Press Room

The Orchestra Now (TŌN) Announces 2021–22 Season September 11, 2021 – May 22, 2022

TŌN Presents Concerts at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Fisher Center at Bard, and Three Free Concerts in New York City and Beyond

World Premieres of Leonard Slatkin’s Brahmsiana and Scott Wheeler’s New Work for Violinist Gil Shaham; Rare Performances of Bristow’s Symphony No. 4, Arcadian; Lutosławski’s Symphonic Variations; Messiaen’s Le tombeau resplendissant; Julia Perry’s Stabat Mater; and Still’s Dismal Swamp

Guest Artists Include Conductors Carlos Miguel Prieto, Leonard Slatkin, and Joseph Young; Violinist Gil Shaham; Pianists Blair McMillen, Anna Polonsky, Gilles Vonsattel, and Shai Wosner

The Orchestra Now (TŌN), the visionary orchestra and master’s degree program founded by Bard College president, conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, returns to the stage for its seventh season on September 11. Four different series and three free concerts will offer 21 programs and 38 performances presenting inventive combinations of both established and less familiar repertoire through May 22, 2022.

The Orchestra welcomes 16 new members this season, for a total of 65 musicians from 13 countries. Since it launched in 2015, TŌN has performed 489 works by 234 composers in 35 venues for more than 66,000 live and virtual concertgoers, with 237 soloists and 22 conductors.

Nothing can replace the exhilaration of live performance,” said Music Director Leon Botstein. “During the pandemic, our young musicians kept the music alive by developing the skills to produce and perform extraordinary digital programs. But the return to the stage and the excitement of a real audience in such wonderful venues is crucial to their experience. We are truly thrilled to resume a direct connection with our audiences.”

Highlights of the 2021-22 season include the world premieres of Brahmsiana by conductor/composer Leonard Slatkin—who makes his debut with TŌN this season (Sept. 18-19 at the Fisher Center)—and award-winning composer Scott Wheeler’s new work, written for violinist Gil Shaham, who performs it at both Carnegie Hall (Nov. 18) and the Fisher Center (Nov. 13-14). Also notable are seldom-heard performances of Dismal Swamp, William Grant Still’s portrait of enslaved people taking refuge while seeking freedom; and Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s Symphony No. 1, the composer’s response to conditions under the Nazi regime (May 7 at the Fisher Center and May 12 at Carnegie Hall), as well as Slatkin’s new arrangement of Ravel’s orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition, which reinstates portions of Mussorgsky’s original composition for piano. The program also features Circuits by award-winning composer Cindy McTee, who is also Slatkin’s wife (Sept. 18-19 at the Fisher Center).

The eminent Carnegie Hall series includes rarely-heard works by Lutosławski, Perry, and Bristow in addition to Wheeler’s world premiere. Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center hosts a concert with guest conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, Musical America’s 2019 Conductor of the Year. The top-selling Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art returns to explore the connections between music and art in three programs focusing on Beethoven and Cristofori’s newly created piano, Stravinsky and Picasso, and Dvořák and Delacroix. The Fisher Center series at Bard College offers 18 concerts including special performances of Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ German Requiem, and the TŌN debut of Leonard Slatkin conducting the world premiere of his Brahmsiana. Three FREE concerts will be offered, including two at Peter Norton Symphony Space in Manhattan led by TŌN’s resident conductor Zachary Schwartzman in works by Berlioz, Liszt, and Kodály, among others; and one with guest conductor Andrés Rivas in a program of Mozart, Schumann, and Dohnányi at Hudson Hall in Hudson, NY. The audience-pleasing programming of these free performances is a great opportunity for families to experience their first orchestral performance and attract future generations to the enjoyment of classical music.

This year marks the fifth season of TŌN’s successful broadcast series on WMHT-FM, the classical music radio station of New York’s Capital Region, and the fourth season on WWFM, the Classical Network station serving New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, both featuring programs from the Orchestra’s Fisher Center series. TŌN’s performances are also heard regularly on American Public Media’s Performance Today.

CARNEGIE HALL SERIES, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage

Gil Shaham & Julia Perry
Thu, Nov 18, 2021 at 7 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Gil Shaham, violin
Scott Wheeler: New work (World Premiere)
Julia Perry: Stabat Mater
George Frederick Bristow: Symphony No. 4, Arcadian
Renowned violinist and Bard Conservatory of Music faculty member Gil Shaham joins the Orchestra for the world premiere of a new piece written for him by multi-award-winning composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher Scott Wheeler. Currently Senior Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Boston’s Emerson College, Wheeler’s works have been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and performed by such artists as Renée Fleming and Kent Nagano. Black American composer Julia Perry’s dramatic Stabat Mater, a setting of the 13th-century medieval poem “Stabat Mater Dolorosa,” describes the crucifixion of Christ from the viewpoint of the Virgin Mother and is dedicated to Perry’s mother. Also on the program is George Frederick Bristow’s rarely-heard Arcadian Symphony. A Brooklyn native and noted choral composer, Bristow frequently wrote music with American themes—his Symphony No. 4 was originally titled The Pioneer. It will be the first Carnegie Hall performances of Perry’s Stabat Mater and Bristow’s complete Symphony No. 4.

