The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College - Photo by Peter Aaron/Esto

The American Symphony Orchestra at Bard’s Fisher Center

by Editorial Staff

The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College presents the American Symphony Orchestra on Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12, at 8 p.m.

The program includes Johann Strauss Jr.’s Emperor Waltz, Accelerations, and  On the Beautiful Blue Danube; Julius Conus’s Violin Concerto, featuring Zhi Ma ’15, violin; and Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 2. The concert will be conducted by Leon Botstein, music director. There will be a special pre-​​concert talk by Alexander Bonus, assistant professor of music at Bard College, beginning at 7 p.m.

About the performers

Leon Botstein with the American Symphony Orchestra

Leon Botstein with the American Symphony Orchestra — photo by Stephanie Berger

Recognized as much for his visionary zeal as his performances, championing masterpieces unfairly ignored by history and creating concert programs that engage the head as well as the heart, Leon Botstein recently celebrated his 20th year as music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. He is also artistic co-​​director of the SummerScape and Bard Music festivals, which take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry. He is also conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 2003-​​11.

Botstein has been president of Bard College since 1975. He leads an active schedule as a guest conductor all over the world, and can be heard on many recordings with the London Symphony (their recording of Popov’s First Symphony was nominated for a Grammy), the London Philharmonic, NDR-​​Hamburg, and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Many of his live performances with the American Symphony Orchestra are available for download online. The Los Angeles Times called 2013’s Los Angeles Philharmonic performance under Botstein “the all-​​around most compelling performance of anything I’ve heard all summer at the Bowl.” Last season he also conducted the Sinfónica Juvenil de Caracas in Venezuela and Japan, the first non-​​Venezuelan conductor invited by El Sistema to conduct on a tour.

Soloist - Zhi Ma '15 - photo by Xiaobo Su

Soloist — Zhi Ma ’15 — photo by Xiaobo Su

Zhi Ma ’15, violin, is a fourth-​​year student at The Bard College Conservatory of Music, where she studies violin in the studio of Laurie Smukler. She was born in Jilin, China, in 1991, and began to study the violin at the age of 7. In 2002 she entered the music school attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she was awarded first place in the entrance examination. She was designated as “outstanding major” multiple times during her studies in Beijing. Ma participated in the Kneisel Hall chamber music festival in Maine in 2013; that same year she was one of the winners of the Bard Conservatory’s Concerto Competition. She is also pursuing a B.A. degree and majoring in German studies.

The American Symphony Orchestra - Leon Botstein, Music Director - photo by Stephanie Berger

The American Symphony Orchestra — Leon Botstein, Music Director — photo by Stephanie Berger

Founded in 1962 by legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski, the American Symphony Orchestra continues its mission to demystify orchestral music and make it accessible and affordable to everyone. Under music director Leon Botstein, the ASO has pioneered what the Wall Street Journal called “a new concept in orchestras,” presenting concerts in the Vanguard Series at Carnegie Hall curated around various themes from the visual arts, literature, politics, and history, and unearthing rarely performed masterworks for well-​​deserved revival. The ASO appears at The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in a winter subscription series as well as at Bard’s annual SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival.

About the Fisher Center

Named for the late Richard B. Fisher, the former chair of Bard’s Board of Trustees, the Fisher Center has become an influential force in performing arts programming, earning critical acclaim for innovative productions of opera, orchestral, chamber, dance, and theater programs. The Center was designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry and distinguished acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, and has received international praise for its breathtaking architecture and superb sound.

Each summer the Fisher Center presents the Bard SummerScape festival, eight weeks of performing arts programs reflecting the life and times of the featured composer of the esteemed Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its 25th year. Fall and spring seasons include original productions, special one-​​night-​​only concerts, and touring artists from around the globe. The Fisher Center is home to the Bard College Theater & Performance and Dance Programs, providing students access to exceptional theater facilities and opportunities to work with professional directors and dramaturges on publicly attended productions throughout the year. Live Arts Bard, a residency and commissioning program, is a laboratory for professional artists in theater, dance, and performance to test ideas and develop new projects, many of which première at the Fisher Center. The Bard College Conservatory of Music and the Bard College Music Program stage regular orchestral and chamber concerts.

The featured image above is of the Fisher Center -
photo credit: Peter Aaron/​Esto

Individual tickets are $25, $30, $35, and $40.
Call 845 – 758-​​7900 or visit:  fishercenter​.bard​.edu
to purchase tickets or for further information. Season subscriptions are available.

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