The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College

Bard Music Festival
About Us


Fisher Jeanne Donovan Fisher is chair of the Advisory Board of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. As a producer, she heads True Love Productions, bringing a background in business to her passion for theater and film. She spent the early part of her career at Morgan Stanley, where she was a vice president and director of worldwide corporate communications. She then became a partner in the consulting firm Citigate S. V., specializing in strategic communications, marketing, and media relations. Given this experience, she can say with conviction that producing is much more fun. Fisher also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Sundance Institute, BAM, and the Tate Americas Foundation.

Botstein Leon Botstein recently celebrated his 20th year as music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. He is also artistic codirector of the SummerScape and Bard Music festivals, which take place at Bard College’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry. Botstein is also conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 2003 to 2011. He has been president of Bard College since 1975. 

Botstein has 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.

 Highly regarded as a music historian, Leon Botstein’s most recent book is Von Beethoven zu Berg: Das Gedächtnis der Moderne (2013). He is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and the author of numerous articles and books. He is currently working on a book based on his talks given at the prestigious Tanner Lectures in Berkeley, California. For his contributions to music he has received the award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Harvard University’s Centennial Award, as well as the Cross of Honor, First Class, from the government of Austria. In 2009 he received Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award, and in 2011 was inducted into the American Philosophical Society. He is also the 2012 recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society. In 2013, following in the footsteps of Sir John Barbirolli, Otto Klemperer, and others, Botstein received the Bruckner Society’s Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor for his interpretations of that composer’s music.

Pemstein Debra Pemstein is vice president for development and alumni/ae affairs at Bard College. During her tenure, Bard has been able to expand its programs through major capital campaigns that have resulted in the building of new centers for the performing arts (the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry) and sciences (The Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation, designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects).

Pemstein also supervises development activities for all of Bard’s institutes and programs, including the Fisher Center, Bard Music Festival, Bard High School Early College Program, and Center for Curatorial Studies–Hessel Museum, to name but a few.

Pemstein formerly served as director of major gifts and planned giving for New York City Ballet, director of development for Paul Taylor Dance Company, and associate director of development for the New York Philharmonic. In addition she is a college lecturer and has presented papers on fund-raising at national professional conferences. She has served on many boards and advisory committees, including Poughkeepsie Day School; Temple Emanuel, Kingston, New York; and Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, New York City. She is a founding member of Modern Dance Development Directors. She attended the London School of Economics, received her B.B.A. from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is a certified fund-raising executive.

Bursey Bob Bursey is executive director of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. Previously, he was the producing director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, which he joined in 2003. While with Bill T. Jones, he worked on the merger with Dance Theater Workshop to form New York Live Arts in 2011, and directed New York Live Arts’ major new commissioning and residency program. Prior to his work with Bill T. Jones, he toured with Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and managed productions for the American Dance Festival.  On tour, he has managed hundreds of live events in more than three dozen countries. In addition to multidisciplinary stage works, he has overseen films, television specials, site-specific performances, musical recordings, book publications, and gallery installations for performing artists. Exchange between working artists and academic institutions is a focus of Bursey’s work; he has developed artist partnerships, residencies, and teaching programs on campuses across the United States. He has been a guest lecturer at University of Virginia and an artist-in-residence at Hollins University. 
Lester Gideon Lester is Artistic Director for Theater & Dance at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, and Director of the Theater & Performance Program at Bard College. He is also co-curator of Crossing the Line, an annual international arts festival for New York City.

A leading curator of contemporary theater, dance, and performance, Lester has produced and presented performances by pre-eminent contemporary artists from around the world, including Justin Vivian Bond, Romeo Castellucci, Neil Gaiman, John Jasperse, Faustin Linyekula, Ralph Lemon, Krystian Lupa, Peter Sellars, Kaija Saariaho, Anna Deavere Smith, Geoff Sobelle, and Nature Theater of Oklahoma.

Before coming to the Fisher Center and Bard in 2012 he spent 13 years as an artistic director and dramaturg at the American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and directed Harvard University’s graduate program in dramaturgy. He subsequently founded and led the Arts Collaboration Lab at Columbia University’s School of the Arts in association with PS122. 

An accomplished writer for the stage, his translations include plays by Marivaux, Büchner, and Brecht, and his adaptations include Kafka’s Amerika, Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire, and Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita. Lester received his B.A. from Oxford University, and completed his graduate training at Harvard, where he was a Fulbright and Frank Knox Scholar.
Fisher Irene Zedlacher is the executive director of the Bard Music Festival. She is also managing editor of The Musical Quarterly and manager of the Bard Fiction Prize. Her translations of articles, song texts, and libretti have appeared in Schoenberg and His World, Mahler and His World, The Musical Quarterly, the Journal for the Studies of the Decorative Arts, and Along the Royal Road: Berlin and Potsdam in KPM porcelain and painting 1815-1848, among others.

Contact Us

Ticket Services
(Mon–Fri, 10 am – 5 pm)

Kieley Michasiow-Levy, Development Manager

Mark Primoff, Associate Vice President of Communications

General Inquiries
Jeannie Schneider, Business Manager

Bard Music Festival