Chamber music is a priority at the Bard College Conservatory of Music. An extraordinary number of members of its faculty are current or former members of distinguished touring chamber music ensembles. Studio faculty members serve not only as coaches but often as players in ensembles, allowing students to learn firsthand from the playing of a more experienced musician. Chamber music ensembles perform in Noon Concerts, in the Chamber Music Marathon each semester, in self-produced concerts with the Conservatory’s Concert Office, and on various graduation recitals. Additionally, they perform off-campus in private homes, local chamber music series, and in Conservatory showcase concerts in NYC and elsewhere. The chamber music program is further enriched by master classes and concerts by conservatory faculty members and guest artists.
Students also give shared or full-length solo recitals, with their teacher's permission. Each year, as many as three winners of the concerto competition perform as soloists with either the Conservatory Orchestra or The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein. Past concerto competition winners have performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City and Bard's Fisher Center. Conservatory students have also been soloists with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, and other professional ensembles.
Opportunities for Composers
Composition majors are offered extensive performance opportunities through performances by the Da Capo Chamber Players and Conservatory Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, and performances by fellow students as part of the contemporary music series Music Alive!, curated by Joan Tower. Additionally, chamber music ensembles are encouraged to form special relationships with peer composers in Bard Conservatory. This is mutually beneficial for the composer and ensemble because by hearing the work of the ensemble, the composers are able to write works especially suited to the strengths of the ensemble. In the preparation for performances of new works, ensembles have the opportunity to gain a rich understanding of composers’ music ideas.