Codirector, Graduate Conducting Program; Professor of Music; Director, Orchestral and Choral Music; Director, Music Program
James BagwellJames Bagwell maintains an active international schedule as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music. He was most recently named associate conductor of The Orchestra Now (TON) and in 2009 was appointed principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. From 2009-2015 he served as music director of The Collegiate Chorale. Some of the highlights of his tenure with them include conducting a number of operas-in-concert at Carnegie Hall, including Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Rossini’s Möise et Pharaon, and Boito’s Mefistofele. He conducted the New York premiere of Philip Glass’s Toltec Symphony and Golijov’s Oceana, both at Carnegie Hall. Since 2011 he has collaborated with singer and composer Natalie Merchant, conducting a number of major orchestras across the country, including the San Francisco and Seattle Symphonies.
He has trained choruses for a numerous American and international orchestras, including the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra. He has worked numerous conductors including Charles Dutoit, Andris Nelsons, Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert, Gianandrea Noseda, Valery Gergiev, Yannik Nézet-Séguin, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Louis Langrée, Leon Botstein, Ivan Fischer, Jesús López-Cobos, and Robert Shaw.
Mr. Bagwell prepared The Collegiate Chorale for concerts at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland; in 2012 the Chorale traveled to Israel and the Salzburg Festival for four programs with The Israel Philharmonic. Since 2003 he has been director of choruses for the Bard Music Festival, conducting and preparing choral works during the summer festival at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. He frequently appears as guest conductor for orchestras around the country and abroad, including the Cincinnati Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, and the Interlochen Music Festival. He is Professor of Music at Bard College, and Director of Performance Studies and the Graduate Conducting Program at the Bard College Conservatory.
Codirector, Graduate Conducting Program; Music Director, Bard Conservatory; President, Bard College
Leon BotsteinLeon Botstein has been music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. This year he becomes conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he had served as music director since 2003. He is also the founder and co-artistic director of the Bard Music Festival, now in its 21st year. He has been president of Bard College in New York since 1975.
Upcoming engagements include the Russian National Philharmonic, the Odessa Symphony, and the Budapest Opera Orchestra. Recent engagements have included the BBC Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony; the Budapest Festival Orchestra; Düsseldorf Symphony; the London Philharmonic; NDR-Hamburg and Hannover; the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; the St. Petersburg Philharmonic; and Teatro Real Madrid, among others.
Among Leon Botstein’s recordings are operas by Strauss, Dukas, and Chausson, as well as works of Shostakovich, Dohnanyi, Liszt, Bruckner, Bartók, Hartmann, Reger, Glière, Szymanowski, Brahms, Copland, Sessions, Perle, and Rands. Many live recordings with the American Symphony Orchestra are now available to download on the Internet.
Mr. Botstein is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and the author of numerous articles and books. For his contributions to music he has received the award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Harvard University’s prestigious Centennial Award, as well as the Cross of Honor, First Class from the government of Austria. He is a 2009 recipient of the Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award, and earlier this year he was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.
Artist in Residence
Teresa BuchholzMezzo-soprano. B.M., University of Northern Iowa; M.M., Indiana University; Artist Diploma, Vocal Performance, Yale University. Additional training as a Natchez Opera Festival Young Artist and as an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In recent years, she has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Alice Tully Hall in New York; the OK Mozart Festival in Bartlesville, Oklahoma; and the Bard Music Festival; and with Voices of Ascension in New York City, Tulsa Symphony, Collegiate Chorale, and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta conducting; and in concerts in Tel Aviv, Salzburg, and Vienna. She has soloed regularly with the Stamford Symphony, New Jersey Choral Society, Gateway Chamber Orchestra, and American Symphony Orchestra. Recordings include With Peace in Mind: The Choral Music of Nancy Wertsch, New York Virtuoso Singers; Kurt Weill’s Knickerbocker Holiday, Collegiate Chorale, conducted by James Bagwell; and Richard Strauss’s Die ägyptische Helena, American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein; among others. She previously taught voice at Yale University, Indiana University Bloomington, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy. At Bard since 2012.
