THE ORCHESTRA NOW PERFORMS “MENDELSSOHN, TURNER & ROMANTIC IMAGINATION” AS PART OF ITS “SIGHT & SOUND” SERIES AT THE MET FIFTH AVENUE SUNDAY, MAY 22 AT 2 PM

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, April 29, 2016 The Orchestra Now (TÕN), the innovative new master’s degree program and graduate training orchestra founded by Bard College in 2015, will perform the last of its three-concert Sight & Sound series at The Met Fifth Avenue on Sunday, May 22 at 2 pm. The series pairs orchestral work with masterpieces from the Met’s collection, exploring the places where musical and visual expression meet. The subjects of this performance are Mendelssohn’s 3rd Symphony and J.M.W. Turner’s Whalers. Conductor and musicologist Leon Botstein will lead the Ensemble and discuss Mendelssohn’s work to draw parallels between visual art and music, and engage the audience in a lively presentation.

Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 2:00 PM
Sight and Sound at The Met Fifth Avenue, the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
The afternoon performance of Mendelssohn’s 3rd Symphony, “The Scottish,” is set in the context of J.M.W. Turner’s oil painting, Whalers. Inspired by his visit to the ruins of Holyrood in Scotland in 1829, the birth of Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony began with his impressions of the chambers where a murder once occurred. Later in the mid 1850s, Turner brought his alleged life-long interest in the whaler’s industry to life in a series of paintings that includes Whalers. Conductor and musicologist Leon Botstein will draw parallels between the art and music, and answer questions from the audience.
The Orchestra Now
Leon Botstein, conductor
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 “Scottish”
Turner: Whalers

Tickets to this event include Museum admission.  Come early and view the painting that inspired this performance in gallery 624.

Tickets, ranging from $30 – $50, are available online at www.metmuseum.org/tickets or by calling 212.570.3949 for more information.

About The Orchestra Now
Founded in 2015, The Orchestra Now is an innovative training orchestra and master’s degree program at Bard College that is preparing a new generation of musicians to break down barriers between modern audiences and great orchestral music of the past and present. Under the leadership of conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, TŌN mines the wealth of underperformed repertoire, reimagines traditional concert formats, and strives to make the experience of the performers a part of the listeners’ experience. The musicians of TŌN hail from across the U.S. and six other countries: Hungary, Korea, China, Japan, Canada and Venezuela. In addition to a concert series at their home base—the stunning Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College—they perform multiple concerts each season at Carnegie Hall and offer free concerts at venues across the boroughs of New York City. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art they join TŌN’s Music Director Leon Botstein in the series Sight & Sound as he pairs orchestral works with masterpieces from the museum’s collection. In addition to Mr. Botstein and TŌN’s Associate Conductor and Academic Director, James Bagwell, guest conductors in the inaugural season include JoAnn Falletta, Marcelo Lehninger, and Gerard Schwarz. For more information, visit www.theorchestranow.org.

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein brings a renowned career as both an educator and a conductor to his role as founder of Bard College’s new master’s degree program and Music Director of The Orchestra Now. He has been the President of Bard College since 1975, co-Artistic Director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival since their creation, and Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He also served as the Music Director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2011 and is now Conductor Laureate. Mr. Botstein has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He has received numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry. More info online at LeonBotsteinMusicRoom.com.

Press contact:
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: pascal@pascalnadon.com

Healing the Divide at Bard

The Millbrook Independent

“The agnostic question hung in the air during intermission. Did the future belong to Sibelius whose legacy has flowered fruitfully in Finland, a legacy that now rivals those Americans who followed in the footsteps of Ives: Cage, Riley, Adams, and others. A synthesis of these two rival traditions appeared in the world premiere of Tamzin Elliott’s Daughters Concerto with Blair McMillen on the piano, which began more with the dissonant tradition tamed and feminized. Piano and orchestra discussed and debated the situation. Strings argued for more lyricism and mysticism as the piano made modulating compromises while always pushing into new rhythms, new terrain, new sounds of exploration. The result was suspenseful, engaging, enlightening. Yes, one could have both streams flow as one. For me this piece was a memorable revelation, the highlight of the evening.” – Kevin T. McEneaney

Photo by David DeNee

THE ORCHESTRA NOW (TŌN) RETURNS TO CARNEGIE HALL IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE MET BREUER’S EXHIBITION “UNFINISHED: THOUGHTS LEFT VISIBLE” FRIDAY, MAY 13 AT 7:30 PM

