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Bard College Catalogue, 2019–20
Bard Music Festivalfishercenter.bard.edu/bmf
The Bard Music Festival (BMF) entered its 30th season in 2019. Since 1990 the festival has been presented on the Bard campus each summer over two consecutive weekends in August. In 2003 the festival moved into the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, where it continues to offer an array of programs whose themes are taken from the life, work, and world of a single composer. Concerts presented in the Fisher Center’s 800-seat Sosnoff Theater and 200-seat LUMA Theater, as well as in the 370-seat Olin Hall, offer both the intimate communication of recital and chamber music and the excitement of full orchestral and choral sound. The weeks of the festival are filled with open rehearsals throughout the campus, and orchestral musicians are often invited to perform in chamber groups. Special events complement the performances.
Through a series of preconcert talks and panel discussions by eminent music scholars, composers are examined within the cultural and political contexts of their careers. In 2019, Erich Wolfgang Korngold was the featured composer; other recent subjects have included Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Fryderyk Chopin, Giacomo Puccini, Carlos Chávez, Franz Schubert, Igor Stravinsky, Camille Saint-Saëns, Jean Sibelius, Alban Berg, Richard Wagner, Sergey Prokofiev, Edward Elgar, Franz Liszt, Dmitrii Shostakovich, and Aaron Copland. Related articles and essays are published by Princeton University Press in a companion book edited by a major music scholar.
Bard Music West (BMW), a project of the Bard Musical Festival, debuted in 2017 with the goal of exploring the music and influences of 20th-century contemporary composers. The inaugural festival, held in San Francisco, focused on Hungarian composer György Ligeti. In 2019, the festival honors Polish composer and violinist/pianist Grazyna Bacewicz. This year also marks the debut of the spring concert series Bard Music West Plays, which explores the work of emerging composers with “pay what you can” performances throughout the Bay Area. For more information, see bardmusicwest.org.
Lecture and Performance Series
The Bard College Conservatory of Music in 2018–19 presented master classes, chamber music, and concerts by students, faculty, and guest artists. Conservatory events at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and László Z. Bitó ‘60 Conservatory Building included a benefit concert with Bard president Leon Botstein conducting works by Wagner, Tower, and Prokofiev; the Blithewood Ensemble chamber concert series; a performance by world-renowned pipa virtuoso Wu Man and friends as part of the US-China Music Institute’s second annual conference, Tradition and Discovery: Teaching Chinese Music in the West; and a screening of Alfred Hitchock’s Psycho, with a live performance of the Bernard Herrmann score by the Conservatory Orchestra. The Orchestra Now presented The Romantic Hero, a program of works by Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Richard Strauss, conducted by Leon Botstein; Also Sprach Zarathustra, in conjunction with the First-Year-Seminar; and Verdi’s Requiem, among others.
The John Ashbery Poetry Series, named for the late Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor Emeritus of Languages and Literature, brings leading poets to campus for readings and discussion in an intimate setting. Artists recently featured include 2019 Kingsley Tufts Award winner Dawn Lundy Martin, Tamas Panitz ’14, Sophie Strand ’16, Hoa Nguyen, Alice Notley, Anselm Berrigan, Roberto Tejada, and Jennifer Moxley.
Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle
Founded in 1950, the Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle (HVCMC) has attracted a loyal regional following that has enjoyed annual June performances by some of the finest classical ensembles and soloists in the world. The 2019 concert series featured performances by the Escher String Quartet, with violist Milena Pajaro–van de Stadt; Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio; and the Orion String Quartet, with flutist Tara Helen O’Connor.
Founded in 1981, Bard’s influential literary journal Conjunctions publishes innovative fiction, poetry, translations, essays, and interviews by contemporary masters and exciting new voices from the United States and around the world. As its slogan, “Read Dangerously,” suggests, the journal brings fearless writing to risk-taking readers. Edited by Bard professor and novelist Bradford Morrow, winner of PEN America’s prestigious Nora Magid Award for excellence in editing a literary journal, Conjunctions appears biannually. The spring 2019 issue, Conjunctions:72, Nocturnals, investigates the theme of night, the domain of dreamers and insomniacs, lovers and thieves, prayers and despair. Contributors include Anne Waldman, Joyce Carol Oates, Sallie Tisdale, Han Ong, Robert Walser, Rick Moody, and many others. The fall 2018 issue, Conjunctions:71, A Cabinet of Curiosity, explores the double-edged sword of curiosity, which has played a crucial role in myth, literature, science, philosophy, and most other fields of endeavor. Contributors include Ann Beattie, Laura van der Berg, Can Xue, Samuel R. Delany, Diane Ackerman, and Gerard Malanga.
Conjunctions also publishes an online magazine at conjunctions.com, and maintains an online multimedia vault of exclusive recordings of readings. The journal has a robust online following, with social communities at Twitter and Facebook. E-books of current and selected past issues are available from all major online retailers.