Director, US-China Music Institute; Graduate Conducting Program, faculty
Jindong CaiConductor Jindong Cai is the director of the US-China Music Institute and professor of music and arts at Bard College. He is also academic director and associate conductor of The Orchestra Now (TON). Prior to joining Bard he was a professor of performance at Stanford University. Over the 30 years of his career in the United States, Cai has established himself as an active and dynamic conductor, scholar of Western classical music in China, and leading advocate of music from across Asia. Cai started his professional conducting career with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where he held assistant conducting positions and worked closely with Music Director Jesús López-Cobos, Conductor Keith Lockhart, and Cincinnati Pops Conductor Erich Kunzel. He has worked with numerous orchestras throughout North America and Asia. Cai maintains strong ties to his homeland and has conducted most of the top orchestras in China. He has served as the principal guest conductor of the China Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra since 2012. In 2015, he led the Shenzhen Symphony on its first tour to the American West Coast, performing in Palo Alto, San Jose, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The concerts included collaboration with the San Francisco Opera on the premiere of a scene from Bright Sheng’s much anticipated new opera, Dream of the Red Chamber. Cai is a three-time recipient of the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. He has recorded for the Centaur, Innova, and Vienna Modern Masters labels. He has close relationships with many Chinese composers and has premiered or performed new works by Tan Dun, Zhou Long, Chen Yi, Bright Sheng, Ye Xiaogang, and Wang Xilin, among others. In recent years, a number of professional orchestras have approached him to create special programs of works by Chinese and other Asian composers, including the “Celebration of Asia” concert with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2016. Cai has received much critical acclaim for his opera performances. In 1992, his operatic conducting debut took place at Lincoln Center’s Mozart Bicentennial Festival in New York, when he appeared as a last-minute substitute for his mentor Gerhard Samuel in the world premiere of a new production of Mozart’s Zaide. The New York Times described the performance as “one of the more compelling theatrical experiences so far offered in the festival.” Cai serves as the principal guest conductor of the Mongolia State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet in Ulaan Baatar. Since 2011, he has visited Mongolia a dozen times to conduct opera and ballet performances, and led the theater’s historical first tour to China in 2013. Cai joined the Stanford University faculty in 2004 as director of orchestral studies and conducted the Stanford Symphony Orchestra for 11 years. He led the Stanford Symphony Orchestra on three international tours—to Australia and New Zealand in 2005; China in 2008, as part of the Beijing Olympic Cultural Festival; and Europe in 2013. In 2013, Cai launched “The Beethoven Project,” for which the Stanford Symphony Orchestra performed all nine Beethoven symphonies and all five of the composer’s piano concerti—featuring Van Cliburn Gold Medal–winning pianist and Stanford alumnus Jon Nakamatsu—in one season. Cai is also the founder of the Stanford Pan-Asian Music Festival. Over its 11-year history, the festival—which is dedicated to promoting an appreciation of music in contemporary Asia through an annual series of concerts and academic activities—has become one of the most important platforms for the performance of Asian music in the United States. As a scholar and expert on music in contemporary China and Asia, Cai is frequently interviewed by news media around the world, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, and NPR. Together with his wife Sheila Melvin, Cai has coauthored several New York Times articles on the performing arts in China and the book Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese. Their latest book, Beethoven in China: How the Great Composer Became an Icon in the People’s Republic, was published by Penguin in September 2015. Born in Beijing, Cai received his early musical training in China, where he learned to play violin and piano. He came to the United States for his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. In 1989, he was selected to study with famed conductor Leonard Bernstein at the Tanglewood Music Center, and won the Conducting Fellowship Award at the Aspen Music Festival in 1990 and 1992.