New Voices from the 1930s
Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 7 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Gilles Vonsattel, piano
Frank Corliss, piano
William Grant Still: Dismal Swamp
Carlos Chávez: Piano Concerto
Witold Lutosławski: Symphonic Variations
Karl Amadeus Hartmann: Symphony No. 1, Essay for a Requiem
The rarely-heard masterpieces in this concert spotlight works from the late 1930s, including William Grant Still’s evocative portrait of enslaved people taking refuge while seeking freedom, and Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s commentary on conditions under the Nazi regime. The program also features Mexican Symphonic Music Director and composer Carlos Chávez’s virtuosic Piano Concerto, called “imaginatively scored” and praised for its “elemental strength” and the “originality of its orchestral coloring” by The New York Times at its 1942 premiere. Leading progressive Polish music composer Witold Lutosławski’s adventurous Symphonic Variations was written while he was still a student at Warsaw University. His first substantial orchestral work, the Variations contain many folk-like themes.

Tickets priced at $25–$60 are available online at, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800, or at the Carnegie Hall box office at 57th & Seventh Avenue. Ticket holders will need to comply with the venue’s health and safety requirements, which can be found here.

The Orchestra Now returns to Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall for the fifth season.

Prieto, Falla & Debussy
Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 3 PM
Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor
María Teresa Prieto: piece to be announced at a later date
Manuel de Falla: Sombrero de Tres Picos (The Three-Cornered Hat)
Olivier Messiaen: Tombeau Resplendissant (The Resplendant Tomb)
Claude Debussy: La Mer
Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, Musical America’s 2019 Conductor of the Year and music director of the Orchestra of the Americas, leads TŌN in a diverse program that includes Manuel de Falla’s vivid and eloquent ballet score Sombrero de Tres Picos, Debussy’s powerful La Mer, and a work by Spanish composer María Teresa Prieto.

Tickets priced at $25–$50 are available online at, by calling CenterCharge at 212.721.6500, or at the Jazz at Lincoln Center box office at Broadway & 60th, Ground Floor. Ticket holders will need to comply with the venue’s health and safety requirements, which can be found here.

 The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
Conductor and music historian Leon Botstein surveys the parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts with three concerts in TŌN’s popular Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This season explores the connections between Beethoven’s fascination with the emergence of the first piano; an interest in unconventional artistic and musical forms shared by Stravinsky and Picasso; and the European fascination with the peoples of the New World as expressed by MacDowell, Dvořák, and Delacroix. In each program, a discussion is accompanied by on-screen artworks and musical excerpts performed by the Orchestra, followed by a full performance and audience Q&A.

Beethoven, Cristofori & the Piano’s First Century
Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Shai Wosner, piano
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, and Cristofori’s 1720 Grand Piano
At the dawn of the 18th century, Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori created what would come to be known as the piano. A century later, it was clear that the instrument would become the defining instrument of Western musical culture. Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto reveals the composer’s obsession with the musical possibilities emerging from the rapidly evolving technology of piano construction.

Cristofori’s 1720 Grand Piano is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Musical Instruments collection.

Stravinsky, Picasso & Cubism
Sunday, February 20, 2022 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Blair McMillen, piano
Stravinsky: Concerto for Piano and Winds and Picasso’s Man with a Guitar
Upon settling in Paris in the 1920s, Igor Stravinsky formed close friendships with artists like Pablo Picasso, a founder of Cubism, which sought to deconstruct the familiar and reassemble reality through a disciplined, formal approach. The movement inspired Stravinsky to develop a new approach to the construction of musical forms. He loved to perform his Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments, one of his earliest “neo-classic” masterpieces.

Picasso’s Man with a Guitar is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Modern and Contemporary Art collection.

Dvořák, MacDowell & Delacroix: The New World
Sunday, April 10, 2022 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Edward MacDowell: Suite No. 2, Indian, Dvořák: New World Symphony, second movement, and Eugène Delacroix’s The Natchez
From their earliest encounters in the New World, Europeans were mesmerized by the indigenous peoples of North America. French artist Eugène Delacroix painted a Natchez family as they fled the massacre of their tribe up the Mississippi River. Edward MacDowell’s Indian Suite incorporated native melodies and rhythms, and the second movement of Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony was inspired by Longfellow’s poem on Hiawatha.

