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Leon Botstein Conducts Conservatory Chamber Orchestra on February 16 at Fisher Center

Emily M. Darrow
Free Program in the Acoustically Superb Fisher Center Features Soloists Violinist Erica Kiesewetter, Cellist Robert Martin, and Pianist Blair McMillen

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Leon Botstein leads the Conservatory Chamber Orchestra in a concert in the acoustically superb Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, February 16, at 8:00 p.m. The program is free and open to the public and is presented by The Bard College Conservatory of Music in conjunction with the two-and-a-half-day reunion of Hungarian freedom fighters and the conference, “The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and After: Impact and Contributions.”

The program features Ludwig van Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Op. 84, is considered a symbolic anthem for the Hungarian’s struggle for freedom during the Revolution of 1956; Bohuslav Martinů’s Piano Trio and String Orchestra Concertino with violinist Erica Kiesewetter, cellist Robert Martin, and pianist Blair McMillen; Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8; and Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 2.

“The superb performance of these musicians with their fabulous technique and music-making from the heart made one think that the past is now yielding to a new fresh beauty of its own,” says John Paul Keeler, writing of an earlier performance of the Conservatory Chamber Orchestra. “I believe Beethoven himself would applaud their performance.”

For further information about the concert, call the Fisher Center Box Office at 845-758-7900 or visit
About the Artists:

Conductor Leon Botstein is music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the radio orchestra of Israel. Radio broadcasts of some of Botstein’s concerts with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra may be heard in syndication throughout the United States. He is also the founder and coartistic director of the Bard Music Festival. Highlights for the upcoming season include guest engagements with NDR-Hamburg, the Capetown Philharmonic, and a gala event with the BBC Symphony at the Royal Albert Hall with a live telecast and recording. In addition, this season Botstein will record Bruno Walter’s Symphony No. 1 and Paul Dukas’s opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue, which he conducted last season at New York City Opera. Last season Botstein conducted Die ägyptische Helena with Deborah Voigt in Madrid and made appearances with the Düsseldorf Symphony. He also led a triumphant monthlong North American tour with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. His recording with the London Symphony Orchestra of Gavriil Popov’s epic Symphony No. 1 and Shostakovich’s Theme and Variations, Op. 3, received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Orchestral Performance. Another recording, Chausson’s opera Le roi Arthus with the BBC Symphony for Telarc, has been released to rave reviews. Other acclaimed recordings include two discs with the American Symphony Orchestra: music by Copland, Sessions, Perle, and Rands for New World Records, and music by Ernst von Dohnányi for Bridge Records. Botstein has also conducted on a prestigious series of recordings for Telarc, which includes Liszt’s Dante Symphony and Tasso; Glière’s Symphony No. 3, “Ilya Murometz” (all with the London Symphony); Max Reger’s Böcklin Tone Poems and Romantic Suite; Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra; music of Karol Szymanowski; symphonies of Karl Amadeus Hartmann; Dohnányi’s D-minor Symphony; and Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony in the Schalk edition (all with the London Philharmonic). With the American Symphony Orchestra and also for Telarc, he has recorded live performances of two operas by Richard Strauss: Die ägyptische Helena with Deborah Voigt and Die Liebe der Danae with Lauren Flanigan. Botstein’s extensive discography also includes works by Brahms, Schubert, Bruch, and Mendelssohn. He is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and the author of numerous articles and books. In 2004 he addressed the United Nations on “Why Music Matters” as part of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s lecture series. For his contributions to music he has received the award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Harvard University’s prestigious Centennial Award, as well as the Cross of Honor, First Class from the government of Austria. Since 1975 he has been president of Bard College, where he is also Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities.

Violinist Erica Kiesewetter is the concertmaster of the American Symphony Orchestra, Stamford Symphony, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Opera Orchestra of New York, Long Island Philharmonic, and New York Pops with Skitch Henderson. An avid chamber musician, she is the former first violinist of the Colorado and Dakota Quartets and for 14 years was the violinist of the Leonardo Trio. Her summers are spent at the OK Mozart and Bard Music Festivals. Kiesewetter was educated at the Juilliard School and now teaches at Columbia University, where she is the violinist of the newly formed Columbia Synfonietta.