Sebastian DanilaSebastian Danila is a composer and musicologist, and holds a Ph.D. in composition from New York University’s Steinhardt School, where he was part of the adjunct faculty. He is also manager of the libraries for The Orchestra Now, the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and the American Symphony Orchestra. His compositions have been performed throughout the United States. He has written extensively on the Romanian composer Anatol Vieru.
Taylor Hawver and Frances Bortle Hawver Professor of Music
Kyle GannB.Mus., Oberlin Conservatory of Music; M.Mus., D.Mus., Northwestern University. Recipient, National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist’s Grant (1996); Peabody Award (2003); American Music Center Letter of Distinction (2003). Music critic for the Village Voice, 1986–2005. Taught at Bucknell University, Columbia University, Northwestern University, Brooklyn College, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Books include The Arithmetic of Listening: Tuning Theory and History for the Impractical Musician (2018); Charles Ives’s Concord: Essays after a Sonata (2017); Robert Ashley (2012); No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage’s 4’33” (2010); Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice (2006); American Music in the 20th Century (1997); The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (1995); and, as coeditor, The Ashgate Research Companion to Minimalist and Postminimalist Music (2013). Vice president of the Charles Ives Society. Music on the Other Minds, New World, New Albion, Mode, Cold Blue, Lovely Music, and other record labels. At Bard since 1997.
James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Music; Faculty, Bard College Conservatory of Music; Artistic Codirector, Bard Music Festival
Christopher H. GibbsChristopher H. Gibbs is executive editor of The Musical Quarterly; editor of The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (1997); author of The Life of Schubert (2000), which has been translated into five languages; coeditor of Franz Liszt and His World (2006) and Franz Schubert and His World (2014); and coauthor of The Oxford History of Western Music, College Edition (2013; 2nd ed., 2018). He is a contributor to New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 19th-Century Music, Schubert durch die Brille, Current Musicology, Opera Quarterly, and Chronicle of Higher Education. Additionally, he has served as program annotator and musicological consultant to the Philadelphia Orchestra (2000– ); musicological director of the Schubertiade at the 92nd Street Y in New York City; musicological adviser for the Schubert Festival at Carnegie Hall (1997); and artistic codirector of the Bard Music Festival (2003– ). Gibbs is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Dissertation Prize of the Austrian Cultural Institute (1992), ASCAP–Deems Taylor Award (1998), and American Council of Learned Societies fellowship (1999–2000). He previously taught at SUNY Buffalo (1993–2003).
BA, Haverford College; MA, MPhil, PhD, Columbia University. At Bard since 2002.
Visiting Associate Professor of Music
Peter LakiDiploma in Musicology, Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania. Program annotator, Cleveland Orchestra (1990– ); editor, Bartók and His World (Princeton University Press, 1995); contributor, Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra and Cambridge Companion to Bartók; articles in Orbis Musicae, International Journal of Musicology, Institute for Canadian Music Newsletter, Hungarian Quarterly, others. Visiting assistant professor, Oberlin College (2003– ); has also taught at Case Western Reserve University, Franz Liszt Academy of Music, John Carroll University, Kent State University. At Bard since 2007.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Music
Ilka LoMonacoIlka LoMonaco was born in Germany and studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Hamburg, where she won first prize in one of Germany’s most important voice competitions, the VdMK Wettbewerb. During that time she established a flourishing career in oratorio, and also began her pedagogic career by teaching at two music schools in Hamburg. In 1991 she moved to New York to continue studying with renowned teacher Thomas LoMonaco and expanded her repertoire to include more opera. Some of the roles she has performed are Composer (Ariadne auf Naxos), Amelia (Un Ballo in Maschera), and Elvira (Don Giovanni).
In 2000, while running a thriving private vocal studio in Manhattan, LoMonaco began teaching at the Lee Strasberg Institute as well as New York University. In 2006 she completed her training as a Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, and the method has informed her vocal teaching ever since. She joined the Bard College faculty in 2007 and moved to the Hudson Valley while maintaining her vocal studio in Manhattan. Besides individual voice lessons, Professor LoMonaco coproduces the Opera Workshop, which is taught jointly with other vocal faculty and culminates annually in a fully staged production with orchestra. She also teaches Feldenkrais and the Voice and Vocal Pedagogy to undergraduate students and graduate choral conductors.