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, April 22, 2016 Music Director Leon Botstein will conduct The Orchestra Now on May 13 in its final performance at Carnegie Hall this season as part of the two-part series, TŌN at Carnegie Hall. Titled The Unfinished, the program features unfinished works by Mozart and Schoenberg, and is presented in conjunction with The Met Breuer’s exhibition Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. The concert includes a panel discussion on the program with:

Andrea Bayer: Jane Wrightsman Curator, Department of European Paintings, The Met
Elaine Sisman: Anne Parsons Bender Professor of Music, Columbia University
Sheena Wagstaff: Leonard A. Lauder Chairman, Modern and Contemporary Art, The Met
Leon Botstein Music: Director, The Orchestra Now

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 7:30 PM
Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage
Though Mozart and Schoenberg have little in common musically, they do share something of note: both started and then abandoned works that became famous. Schoenberg began writing the original sketches for his lyrical Chamber Symphony No. 2 in 1906, but felt that his style was changing. He moved toward atonality and the development of his 12-tone method of composition, leaving the work unfinished. More than 30 years later, while living a life of exile in Los Angeles, he revised and re-orchestrated the Chamber Symphony to merge his old style with his new. Mozart composed the Great Mass in C minor while traveling to Salzburg as one of several works he promised to write for his then fiancée, Constanze, who sang the “Et incarnatus est” at its 1783 Salzburg premiere even though the full mass was never completed. The large-scale missa solemnis is missing most of the Credo and all of the Agnus Dei. While Mozart’s other great choral work, The Requiem, is also unfinished, that was due to his untimely death. There is little information to explain the reason why the Mass in C minor was incomplete, though there are many theories.

The Orchestra Now
Leon Botstein, conductor
Emily Birsan, soprano
Cassandra Zoe Velasco, mezzo-soprano
Brian Anderson, tenor
Christopher Burchett, baritone
Bard Festival Chorale
Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 2
Mozart: Great Mass in C minor

Tickets, priced $25–$75, are available at CarnegieHall.org, at the Carnegie box office, or by calling CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800.

About The Orchestra Now
Founded in 2015, The Orchestra Now is an innovative training orchestra and master’s degree program at Bard College that is preparing a new generation of musicians to break down barriers between modern audiences and great orchestral music of the past and present. Under the leadership of conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, TŌN mines the wealth of underperformed repertoire, reimagines traditional concert formats, and strives to make the experience of the performers a part of the listeners’ experience. The musicians of TŌN hail from across the U.S. and six other countries: Hungary, Korea, China, Japan, Canada and Venezuela. In addition to a concert series at their home base—the stunning Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College—they perform multiple concerts each season at Carnegie Hall and offer free concerts at venues across the boroughs of New York City. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art they join TŌN’s Music Director Leon Botstein in the series Sight & Sound as he pairs orchestral works with masterpieces from the museum’s collection. In addition to Mr. Botstein and TŌN’s Associate Conductor and Academic Director, James Bagwell, guest conductors in the inaugural season include JoAnn Falletta, Marcelo Lehninger, and Gerard Schwarz. For more information, visit www.theorchestranow.org.

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein brings a renowned career as both an educator and a conductor to his role as founder of Bard College’s new master’s degree program and Music Director of The Orchestra Now. He has been the President of Bard College since 1975, co-Artistic Director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival since their creation, and Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He also served as the Music Director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2011 and is now Conductor Laureate. Mr. Botstein has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He has received numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry. More info online at LeonBotsteinMusicRoom.com.

Press contact:
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: pascal@pascalnadon.com

Composing a Fighting Instinct: Tamzin Elliott on her “Daughters Concerto”

Note: This event occurred on April 23 & 24, 2016.

This weekend, The Orchestra Now will present world premieres by Bard College Conservatory of Music composers Daniel Zlatkin and Tamzin Elliott at our Fisher Center season finale (Saturday, April 23rd at 8 PM and Sunday, April 24th at 3 PM). Below, Tamzin Elliott shares her thoughts about her piece, Daughters Concerto, feminism, and the future of classical music.

 

TŌN: You’ve written for chamber ensembles, string quartets, orchestras, and more. What have been some of the most formative experiences in your development as a composer?

