Bard Conservatory of Music

Bard Conservatory mourns loss of long-time faculty member, Harold Farberman, age 89

Below is a message from Bard College President Leon Botstein

I regret to inform the Bard community of the death, on November 24, of Harold Farberman, who died peacefully at his home in Germantown surrounded by his wife, Corrine Curry, their children, and grandchildren. Maestro Farberman was a distinguished composer, conductor, and teacher of conducting who was born in New York to a family of Klezmer musicians eighty-nine years ago. 

Maestro Farberman joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a percussionist at the age of twenty-two. He remained with the BSO for more than a decade before branching out as a composer and conductor. He studied percussion at Juilliard and composition at the New England Conservatory and at Tanglewood, with Aaron Copland. His opera The Losers was commissioned to open the Julliard Opera Theater in 1971. Farberman served as music director of the Oakland Symphony in the 1970s and made pioneering recordings of the music of Ives and Mahler. He was a frequent guest conductor around the world. 

In 1976 Farberman founded the Conductors Guild and began to train young conductors. During the last four decades of his career, he founded The Conductors Institute; published a text book on conducting, The Art of Conducting Technique; and achieved international fame as a fierce, demanding, and inspiring teacher. Among his pupils are Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore and São Paulo Symphony Orchestras. He began teaching conducting at Bard in the summer of 1999 and continued to do so until his death.

A memorial service will be held in the performance space at the Bíto Conservatory Building on Saturday, December 8 at 11:00 a.m. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Farberman Fund of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, either by mail or online at

November 27, 2018 - November 27, 2019

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