Cathedral of Sound

The Millbrook Independent

“The Orchestra Now concert at Sosnoff Theater was well-rehearsed in their opening concert for this season with Leon Botstein at the helm. They began with Aaron Copland’s witty and delightful Clarinet Concerto wonderfully performed by Viktor Toth on clarinet. Toth brought out a golden high tone with fast fingering.

Anton Bruckner’s long Fifth Symphony, an hour longer than the Copland, comprised the second half of the concert. Commentators have called this Bruckner’s great organ piece and the brass loves this piece as they have the opportunity of nearly drowning out the strings, reducing them at times to supporting background. And that horn section did let loose. In the last fugal movement Bruckner competes with the ghost of Bach and the orchestration is a vaulting pyramid of sound. Many have compared the work to an enormous cathedral. The last movement supplies a crowning spire that does something special to the neurons in the brain. This remains one of the great musical highs and I’m happy to report that the orchestra appeared to even excel Botstein’s highest hopes.” – Kevin T. McEneaney

Photo by Matt Dine


Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, September 15, 2016 – The Orchestra Now (TŌN), the pre-professional orchestra and master’s degree program founded in 2015 by Bard College and conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, will open its fall season in New York City with the first of its three-concert Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on October 16. TŌN will also begin its expanded season in residence at Bard College’s Fisher Center with three fall programs from September 24 to November 20. Now in its second year, the success of the TŌN program has led to the enrollment of 40 exceptional new graduate musicians from eleven different countries—chosen from hundreds of applicants—for a grand total of 70 participants in the 2016 – 17 season. All undertake the three-year Master of Music Degree Program in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies, surrounded by the intellectual atmosphere of a liberal arts college that encompasses one of the most progressive classical music centers in America.

Details of the Orchestra’s additional fall performances and full season are available here.

TŌN begins its three-concert Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art with Hindemith & Beckmann: Expressionism and Exile, presented in conjunction with the exhibition Max Beckmann in New York, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Oct. 19, 2016 – Feb 20, 2017. Sight & Sound presents conductor and music historian Leon Botstein and the Orchestra in an exploration of the places where musical and visual expression meet, pairing orchestral works with masterpieces from The Met’s collection.  All events in this series include a discussion illustrated with on-screen artworks and orchestral excerpts, a full performance of the selected music, and an audience Q&A.

Hindemith & Beckmann: Expressionism and Exile
Sun. Oct 16, 2016 at 2 pm
Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler Symphony
and the Artwork of Max Beckmann

Hindemith composed this symphony in 1934 during the early stages of work on an opera by the same name.  It centers on the Medieval artist Matthias Grünewald, whose famous altarpiece Max Beckmann greatly admired. Both Hindemith and Beckmann ran afoul of the Nazi regime as artists and emigrated to the U.S. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Max Beckmann in New York, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Oct. 19, 2016 – Feb 20, 2017.

The next Sight & Sound concert will be Brahms, Menzel & Klinger: The Canvas of Sound on Sun. Jan 29, 2017 at 2 pm.

Ticket prices begin at $30 and may be purchased online at; call 212-535-7710 for more information.

The TŌN fall season opens in residence with three concert programs at Bard College’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, beginning with Copland & Bruckner on September 24 and continuing with Elgar’s Enigma Variations on October 29 – 30 and Cai Conducts Rachmaninoff on November 19 – 20. The Orchestra will be led by music director Leon Bostein with guest conductors Harold Farberman, founder and director of Bard’s acclaimed Conductors Institute; and Jindong Cai, the award-winning holder of Stanford’s Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies Chair.  Featured soloists will be Bard College Conservatory of Music concerto competition winners John Belk, cello, and Viktor Toth, clarinet.

Copland & Bruckner
Sat. Sep 24, 2016 at 8 pm
Sun. Sep 25, 2016 at 2 pm
Leon Botstein, conductor
Viktor Toth, clarinet
Copland: Clarinet Concerto
Bruckner: Symphony No. 5

Elgar’s Enigma Variations
Sat. Oct 29, 2016 at 8 pm
Sun. Oct 30, 2016 at 2 pm
Leon Botstein, conductor
John Belk
, cello
Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
Mahler: Adagio from Symphony No. 10 (Harold Farberman, conductor)
William Walton: Cello Concerto
Elgar: Enigma Variations

Cai Conducts Rachmaninoff
Sat. Nov 19, 2016 at 8 pm
Sun. Nov 20, 2016 at 2 pm
Jindong Cai
, conductor
Guohui Ye: Drinking Wine by the Stream’s Choice
Xiaogang Ye: Scent of the Green Mango
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

The Fisher Center series continues with Federico Cortese Conducts Debussy on February 4 – 5, 2017, the first of four more concert programs at Bard.

Ticket prices begin at $25 and may be purchased by calling the box office at 845-758-7900, in person at the Fisher Center box office, or by visiting the website at

The Orchestra Now
Founded in 2015, The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is an innovative pre-professional 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. At a TŌN concert, musicians and audience inspire one another, each following their curiosity with a shared sense of adventure.

The musicians of TŌN hail from across the U.S. and eleven other countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Spain, Taiwan and Venezuela. In addition to a concert series at their home base—the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College—they perform multiple concerts each season at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and offer complimentary concerts at venues across the boroughs of New York City in the Around Town series. At The Metropolitan Museum of Art they join Leon Botstein in the series Sight & Sound as he explores the places where musical and visual expression meet, pairing 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 first two seasons include Fabio Luisi, Gerard Schwarz, and JoAnn Falletta.

For more information, 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 codirector 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 2003–2011, and is now conductor laureate. In 2018 he will assume artistic directorship of the institute of Grafenegg, 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 the 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

Mark Primoff
Associate Vice President of Communications
Bard College
Phone: 845.758.7412

Set the TŌN!

Note: This event occurred on October 13, 2016.

Join Leon Botstein, Bridget Kibbey, and members of The Orchestra Now to celebrate TŌN’s first anniversary!

Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 6:30 PM
City Winery
155 Varick Street in New York City

Cocktails & Dinner, with chamber performances by TŌN musicians and harpist Bridget Kibbey.


For more information, contact Nicole M. de Jesús at 646.237.5022 or

Seating for this event is limited. Please reply by October 5.

Michael Dorf, JoAnn Falletta, Piers Lane,
Maury Newburger, and Felicitas S. Thorne

Season 2 Tickets Now On Sale!

Grab the best seats before they’re gone! Tickets are now on sale for TŌN’s Season 2 concerts at the following venues:

FISHER CENTER at Bard College
Highlights include Elgar‘s Enigma variationsBartók‘s Miraculous Mandarin, a semi-staged concert performance of Bernstein‘s Candide, and a special Memorial Day-weekend concert led by Fabio Luisi.

In December, music by Russian composers (including Prokofiev) whose works were denounced in the 1948 Zhdanov decree. And in March, two orchestral suites by Respighi and a one-act opera-in-concert, Susanna’s Secret.

Conductor and musical historian Leon Botstein and the orchestra explore the places where musical and visual expression meet, pairing orchestral works with masterpieces from The Met’s collection. Includes a discussion, performance, and Q&A.

ROSE THEATER at Jazz at Lincoln Center
In November, an all-American concert featuring works by Bernstein & Copland, including the latter’s Appalachian Spring Suite. In May, Oleg Caetani leads a program of works by Schoenberg, Schubert, and Shostakovich.

James Bagwell leads a concert that includes Bernard Herrmann‘s Prelude from North by Northwest and Philip Glass‘ Symphony No. 1, Low, based on David Bowie’s album of the same name.

We’ll see you at a concert soon!

Photo by Jito Lee