TAMZIN ELLIOTT: I spent many summers as a teenager doing the Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, writing chamber pieces in two weeks, rehearsing the work in progress every other day. The experience of writing for my peers, rehearsing unfinished pieces with said peers, and learning the art of coaching chamber music molded me into a composer who is not afraid to edit, to admit I do or don’t know how I want something to sound, and to grasp the gritty details of preparing for a performance. Those summers primed me for inquiry into what is truly important to me in live performance and music making, the lifestyle and the stage.

Can you talk about the inspiration for the piece? What topics were you seeking to address in composing this piece, and how did it affect your compositional process?

My statements in the piece are not written in notation, there aren’t clues to be found in my harmonic and structural material. My musical decisions in this piece were guided most strongly by my fears, anger, and sadness for the continuing dangers facing women and people assigned female at birth. Will my daughter in the future be blamed for being assaulted while traveling alone? Will she blame herself for the orgasm inequality with her partner, or will she assume that it’s just harder for girls? Will she still have to drive five hours to the nearest abortion clinic, only to be turned away? Will someone still hold the power over her to deem her worthy of sexual objectification? At the heart of this piece are my own various songs as a growing activist – the emotional contours of beginning to live the life of a woman who is in the position to speak out, to fight.

As far as my process goes, I had to begin to come to terms with the fact that the history of the western classical music world is a sexist one, and that fact of course has implications on the musical language I have inherited from that past. I had to ask myself, how do I write music that concerns my own body without objectifying it? It’s no accident that opera plots have a tendency to be about a woman getting destroyed in some way, or at least are put on a pedestal of evil (why do we think Salome was an interesting and revolutionary plot to choose for opera?). Bluebeard’s Castle, Lulu, Carmen, The Fiery Angel, Die Soldaten, the list rambles on and on. These pieces show us that there has been a long lineage of reveling in women burning at the stake (I’m talking to you, Fiery Angel), and it never matters if it was deserved or not. Pain of death, or pain of bodily or mental or moral disease is largely the impetus for musical material concerning women. I found myself having to fight the instinct to add a rotten core, to add a moral failing to the sensual music I wrote in this piece, and it disgusted me that I would have been primed to add bruises and disgust to my own body.

In addition to being a composer, you’re also a poet and a singer of Georgian folk music; how do your artistic activities inform each other?

All these things have significantly influenced how I think about performance and what I want to do moving forward. Poetry, classical music, singing, Georgian music—they all share a bedroom in my head. I like to think that my classical music training is the neatest kid in the room, but secretly is really behind on homework. And maybe Georgian music is hilarious but leaves its socks all over the place.

We’re so excited that you are the first woman whose work is being performed by TŌN. According to a survey of the 22 largest American orchestras, women composers accounted for only 1.8 percent of the total pieces performed in the 2014–15 concert season. It’s clear that women are underrepresented on the programs of American orchestras. Are there women whose compositional work has particularly inspired you? What pieces of music do you find particularly influential?

My friend Gabriella Smith has really shown me that I can do anything I want. She’s a rockstar in my book, and one of the strongest musical voices I know. I have loved everything of hers that I have heard.

I feel rough in saying that I don’t have another influential women composer to add to that list, but the pool is so small and the visibility so bad, what can I say?

Your work has been played by several ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the New York ensemble Contemporaneous. What has been significant for you about working with The Orchestra Now on Daughters Concerto?

It’s really special to have this large work done by TŌN and pianist Blair McMillen because it feels like a culmination of five years of life and work here at Bard. Even though TŌN has only been around for a year, it still feels like getting to work with a home team (and at the home stadium).

What are your hopes for your career in music and the arts, and for women in orchestral music?

For myself, I hope to be a part of putting on performances that I would want to go to. What that means is mysterious to me, but at least I know what I have to figure out to go forward.

For women composers who want to write for orchestra, my hope is that they get commissioned. The more women get commissioned the more it even occurs to young girls that being a composer is an option, and the more girls become composers the bigger a pool organizations will have to commission women. Sexism and oppression are subtle, but thankfully the dearth in women’s music on orchestral programs is not hard to rectify (if the problem is recognized as a problem, it should be fairly obvious what to do about it).

It was a source of great pride for me when I realized that my own successes could lead to the future success of others; that my visibility as a minority in the composition field could open the door further so that in future I may not be a minority. That is the dream, and I sincerely hope I can play that part for someone.

