The Orchestra Now Performs Before and After Soviet Communism at the Fisher Center at Bard College, on April 29 and 30

Featured Soloists are Mezzo-Soprano Sun-Ly Pierce; Violinists Luosha Fang and Hiromi Kikuchi; and Violists Ken Hakii and Rosemary Nelis

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY — Music Director Leon Botstein conducts The Orchestra Now (TŌN) in Before and After Soviet Communism, a program examining seldom-heard masterpieces of Eastern European music by Karol Szymanowski, Boris Tishchenko, and György Kurtág during the rise and fall of Soviet communism. The performance is a preview of the same program to be given at Carnegie Hall on May 4.

Tickets: $25–$35 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

Before and After Soviet Communism: A Carnegie Hall Preview
Fisher Center at Bard College, Sosnoff Theater
This program will also be performed at Carnegie Hall on May 4.
Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 7 PM
Sunday, April 30 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Sun-Ly Pierce, mezzo-soprano
Hiromi Kikuchi, violin (April 29)
Ken Hakii, viola (April 29)
Luosha Fang, violin (April 30)
Rosemary Nelis, viola (April 30)
Karol Szymanowski: Songs of the Infatuated Muezzin
György Kurtág: ...concertante...
Boris Tishchenko: Symphony No. 5
Szymanowski’s 1918 Songs of the Infatuated Muezzin was written during a time when the composer’s interests turned towards exoticism. Chinese-American mezzo-soprano Sun-Ly Pierce, a Marilyn Horne Song Competition award-winner with frequent leading roles at Houston Grand Opera, is featured in this song cycle based on texts from the Polish poet Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz. The work evokes the improvisational cry of the men who call Muslims to prayer. Russian composer Boris Tishchenko’s Fifth Symphony is dedicated to Shostakovich in response to the death of his teacher, colleague, and friend. Hungarian composer György Kurtág’s early-21st-century ...concertante… consists of a single movement and a coda scored for large orchestra and two string soloists with a wide range of tonal color. Premiered in 2003 by the Danish National Symphony Radio Orchestra, the work won the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. The soloists in the April 29 performance are violinist Hiromi Kikuchi, and Ken Hakii, for whom Kurtág wrote this piece. The April 30 concert will feature violinist/violist Luosha Fang, 1st Prize-winner of the Tokyo International Viola Competition; and violist Rosemary Nelis, Brooklyn native, recording artist, violist for the Cassatt String Quartet, and faculty member of Kinhaven Music School.

The Orchestra Now
The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is a group of 54 vibrant young musicians from 13 different countries across the globe: Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Peru, Singapore, 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 New England Conservatory 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, and the soundtrack to the motion picture Forte. 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 is founder and music director of The Orchestra Now (TŌN), music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO), artistic codirector of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, and conductor laureate and principal guest conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO), where he served as music director from 2003 to 2011. He has been guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre, Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Taipei Symphony, Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, and Sinfónica Juvenil de Caracas in Venezuela, among others. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria.

Recordings include acclaimed recordings of Othmar Schoeck’s Lebendig begraben with TŌN, Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner with the ASO, a Grammy-nominated recording of Popov’s First Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra, and other various recordings with TŌN, ASO, the London Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra Hamburg, and JSO, among others. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and author of numerous articles and books, including The Compleat Brahms (Norton), Jefferson’s Children (Doubleday), Judentum und Modernität (Bölau), and Von Beethoven zu Berg (Zsolnay). Honors include Harvard University’s prestigious Centennial Award; the American Academy of Arts and Letters award; and Cross of Honor, First Class, from the government of Austria, for his contributions to music. Other distinctions include the Bruckner Society’s Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor for his interpretations of that composer’s music, the Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society, and Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.

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 04-17-2023