For the Conservatory’s Chinese instrument majors, Chinese Ensemble provides both large-ensemble and chamber music performance opportunities throughout the year. At least one major Chinese Ensemble concert with the participation of all Chinese instrument majors will be performed each semester on campus. Other regular performance opportunities include the Chinese Music in the Chapel concert series at Bard and the Music at China Institute 华美音乐 program in Manhattan. Studio teachers assist the ensemble coach and perform in Chinese Ensemble concerts, contributing their depth of experience and knowledge of the repertoire. The Chinese Ensemble program also features master classes and concerts by leading performers and educators in Chinese music. All Conservatory students have the opportunity to participate in mixed ensembles of Chinese and Western instruments.
Chamber music is a priority at the Bard College Conservatory of Music. 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.
Opportunities for Composers
Composition majors are offered extensive opportunities to have their works performed by the Da Capo Chamber Players, Conservatory Orchestra, and the American Symphony Orchestra. Special performances by fellow students are 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.
Opportunities for Singers
Throughout their time in the undergraduate double degree program, singers are provided with ample opportunities to perform in operatic, art song, choral, and chamber music settings. All Conservatory students are required to present at least three recitals, two on-campus and one off-campus, and many courses culminate in a final public performance. In addition, students have opportunities to perform with the Bard College Baroque Ensemble, the Bard College Orchestra, the Bard Conservatory Orchestra, and with the Chamber Singers and Symphonic Chorus. Students hone their stagecraft in the yearly, fully-staged Opera Workshop in Bard's Fisher Center and in the Graduate Vocal Arts Program operas, performing in the chorus and supporting roles.
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.