 

The Orchestra Now will perform Tamzin Elliott’s Daughters Concerto at the Fisher Center for the Arts on Saturday, April 23 at 8 PM and Sunday, April 24 at 3 PM.

Interview by Angus Davidson. Photo by Dávid A. Nagy.

2016–17 Fisher Center season announced

We’re happy to announce our 2016–17 season of concerts at the Fisher Center at Bard College. In our subscription series, we’ll be performing five concerts filled with outstanding music from all over the world, from the U.S. to Europe to China. Highlights include a suite from Bartók’s once-banned ballet The Miraculous Mandarin, Elgar’s greatly-loved Enigma Variations, and a clarinet concerto by Aaron Copland.

TŌN will also be performing two special events next season. In February, James Bagwell will conduct the orchestra and soloists from Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program in a concert performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. Then in May, Grammy winner Fabio Luisi, principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, will come to the Fisher Center to lead a special Memorial Day-weekend concert.

Click here to see the full season.

New subscriptions and subscription renewals are available now. Single tickets go on sale August 8.

Check back soon for more information on the new season, including concerts at Carnegie Hall, The Met Fifth Avenue, and more!

Photo by Matt Dine

THE ORCHESTRA NOW (TŌN) GIVES A FREE CONCERT IN QUEENS AT THE QUEENSBOROUGH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER AS PART OF ITS AROUND TOWN SERIES FRIDAY, APRIL 29 AT 8 PM

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, April 12, 2016   The Orchestra Now, the innovative new master’s degree program and graduate training orchestra founded by Bard College in 2015, will give a FREE concert in Queens at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center on Friday, April 29 at 8 PM. JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Brevard Music Center, and artistic advisor of the Hawaii Symphony, will lead the ensemble of 37 young graduate musicians from around the world in a program of works by Dvořák, Prokofiev, and Mendelssohn.

The performance is the last of five in TŌN’s Around Town series of free concerts at venues big and small throughout New York City during the Orchestra’s inaugural 2015 – 16 season.

Friday, April 29, 2016 at 8 PM
Around Town: Queensborough Performing Arts Center, Bayside, Queens
The final concert this season of TON’s Around Town series visits composers from three different countries: Czechoslovakia, Russia, and Germany. The evening begins with Antonin Dvořák’s Czech Suite, a five-movement work which, as its name implies, includes several Czech folk dances such as the polka and the slow “sousedska.” Fittingly enough for a Czechoslovakian composer, the 1879 premiere was conducted by a man named (Adolf) Čech. The program will also offer music from another great 20th century composer, Russia’s Sergei Prokofiev. His 2nd violin concerto will be performed by the American violinist and recording artist, Michael Ludwig. Highly praised by the Spanish audience at its 1935 premiere in Madrid, the work begins with a Russian-like melody played by the violin but by the final movement, shifts to a Spanish flair with the use of castanets.  The Orchestra journeys back to the 19th century for the program’s finale with Felix Mendelssohn’s 4th Symphony. The work brings back the element of dance as in the Czech Suite, but this time includes a minuet and touches of the tarantella and saltarello. Though born in Germany, Mendelssohn traveled widely through Europe. Inspired by his joyful visits to Italy, this symphony is often referred to as the “Italian.”

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Michael Ludwig, violin
Dvořák: Czech Suite
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4, “Italian”

FREE Concert: Reserved seat tickets may be booked in advance at www.theorchestranow.org, and will also be available at the venue box office on the day of the concert. Queensborough Performing Arts Center is located at 222-05 56th Ave between Springfield Blvd and Cloverdale Blvd in Queens. Doors open at 7:30 PM.

About The Orchestra Now
Founded in 2015, The Orchestra Now is an innovative training orchestra and master’s degree program at Bard College that is preparing a new generation of musicians to break down barriers between modern audiences and great orchestral music of the past and present. Under the leadership of conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, TŌN mines the wealth of underperformed repertoire, reimagines traditional concert formats, and strives to make the experience of the performers a part of the listeners’ experience. The musicians of TŌN hail from across the U.S. and six other countries: Hungary, Korea, China, Japan, Canada and Venezuela. In addition to a concert series at their home base—the stunning Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College—they perform multiple concerts each season at Carnegie Hall and offer free concerts at venues across the boroughs of New York City. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art they join TŌN’s music director Leon Botstein in the series Sight & Sound as he pairs orchestral works with masterpieces from the museum’s collection. In addition to Mr. Botstein and TŌN’s associate conductor and academic director, James Bagwell, guest conductors in the inaugural season include JoAnn Falletta, Marcelo Lehninger, and Gerard Schwarz. For more information, visit www.theorchestranow.org.