Associate Professor of Music; Faculty, Bard College Conservatory of Music
Rufus MüllerRufus Müller is a sought-after tenor who was acclaimed by the New York Times, following a performance at Carnegie Hall, as “easily the best tenor I have heard in a live Messiah.” He has performed internationally in operas, oratorios, and recitals. He performed the world premiere of Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed production of the St. Matthew Passion, which was broadcast on BBC TV and recorded for the United label; he repeated the role in three revivals of the production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Müller is also a leading recitalist, performing worldwide with pianist Maria João Pires, notably in an extended Schubertiade in London’s Wigmore Hall, and on tour in Spain, Germany, and Japan with Schubert’s Winterreise. Recent performances also include Bach’s Passions and Handel’s Messiah in New York, Princeton, Toronto, Montreal, Washington, D.C., Carmel Bach Festival, Royal Albert Hall, and Canterbury Cathedral; Monteverdi’s Vespers, Schubert’s Winterreise, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Ottavio) in Tokyo; Beethoven’s Choral Symphony in Pennsylvania; the title role in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Haydn’s Creation in London, as well as recitals and master classes in Japan, Germany, and the United States. Born in Kent, England, Müller was a choral scholar at New College, Oxford, and studied in New York with the late Thomas LoMonaco. In 1985 he won first prize in the English Song Award in Brighton and, in 1999, was a prize winner in the Oratorio Society of New York Singing Competition. A list of performances and recordings can be found at his website, rufusmuller.com.
BA, MA, University of Oxford. At Bard since 2006.
Visiting Instructor in Music; Faculty, Bard College Conservatory of Music
Isabelle O'ConnellDublin native Isabelle O’Connell is a pianist who has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, and in solo/chamber concerts at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, and Symphony Space in New York; Princeton University; Chicago Cultural Center; Cleveland Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of the Arts; Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center; Millennium Hall in Tokyo; National Gallery of Ireland; and Sydney Conservatoire. Guest performances with Alarm Will Sound, Crash Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, ConTempo String Quartet, Meredith Monk, American Symphony Orchestra, and others. O’Connell, a Fulbright Scholar, previously taught at Diller-Quaile School of Music, Lucy Moses School, and Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division, in New York City; Masters School, Dobbs Ferry, New York; and Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. She has given master classes and workshops at, among others, Queen’s University, Belfast; European Piano Teachers’ Association, New Zealand School of Music; Dublin Institute of Technology; and Cork School of Music. She is cofounder of Grand Band, which has recorded live on WQXR; has served as artistic codirector of “New Music, New Ireland, New York” at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; and was collaborative pianist and artist in residence at Banff Centre for the Arts. Recordings on Diatribe, Innova, and Lyric labels. BA, Royal Irish Academy of Music; MM, Manhattan School of Music. At Bard since 2014.
