dmitrii Shostakovich,” places the Russian composer’s Sonata No. 2 and three preludes and fugues, in E Minor, D Major, and D-flat Major, alongside Bach’s Italian Concerto and four preludes and fugues from Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, in C Major, E Major, D Major, and E Minor. Born in Moscow, Boris Berman studied at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with the distinguished pianist Lev Oborin and graduated with distinction as both pianist and harpsichordist. He performed extensively throughout the Soviet Union as a recitalist and appeared as guest soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Moscow Philharmonic and the Moscow Chamber orchestras. In 1973, Berman left a flourishing career in the Soviet Union to immigrate to Israel. He quickly established himself as a sought-after keyboard performer and an influential musical personality. He now resides in the United States. Berman has appeared with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Philharmonia (London), Toronto Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and Royal Scottish Orchestra. A Grammy nominee, Berman is a frequent performer on major recital series; he has also appeared in such important festivals as Marlboro, Waterloo, Bergen, Ravinia, and Israel Festival. He was a founding director of two concert series that were hailed by critics for “the inventiveness of their programming,” including the Music Spectrum concert series in Israel (1975–84) and the Yale Music Spectrum series (1984–97). An active performer of chamber music, Berman has appeared in numerous concerts and festivals with such artists and groups as Misha Maisky, Heinz Holliger, Aurele Nicolet, Shlomo Mintz, Gyorgy Pauk, Ralph Kirshbaum, Frans Helmerson, Natalia Gutman, Tokyo Quartet, Vermeer Quartet, Netherland Wind Ensemble, and many others. A dedicated teacher of international stature, Berman has served on the faculties of the world’s finest schools, such as Indiana (Bloomington), Boston, Brandeis, and Tel Aviv universities. Currently, he heads the Piano Department at Yale School of Music. He also conducts master classes throughout the world. He is the founding director of the Yale Summer Piano Institute (1990–92) and of the International Summer Piano Institute in Hong Kong (1995–97). Berman’s Notes from the Pianist’s Bench was published in 2000 by Yale University Press and has been enthusiastically received by teachers, students, and critics and translated into several languages. In the field of recording, his acclaimed releases on Philips, Deutsche Gramophon, and Melodia labels have been complemented with two CDs of sonatas by Alexander Scriabin for the Music and Arts label and a recital of Shostakovich piano works (Ottavo), which received the Edison Classic Award in Holland, the Dutch equivalent of the Grammy. A Chandos recording of three Prokofiev concertos with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi conducting, marked the beginning of an ambitious project to record the complete Prokofiev solo piano works. The first pianist ever to undertake this task, Berman has released it on nine Chandos CDs to great critical acclaim. In addition, Chandos has issued Berman’s recitals of works by Debussy, Stravinsky, and Schnittke, as well as chamber music of Janáček, and—together with Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Jarvi—the concerto by Stravinsky. Berman’s most recent discography highlights the breadth of his repertoire, including Debussy for Children (Ottavo); two releases of works for prepared piano by John Cage (Naxos), named top recording by the BBC Music Magazine; the Grammy-nominated piano quintets of Shostakovich and Schnittke with the Vermeer Quartet (Naxos); and a recording of Scott Joplin’s Ragtimes (Ottavo). In 2005–06, Berman appears with orchestras, as well as in festivals and recitals, in the United States, Japan, Korea, India, Thailand, China, Israel, Australia, Russia, Italy, Germany, and Holland. The spring Conservatory Concerts and Lectures series continues with a lecture by Joseph Horowitz on Wednesday, February 22, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. Horowitz is executive director of the Brooklyn Orchestra and author of Understanding Toscanini: A Social History of American Concert Life and Wagner Nights: An American History. The Bard Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Harold Farberman, will present a program of works by Mahler and Ives at the Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, February 26, at 3:00 p.m. Pianist Melvin Chen, associate director of the Conservatory, offers a recital on Sunday, March 19, at 3:00 p.m., in Olin Hall. The series concludes on Thursday, May 11, at 8:00 p.m. with a performance by the Bard Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, at the Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. The program features a concerto performed by the second place winner of the Conservatory Concerto Competition, violist Shuang-shuang Liu. For further information about the Conservatory Concerts and Lectures, call 845-758-7425. For reservations for the two Bard Conservatory Chamber Orchestra concerts at the Fisher Center, call the box office at 845-758-7900. # Building on its distinguished history of innovation in the arts and education, Bard College has launched the Bard College Conservatory of Music. This innovative, five-year 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 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 mission of the Conservatory at Bard is to provide the best possible preparation for a person dedicated to a life immersed in the creation and performance of music,” says Robert Martin, director of the Conservatory and vice president for academic affairs at Bard College. “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.” According to Melvin Chen, associate director of the Conservatory and professor of 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 Bard College Conservatory of Music’s instrumental and composition faculty includes world-class musicians and composers, including violinists Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, Weigang Li, Laurie Smukler, and Arnold Steinhardt; violists Steven Tenenbom, Michael Tree, and Ira Weller; cellists Sophie Shao and Peter Wiley; double bassist Marji Danilow; pianists Melvin Chen, Jeremy Denk, Peter Serkin, and piano master classes with Richard Goode; oboist Laura Ahlbeck; flutist Tara Helen O’Connor; clarinetists Laura Flax and David Krakauer; bassoonist Marc Goldberg; horn players Julie Landsman and Jeffrey Lang; and trombonist John Rojak. The Colorado Quartet and Da Capo Chamber Players are in residence. Members and principals of the American Symphony Orchestra are also available for instruction, coaching, and leading of sectional rehearsals in the Conservatory Orchestra. In 2006–07, the Conservatory will introduce three additional programs: the Vocal Arts Graduate Program, directed by Dawn Upshaw; The Conductors Institute and its graduate program in conducting, directed by Harold Farberman; and the Composition Program, directed by Joan Tower and George Tsontakis. For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or log onto the program’s website, # # # (1/9/06)

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This event was last updated on 02-06-2006