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Guillermo Figueroa Leads the Conservatory Chamber Orchestra

Featured Soloist is Violinist Weigang Li of the Shanghai Quartet in Free Concert Featuring Works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Tcahikovsky

Emily Darrow

The Bard College Conservatory of Music Presents This Free Concert in Conjunction with the Opening of the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—In conjunction with the celebration of the opening of the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation, the Bard College Conservatory of Music presents a free concert with the Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Guillermo Figueroa, on Sunday, September 23. The featured soloist for the concert, which begins at 3:00 p.m. in Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, is violinist Weigang Li of the Shanghai Quartet. No reservations are necessary for the concert; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information, call the box office at 845-758-7900 or visit


The Conservatory Chamber Orchestra performs Mendelssohn’s Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21; Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216, with violinist Weigang Li; and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64.


Beginning his seventh season as music director of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (NMSO) in 2007–08, Guillermo Figueroa completed his sixth and final season as music director of the Puerto Rico Symphony in 2006–07; he now serves as that orchestra’s principal guest conductor. His intense, passionate musicianship and elegant and precise technique have earned him critical acclaim and international recognition, and elevated both organizations to the higher ranks of American orchestras. As a guest conductor he has appeared with the symphony orchestras of New Jersey, Memphis, Phoenix, Toledo, Tucson, Iceland, Colorado, El Salvador, Xalapa (Mexico), Gdansk (Poland), and Santa Fe; Juilliard Orchestra; and New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. Figueroa has collaborated with many of the leading artists of our time, including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Hilary Hahn, Placido Domingo, Olga Kern, Janos Starker, James Galway, Midori, Horacio Gutierrez, Ben Hepner, Rachel Barton Pine, Pepe Romero, Elmar Oliveira, Ruth Laredo, Gary Graffman, Vladimir Feltsman, Barry Douglas, Jennifer Larmore, Michelle De Young, and Salvatore Licitra. A Berlioz specialist, he created the most comprehensive Berlioz Festival in the United States in 2003 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of that composer’s birth.


Also a renowned violinist, Figueroa served as founding member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, which he has served as concertmaster and soloist in performances throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, and made over 50 recordings for Deutsche Grammophon. In 1995 he gave the world premiere, at Carnegie Hall, of Concertino for violin and orchestra by Mario Davidovsky, written for him and Orpheus. For 10 years he was concertmaster of the New York City Ballet, appearing in over 100 performances of violin concerti by Barber, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Berg, Adams, Glass, Bach, and Brahms. In the 2006–07 season he performed with the American Symphony Orchestra at Lincoln Center, in the world premiere of a violin concerto also written for him by composer Harold Farberman. He and his violinist wife, Valerie Turner, are the founders and artistic directors of the highly acclaimed Festival de Musica Rondena chamber series in Albuquerque. As part of Puerto Rico’s most distinguished musical family, he has appeared with the Figueroa Chamber Ensemble at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Figueroa studied with his father and uncle at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. At The Juilliard School his teachers were Oscar Shumsky and Felix Galimir. His conducing studies were with Harold Farberman in New York. He has served on the faculty of the Conductors Institute at Bard College.


A native of Shanghai, Weigang Li has been a featured soloist with the Asian Youth Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and BBC Scottish Symphony. Li began studying the violin with his parents at the age of five and went on to attend the Shanghai Conservatory at age 14. He came to the United States in 1981 to study at the San Francisco Conservatory through an exchange program between the sister cities of San Francisco and Shanghai. Upon graduation from the Shanghai Conservatory in 1985, Li was appointed assistant professor of violin at the school. Shortly thereafter he left China to continue his education at Northern Illinois University. From 1987–89, Li studied and taught at The Juilliard School as teaching assistant to the Juilliard Quartet. His other teachers have included Shmuel Ashkenasi, Pierre Menard, Shu-Chen Tan, and Isadore Tinkleman. Li was featured in the film From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China. Weigang Li is a faculty member of The Bard College Conservatory of Music.

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Conservatory Chamber Orchestra

Photo: Karl Rabe

Guillermo Figueroa

Photo: Kim Jew

Guillermo Figueroa

Photo:  Erin Lubi

Weigang Li

Photo: Montclair State University


The popular Conservatory Concerts and Lectures series, presented by The Bard College Conservatory of Music, continues with additional performances and master classes with faculty members and students of the Conservatory, as well as visiting orchestras and artists throughout the semester. All programs are free and open to the public. Information about these programs is available at


Two master classes of note take place in September: pianist Alexander Tamir’s is offered on Wednesday, September 26, at 4:00 p.m. in Olin Hall; and on Thursday, September 27, harpsichordist, pianist, and musicologist Raymond Erickson presents a workshop, “Bach and the Dance,” in Blum Hall at Avery Arts Center at 7:00 p.m.


On Thursday, October 4, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall, the Conservatory presents a faculty recital by clarinetist Laura Flax and guest artist and flutist Bart Feller. Flax is the principal clarinetist of both the New York City Opera and American Symphony Orchestra. She also performs regularly with the New York Philharmonic and has been a member of the San Diego and San Francisco Symphonies. Flax has premiered works by Elliott Carter, Philip Glass, Shulamit Ran, and Joan Tower, among other composers. In addition to serving on the faculty of the Conservatory, she is also on the faculty of The Juilliard School, and gives master classes and recitals throughout the United States. Feller is principal flute of the New York City Opera and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Bargemusic, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Feller has appeared as concerto soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Jupiter Symphony.


The Hungarian Brass Quintet presents a recital on Thursday, October 11, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall.


The recital “Arias & Bacarolles,” performed by students of the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts, is offered on Wednesday, October 17, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall.


The Conservatory presents the Seoul Arts High School Orchestra, conducted by Nanse Gum, on Wednesday, October 24, at 8:00 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater of the Fisher Center.

A performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor by the Mannes College Orchestra, conducted by David Hayes, is presented on Saturday, November 3, at 8:00 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater of the Fisher Center.


On Wednesday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Bard Hall, the Conservatory and the Music Program at Bard present “Music Alive!” The program, hosted by Joan Tower, features more than 15 musicians performing works by Copland, Schnittke, Tower, and Tsontakis, as well as a premiere by Conservatory composition student Conor Brown.


The preliminary round of the Bard Conservatory Concerto Competition is held on Sunday, November 18, at 10:00 a.m. in Olin Hall, followed by the final round on Monday, November 19, at 7:00 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater of the Fisher Center.


The Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Melvin Chen, performs on Sunday, December 16, at 3:00 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater of the Fisher Center.


Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. All programs are subject to change. For further information call the Conservatory at 845-758-7196, e-mail, or visit


About The Bard College Conservatory of Music


Building on its distinguished history in the arts and education, Bard College 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. Robert Martin serves as director of the Conservatory; Melvin Chen as associate director.


Conservatory faculty include violinists Eugene Drucker, Yi-Wen Jiang, Ani Kavafian (master classes), 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, and Peter Serkin; oboists Laura Ahlbeck and Richard Dallessio; flutists Nadine Asin (master classes) and Tara Helen O’Connor; 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 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 09-25-2007