Press contact:
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: pascal@pascalnadon.com

THE ORCHESTRA NOW (TŌN) GIVES TWO CONCERTS AT THE FISHER CENTER AT BARD COLLEGE, Saturday, April 23 At 8 pm & Sunday, April 24 At 3 pm — Program Features Two World Premieres by Bard Students

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, April 5, 2016 Music Director Leon Botstein will conduct The Orchestra Now in a program of Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Ives, and two world premieres by Bard students Tamzin Elliott and Daniel Zlatkin on April 23-24. The concerts conclude the Orchestra’s inaugural performance season in residence at Bard College, designed to offer adventurous programs of familiar and lesser-known works in the incomparable Sosnoff Theater.

Saturday, April 23, 2016 at 8 PM & Sunday, April 24 at 3 PM
The Fisher Center at Bard College, Sosnoff Theater
One of Ives’s most-performed orchestral works, Three Places in New England, begins the program. The piece portrays a unique New England location for each movement including St. Gaudens in Boston Common; Putnam’s Camp at Redding, Connecticut; and Housatonic at Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The distinctly American work inverts the standard three-movement form from fast-slow-fast to Ives’s favored slow-fast-slow. Cellist Xi Yang is featured in the following set of variations for cello and orchestra: Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. The Rococo theme, composed by Tchaikovsky himself, is reminiscent of the Rococo musical period he so admired, which dates back to Mozart’s time around the mid-18th century. Bard students Daniel Zlatkin and Tamzin Elliott will each have their works premiered next. Zlatkin’s composition, Climb, is an elegy that emanates darkness but also contains an underlying essence of glowing ascension through the journey. Elliott’s Daughters Concerto, a feminist work, projects thoughtfulness and sensuality. The program closes with one of Sibelius’s most popular works, his 5th Symphony. The symphony is known for its “swan call,” which listeners will hear first in the horn section. The work was commissioned by the Finnish government for Sibelius’s 50th birthday, an event declared a national holiday in tribute to the composer’s abounding fame.

The Orchestra Now
Leon Botstein
, conductor
Xi Yang, cello
Daniel Zlatkin, composer
Tamzin Elliott, composer
Ives: Three Places in New England
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations
Daniel Zlatkin ’16: Climb (World Premiere)
Tamzin Elliott ’16: Daughters Concerto (World Premiere)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 5​

Tickets: $25–$35. Tickets available by calling the box office at 845-758-7900, in person at the Sosnoff Theater box office, or by visiting the website at www.theorchestranow.org.

About The Orchestra Now
Founded in 2015, The Orchestra Now is an innovative training orchestra and master’s degree program at Bard College that is preparing a new generation of musicians to break down barriers between modern audiences and great orchestral music of the past and present. Under the leadership of conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, TŌN mines the wealth of underperformed repertoire, reimagines traditional concert formats, and strives to make the experience of the performers a part of the listeners’ experience. The musicians of TŌN hail from across the U.S. and six other countries: Hungary, Korea, China, Japan, Canada and Venezuela. In addition to a concert series at their home base—the stunning Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College—they perform multiple concerts each season at Carnegie Hall and offer free concerts at venues across the boroughs of New York City. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art they join TŌN’s Music Director Leon Botstein in the series Sight & Sound as he pairs orchestral works with masterpieces from the museum’s collection. In addition to Mr. Botstein and TŌN’s Associate Conductor and Academic Director, James Bagwell, guest conductors in the inaugural season include JoAnn Falletta, Marcelo Lehninger, and Gerard Schwarz. For more information, visit www.theorchestranow.org.

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein brings a renowned career as both an educator and a conductor to his role as founder of Bard College’s new master’s degree program and Music Director of The Orchestra Now. He has been the President of Bard College since 1975, co-Artistic Director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival since their creation, and Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He also served as the Music Director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2011 and is now Conductor Laureate. Mr. Botstein has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He has received numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry. More info online at LeonBotsteinMusicRoom.com.

Press contacts:
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: pascal@pascalnadon.com

Mark Primoff
Associate Vice President of Communications
Bard College
Phone: 845.758.7412
Email: primoff@bard.edu