Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program Presents Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, March 4 and 6ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY—The Bard College Conservatory of Music Graduate Vocal Arts Program presents Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, a century-old opera detailing the adventures of a clever fox cub, which has much to say about the connections between people and animals, and the cyclical nature of life and death. Directed by Doug Fitch, The Cunning Little Vixen features vocalists of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program and members of The Orchestra Now conducted by James Bagwell. Performances will be held on Friday, March 4 at 8 pm and Sunday, March 6 at 3pm in the Fisher Center’s Sosnoff Theater. Tickets start at $25, with $5 tickets for Bard students made possible by the Passloff Pass. Virtual livestream tickets are pay what you wish. All ticket sales benefit the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Scholarship Fund. To purchase or reserve tickets visit fishercenter.bard.edu, call 845-758-7900 (Mon-Fri 10am-5pm), or email [email protected].
“Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen is a musical paean to nature in which he gently but deftly dismantles our blindly human-centric views about other living things. It sings of an inherent humanity in nature that has no need for humans to humanize it. It’s also a memento mori, written by an old man facing his own mortality and looking for ways to make sense of it all at the end of his life . . . Janáček merged the divinity he saw pervading all nature and humanity with an appreciation he had gained by a long life of personal experience to write this transcendent piece of musical art,” writes Doug Fitch in his Note from the Director.
PHOTO CAPTION: Doug Fitch.
About the Artists
Doug Fitch is a polymath visual artist working in media including architecture, opera, puppetry, sustenance and design. Born in Philadelphia, he graduated in Visual Studies from Harvard University, studied cooking at La Varenne in Paris and design at Institut d’Architecture et d’Etudes Urbaines in Strasbourg. Highlights of his career include the 2010 production of György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre for the New York Philharmonic, remounted at Hamburg’s ElbPhilharmonie. Also: The Cunning Little Vixen with the New York Philharmonic, Hansel and Gretel: LA Opera, Turandot: Santa Fe Opera, Gloria, A Pig Tale: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fitch also created a series of multi-sensory experiences with collaborator Mimi Oka, known as Orphic Feasts, featured in their book, Orphic Fodder: Experiments in Dining. Beginning in the 1980s. Fitch emerged as an architectural designer, designing homes and furniture, often for musicians, including Joshua Bell and Alan Gilbert. He has also written the books: Organs of Emotion and With Skin and Hair. He lives in New York, where he works as a visual artist, designer, and director.
James Bagwell maintains an active international schedule as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music. He was recently named associate conductor of The Orchestra Now (TŌN), and in 2009 was appointed principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. From 2009 to 2015, he served as music director of The Collegiate Chorale. Highlights of his tenure include conducting a number of operas-in-concert at Carnegie Hall, including Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon, and Boito’s Mefistofele. He conducted the New York premiere of Philip Glass’s “Toltec” Symphony and Golijov’s Oceana, both at Carnegie Hall. Since 2011, he has collaborated with singer and composer Natalie Merchant, conducting major orchestras across the country, including the San Francisco and Seattle Symphonies.
He has trained choruses for numerous American and international orchestras, including the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, and American Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with conductors including Charles Dutoit, Andris Nelsons, Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert, Gianandrea Noseda, Yannik Nézet-Séguin, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Louis Langrée, Ivan Fischer, Jesús López-Cobos, and Robert Shaw.
Bagwell prepared The Collegiate Chorale for concerts at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland; in 2012, the Chorale traveled to Israel and the Salzburg Festival for four programs with the Israel Philharmonic. Since 2003, he has been director of choruses for the Bard Music Festival, conducting and preparing choral works during the summer festival at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. He frequently appears as guest conductor for orchestras around the country and abroad, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Symphony, and Interlochen Arts Festival. He is professor of music at Bard College, director of performance studies, and codirector of the Graduate Conducting Program at Bard College Conservatory of Music.
The Graduate Vocal Arts Program is a unique master of music program in vocal arts that balances a respect for established repertory and expressive techniques with the flexibility and curiosity needed to keep abreast of evolving musical ideas. Led by the renowned American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, the program prepares young singers to meet the special challenges of pursuing a professional life in music in the 21st century. Students engage with art song, chamber music, contemporary music, and operatic repertoire throughout their course work. Operatic performance includes a fully staged production at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. The program includes seminars and classes in Alexander Technique, acting, diction and translation, development of performance opportunities, and a workshop in career skills with guest speakers who are leading figures in arts management and administration.
The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is a group of 61 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, 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 ton.bard.edu.
#About the Bard College Conservatory
The Bard College Conservatory of Music expands Bard’s spirit of innovation in arts and education. The Conservatory, which opened in 2005, offers a five-year, double-degree program at the undergraduate level and, at the graduate level, programs in vocal arts and conducting. At the graduate level the Conservatory also offers a nondegree-granting Advanced Performance Studies program and a two-year Postgraduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship. The US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, established in 2018, offers a unique degree program in Chinese instruments; and the Creative Center for Film Music, a 2021 initiative, supports the study of film scoring and composition for film. In fall 2022, two new graduate programs will be added, a Master of Music in Instrumental Performance and a Master of Arts in Chinese Music. bard.edu/conservatory
About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year, residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 11 programs; nine early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 161-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.
Bard Press Contact:Mark Primoff
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