Eugène Delacroix’s The Natchez is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture collection.

Tickets priced at $30–$50; 3-concert series $75–$120; bring the kids for $1. All tickets include same-day museum admission. Tickets may be purchased online here, by calling The Met at 212.570.3949, or at The Great Hall box office at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ticket holders will need to comply with the venue’s health and safety requirements, which can be found here.
The Orchestra Now’s residency at Bard College’s Fisher Center renews with 18 concerts and nine different programs including special performances of Handel’s Messiah and the Brahms Requiem, and the debut of conductor Leonard Slatkin with TŌN.

Shostakovich & Dawson
Saturday September 11, 2021 at 8 PM
Sunday September 12, 2021 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
William L. Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7, Leningrad
William L. Dawson said of his emotionally charged Negro Folk Symphony that he wanted listeners to know it was "unmistakably not the work of a white man." The work is paired with Shostakovich’s enormous and patriotic Seventh Symphony, Leningrad, written largely after he had fled the city following the German invasion during WWII.

Slatkin Conducts Brahmsiana
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 8 PM
Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 2 PM
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Cindy McTee: Circuits
Brahms: Brahmsiana arr. Leonard Slatkin (World Premiere)
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, Leonard Slatkin’s new arr. of Ravel’s orchestration
Internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin makes his debut with TŌN, leading the world premiere of his own arrangement of Brahms melodies, Brahmsiana, and his new arrangement of Pictures at an Exhibition, which takes Ravel’s famous orchestration and reinstates portions of Mussorgsky’s original. The concert opens with Circuits, written by award-winning composer Cindy McTee.

Strauss’ Merry Pranks & Bruckner’s Fifth
Friday, October 1, 2021 at 8 PM
Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 5 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
R. Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks
Bruckner: Symphony No. 5
Richard Strauss’ audience favorite Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, which chronicles the misadventures of the practical jokester and German peasant folk hero, is presented in contrast to Anton Bruckner’s massive Fifth Symphony, which was performed only once during the composer’s lifetime. He died having never heard it.

Gil Shaham & Julia Perry
Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 8 PM
Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 2 PM (see program description for Nov 18 Carnegie Hall performance)
Leon Botstein, conductor
Gil Shaham,violin
Scott Wheeler: New Work (World Premiere)
Julia Perry: Stabat Mater
George Frederick Bristow: Symphony No. 4, Arcadian

Handel’s Messiah
Saturday December 11, 2021 at 8 PM
Sunday, December 12, 2021 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Vocal soloists from Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program to be announced
Bard Festival Chorale, Bard College Chamber Singers
Handel: Messiah
Leon Botstein leads The Orchestra Now, soloists from Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, the Bard Festival Chorale, and the Bard College Chamber Singers in a performance of one of the most popular oratorios of all time.

Tchaikovsky, William Tell & The Little Mermaid
Saturday, February 5, 2022 at 8 PM
Sunday, February 6, 2022 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Rossini: William Tell Overture
Alexander Zemlinsky: The Little Mermaid
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Pathétique
The spring 2022 season unfolds with a concert of such audience favorites as Rossini’s iconic William Tell Overture and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid, richly orchestrated by Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky. The program closes with Tchaikovsky’s final completed symphony, the Pathétique, which the composer called his “Passionate Symphony.”

Clara Schumann & Brahms’ German Requiem
Saturday April 2, 2022 at 8 PM
Sunday, April 3, 2022 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Anna Polonsky, piano
Vocal soloists from Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program to be announced
Bard Festival Chorale, Bard College Chamber Singers
Clara Schumann: Piano Concerto
Brahms: A German Requiem
Clara Schumann began writing her memorable Piano Concerto when she was just 14 years old, already a prodigy on the instrument. This virtuoso work will be performed by acclaimed pianist Anna Polonsky. Later in life, Schumann was close friends with Johannes Brahms. She said his German Requiem “is an immense piece that takes hold of one's whole being like very little else.”

Joseph Young & Rachmaninoff
Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 8 PM
Sunday, April 24, 2022 at 2 PM
Joseph Young, conductor
Julia Perry: A Short Piece for Orchestra
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3
Julia Perry’s riotous Short Work for Orchestra was recorded by the New York Philharmonic in 1965. While much of her work has been neglected, she was a winner of the Boulanger Grand Prix for her Viola Sonata. Rachmaninoff’s rhythmically expressive Symphony No. 3 concludes the program. Guest conductor Joseph Young, Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony and Resident Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra–USA at Carnegie Hall, leads the Orchestra.