Cellist Robert Martin, “offers a polished, vital music-making in an imaginatively conceived program,” according to the Los Angeles Times. He is artistic codirector of the Bard Music Festival, vice president for academic affairs at Bard College, and director of The Bard College Conservatory of Music. After receiving his doctorate in philosophy, he pursued a dual career in music and philosophy, holding joint appointments at SUNY Buffalo and Rutgers University. Before coming to Bard, he was assistant dean of humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was cellist of the Sequoia String Quartet from 1975 to 1985, during which time the ensemble made many recordings and toured internationally. Martin studied cello at the Curtis Institute of Music with Leonard Rose and Orlando Cole, and studied liberal arts at Haverford College. He made his New York recital debut, with pianist Richard Goode, in the Young Concert Artist Series. During his doctoral studies in philosophy at Yale University, he was the principal cellist of the New Haven Symphony and cellist of the Group for Contemporary Music, then at Columbia University.

Pianist Blair McMillen leads a varied life as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Hailed by the New York Times as “lustrous,” “riveting,” and “a prodigiously accomplished and exciting artist,” he has appeared at Alice Tully Hall, was soloist on a tour of Japan with the Juilliard Orchestra, and gave a much-heralded New York debut recital in 1998. As a collaborator, he has appeared with tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, Eos Orchestra, New York Woodwind Quintet, Locrian Chamber Players, Avian Orchestra, and New Juilliard Ensemble. Equally at home in both new and traditional repertoire, McMillen is a founding member of the composer/performer collective counter)induction, which holds a residency at Columbia University and was a featured ensemble at the 2004 MATA (Music at the Anthology) Festival. Recent engagements include concerto appearances with the American Ballet Theater and a solo recital juxtaposing the music of Giacinto Scelsi and Luciano Berio for the Piano Revolution series at Columbia’s Miller Theatre. A past winner of the Sony ES Career Grant, the Juilliard Gina Bachauer Scholarship, and the National Young Artists Competition, McMillen holds degrees from Oberlin College and the Juilliard School. He has recorded for BMG/Catalyst, Koch International, CRI, Albany, and New World. After frequent guest appearances with the Da Capo Chamber Players, he became a member of the group in the fall of 2003.

About the Bard College Conservatory of Music

Building on its distinguished history in the arts and education, Bard College has launched The Bard College Conservatory of Music, which welcomed its first class in August 2005. This innovative, double-degree program is guided by the principle that musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. While training and studying for the bachelor of music degree with world-class musicians and teachers and performing in state-of-the art facilities, such as the new Frank Gehry–designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Conservatory students also pursue a bachelor of arts degree at Bard, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges.

Conservatory faculty include violinists Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, Soovin Kim, Weigang Li, Laurie Smukler, and Arnold Steinhardt; violists Steven Tenenbom, Michael Tree, and Ira Weller; cellists Sophie Shao and Peter Wiley; double bassist Marji Danilow; pianists Melvin Chen, Jeremy Denk, Peter Serkin, and piano master classes with Richard Goode; oboists Laura Ahlbeck and Richard Dallessio; flutists Tara Helen O’Connor and Nadine Asin; clarinetists Laura Flax and David Krakauer; bassoonist Marc Goldberg; horn players Julie Landsman and Jeffrey Lang; trombonist John Rojak; trumpeter Mark Gould; and tuba player Alan Baer. The Conservatory Composition Program is directed by Joan Tower and George Tsontakis. The Colorado Quartet and Da Capo Chamber Players are in residence. Members and principals of the American Symphony Orchestra are also available for instruction, coaching, and leading of sectional rehearsals of the Conservatory Orchestra. In addition, the resources and faculty of the Bard College Music Program are available to students of the conservatory.

The Conservatory also includes the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts, directed by Dawn Upshaw, and The Conductors Institute and its graduate program in conducting, directed by Harold Farberman.

For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or log onto the program’s website,

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This event was last updated on 02-17-2007