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Leon Botstein Conducts the Conservatory Orchestra at the Fisher Center on March 1

Emily Darrow


Program Features Conservatory Concerto Competition Winner Soprano Rachel Schutz Performing Strauss’s Brentano Lieder

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard College Conservatory of Music presents a free concert with the Conservatory Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, on Saturday, March 1. The featured soloist for the concert, which begins at 8:00 p.m. in Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, is Conservatory Concerto Competition winner soprano Rachel Schutz. 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 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,” Register Star music critic John Paul Keeler wrote of an earlier performance of the Conservatory Orchestra. “I believe Beethoven himself would applaud their performance.”

The March 1 program includes Haydn’s Symphony No. 101; Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4; and, with soprano Schutz, Strauss’s “Wiegenlied” as well as his Brentano Lieder: “Ich wollt ein Sträusslein binden,” “Säusle, liebe Myrthe,” “Als mir dein Lied erklang,” and “Amor.”

Rachel Schutz, the critically acclaimed Welsh soprano, is increasingly in demand throughout the United States and Europe with her “diamantine high notes… and giddy delirious coloratura” (Richard Dyer, Boston Globe). After beginning her professional career at age 12 premiering John Hardy’s The Roswell Incident with Music Theatre Wales, she has performed with the Boston Pops, Santa Fe Opera, both of Stony Brook University’s orchestras, and Bard Orchestra. Schutz is comfortable with a wide range of repertoire, from Bach to Bernstein and Babbitt, and has seen success in venues from opera to lied recitals. In 2004, she made her Stony Brook Opera debut as Flora in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. The following year she played Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and sang Bach’s Cantata No. 51 with the Stony Brook University Orchestra after winning their concerto competition. In 2006, she made her much-acclaimed orchestral debut at Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops Orchestra singing, most notably, Bernstein’s “Glitter and Be Gay” from Candide. This past summer she was an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera where, in addition to her duties as an understudy in Daphne, she performed scenes from Mozart’s Zaide and Le Nozze di Figaro. Previously, she spent two summers at Tanglewood working with Phyllis Curtin, Dawn Upshaw, and James Levine. Schutz will sing the role of St. Settlement in the first-fully staged abridged, one-act version of Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts, one of two one-act operas presented by the Conservatory’s Graduate Program in Vocal Arts at the Fisher Center on March 21 and 22. She is currently a student of Patricia Misslin at Bard College, and previously worked with Elaine Bonazzi at Stony Brook University.

Leon Botstein, who directs the Conservatory’s Orchestral Studies Program, is music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the radio orchestra of Israel. Radio broadcasts 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.

This season includes the release of a recording of Paul Dukas’s opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue, recorded for Telarc with the BBC Symphony (and conducted in 2005 by Botstein at New York City Opera). Also soon to be released is Bruno Walter’s Symphony No. 1 with NDR–Hamburg. Botstein recently conducted the BBC Symphony in a gala concert on Armistice Day at the Royal Albert Hall, of which a live recording will soon be released. In 2008 he will lead the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in another U.S. tour, this time of the West Coast.

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, was released to rave reviews. Other acclaimed recordings include two discs: music by Copland, Sessions, Perle, and Rands for New World Records; and music by Ernst von Dohnányi for Bridge Records, both with the American Symphony Orchestra. Botstein has also conducted the London Symphony on a prestigious series of recordings for Telarc, which includes Liszt’s Dante Symphony and Tasso; Glière’s Symphony No. 3, “Il’ya Murometz”; and with the London Philharmonic, 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.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, both of which received critical acclaim.

Botstein is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and the author of numerous articles and books. 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. He was invited by former Secretary General Kofi Annan to address the United Nations on the topic “Why Music Matters.” Since 1975 he has been president of Bard College.


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 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, Richard Goode (master classes), 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 visit

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2008