Artist in Residence; Director, Postgraduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship, and faculty, Bard College Conservatory of Music
Erika SwitzerErika Switzer is an internationally active pianist, teacher, and arts administrator. She has performed on the stages of New York’s Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), David Geffen Hall (Lincoln Center), Frick Collection, and Bargemusic, and at the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society Spoleto Festival, Mostly Mozart, Bard Music Festival, and Stanford Live. She has also appeared at concert series throughout North America, Europe, and Africa. During a seven-year sojourn in Germany, she performed at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and the Munich Winners & Masters series, and won numerous awards, including best pianist prizes at the Robert Schumann, Hugo Wolf, and Wigmore Hall International Song Competitions. European appearances also include recitals for Pro Musicis at the Salle Cortot in Paris, Académie Francis Poulenc at the L’Hôtel de ville de Tours, and Göppingen Meisterkonzerte. Recent premieres include the 5 Boroughs Music Festival Songbook II (Matthew Aucoin, Jonathan Dawe, Evan Fein, Whitney George, Laura Kaminsky, Missy Mazzoli, Paola Prestini, Kamala Sankaram); Brooklyn Art Song Society (Andrew Staniland); and Vancouver’s Music on Main (Jocelyn Morlock, Caroline Shaw). Switzer has been recorded by the CBC, Dutch Radio (Radio 4), SWR and the Bayerische Rundfunk in Germany, WQXR New York, and WGBH Boston. An upcoming recording release, English Songs à la française, features her long-standing duo partnership with baritone Tyler Duncan. Together with soprano Martha Guth, she cofounded Sparks & Wiry Cries (sparksandwirycries.org), which contributes to the future of art song performance through publication of The Art Song Magazine, presentation of the songSLAM festival in New York City, and the commission of new works. In addition to teaching in Bard’s undergraduate Music Program, Switzer works with the Graduate Vocal Arts Program on diction for singers, vocal coaching, and chamber music. BM, MM (solo piano), University of British Columbia; MM, Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, Germany; DM (collaborative piano), The Juilliard School. At Bard since 2010.
Asher B. Edelman Professor in the Arts; Composition, Bard College Conservatory of Music
Joan TowerJoan Tower is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. During a career spanning more than 50 years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator. Her works have been commissioned by major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, including the Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir quartets; soloists Evelyn Glennie, Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, and John Browning; and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., among others.
In 1990, Tower became the first woman to win the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for her composition Silver Ladders. She was the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of 65 orchestras. The Nashville Symphony and conductor Leonard Slatkin recorded that work, Made in America, with Tambor and Concerto for Orchestra for the Naxos label. The top-selling recording won three 2008 Grammy awards: Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Best Classical Album, and Best Orchestral Performance.
From 1969 to 1984, she was pianist and founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players, which commissioned and premiered many of her most popular works. Her first orchestral work, Sequoia, quickly entered the repertory. Tower's tremendously popular five Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman have been played by over 500 different ensembles. She is currently Asher Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972.
Her composer-residencies with orchestras and festivals include a decade with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Composer of the Year for their 2010-2011 season, as well as the St. Louis Symphony, the Deer Valley Music Festival, and the Yale/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.
Among her recent premieres: White Water (2012), commissioned by Chamber Music Monterey Bay and premiered by the Daedalus Quartet; Stroke (2011), commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; White Granite (2009), commissioned by St. Timothy's Summer Music Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, and La Jolla Music Society for SummerFest; Angels(2008), her fourth string quartet, commissioned by Music for Angel Fire and premiered by the Miami String Quartet; Dumbarton Quintet (2008), a piano quintet commissioned by the Dumbarton Oaks Estate (their third commission after Stravinsky and Copland) and premiered by Tower and the Enso String Quartet; Chamber Dance (2006), commissioned, premiered, and toured by Orpheus; and Copperwave (2006), written for the American Brass Quintet and commissioned by The Juilliard School of Music. A Gift (2007), for winds and piano, was commissioned by Chamber Music Northwest and premiered by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS). Other CMS premieres included Trio Cavany (2007) and Simply Purple (2008) for viola, performed by Paul Neubauer.
Her compositions cross many genres: Can I (2007) for youth chorus and percussionist; Copperwave (2006), written for brass quintet; DNA (2003), a percussion quintet commissioned for Frank Epstein and the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble; Fascinating Ribbons (2001), her foray into the world of band music, premiered at the annual conference of College Band Directors; Vast Antique Cubes/Throbbing Still (2000), a solo piano piece for John Browning; Tambor (1998), for the Pittsburgh Symphony under the baton of Mariss Jansons; and her ballet Stepping Stones (1993), commissioned by choreographer Kathryn Posin for the Milwaukee Ballet and revisited by Posin with the Bulgarian Ballet in June 2011.
Joan Tower's music is published by Associated Music Publishers.
Photo by Cynthia Del Conte.