New Voices from the 1930s
Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 8 PM
Sunday, May 8, 2022 at 2 PM (See program description for May 12 Carnegie Hall performance)
Leon Botstein, conductor
Gilles Vonsattel, piano
Frank Corliss, piano
William Grant Still: Dismal Swamp
Carlos Chávez: Piano Concerto
Witold Lutosławski: Symphonic Variations
Karl Amadeus Hartmann: Symphony No. 1

Tickets $25–$40; 5-Concert Series from $81.25 (35% off); Create Your Own Series from $56.25 (25% off).
Tickets are available online at, or by calling the Fisher Center at 845.758.7900. Ticket holders will need to comply with the venue’s health and safety requirements, which can be found here.
TŌN continues its series of free concerts at venues in New York City and beyond, providing families with an opportunity to attend their first orchestral performance and introduce a new generation to classical music.

Britten, Sibelius & Tan Dun
Sunday, Dec 19, 2021 at 4 PM, at Peter Norton Symphony Space, New York City
Zachary Schwartzman, conductor
Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture
Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
Tan Dun: Symphonic Poem of Three Notes
Sibelius: Symphony No. 5

Mozart & Schumann’s Spring Symphony
Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 7 PM, at Hudson Hall, Hudson, NY
Andrés Rivas, conductor
Soloists to be announced
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds
Ernő Dohnányi: Concertino for Harp and Chamber Orchestra
Schumann: Symphony No. 1, Spring

Liszt & Bartók
Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 4 PM, at Peter Norton Symphony Space, New York City
Zachary Schwartzman, conductor
Emmerich Kálmán: Gräfin Mariza Overture
Liszt: Les Préludes
Zoltán Kodály: Dances of Galánta
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

Tickets: These concerts are FREE, no tickets necessary, advance RSVP suggested. For concerts at Symphony Space, RSVP at For concerts at Hudson Hall, RSVP at Concertgoers will need to comply with the venues health and safety requirements for Hudson Hall and Symphony Space.  

The Orchestra Now
The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is a group of 65 vibrant young musicians from 13 different countries across the globe: Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Mongolia, Peru, Taiwan, and the United States. All share a mission to make orchestral music relevant to 21st-century audiences by sharing their unique personal insights in a welcoming environment. Hand-picked from the world’s leading conservatories—including the Yale School of Music, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Royal Academy of Music, and the Eastman School of Music—the members of TŌN are enlightening curious minds by giving on-stage introductions and demonstrations, writing concert notes from the musicians’ perspective, and having one-on-one discussions with patrons during intermissions.

Conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, whom The New York Times said “draws rich, expressive playing from the orchestra,” founded TŌN in 2015 as a graduate program at Bard College, where he is also president. TŌN offers both a three-year master’s degree in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies and a two-year advanced certificate in Orchestra Studies. The Orchestra’s home base is the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center at Bard, where it performs multiple concerts each season and takes part in the annual Bard Music Festival. It also performs regularly at the finest venues in New York, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and others across NYC and beyond. HuffPost, who has called TŌN’s performances “dramatic and intense,” praises these concerts as “an opportunity to see talented musicians early in their careers.”

The Orchestra has performed with many distinguished guest conductors and soloists, including Leonard Slatkin, Neeme Järvi, Gil Shaham, Fabio Luisi, Vadim Repin, Hans Graf, Peter Serkin, Gerard Schwarz, Tan Dun, and JoAnn Falletta. Recordings featuring The Orchestra Now include two albums of piano concertos with Piers Lane on Hyperion Records, and a Sorel Classics concert recording of pianist Anna Shelest performing works by Anton Rubinstein with TŌN and conductor Neeme Järvi. Buried Alive with baritone Michael Nagy, released on Bridge Records in August 2020, includes the first recording in almost 60 years—and only the second recording ever—of Othmar Schoeck’s song-cycle Lebendig begraben. Recent releases include an album of piano concertos with Orion Weiss on Bridge Records. Recordings of TŌN’s live concerts from the Fisher Center can be heard on Classical WMHT-FM and WWFM The Classical Network, and are featured regularly on Performance Today, broadcast nationwide.

For upcoming activities and more detailed information about the musicians, visit

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein brings a renowned career as both a conductor and educator to his role as music director of The Orchestra Now. He has been music director of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992, artistic co-director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival since their creation, and president of Bard College since 1975. He was the music director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 2003–11 and is now conductor laureate. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria. Mr. Botstein is also a frequent guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, has made numerous recordings, and is a prolific author and music historian. He is editor of the prestigious The Musical Quarterly and has received many honors for his contributions to music. More info online at

Press Contacts
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: [email protected]

Mark Primoff
Associate Vice President of Communications
Bard College
Phone: 845.758.7412
Email: [email protected]
This event was last updated on 08-25-2021