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The American Symphony Orchestra Performs at Bard's Fisher Center on Friday, February 5, and Saturday, February 6

All Nine of Beethoven’s Symphonies to be Performed over Two Seasons at the Fisher Center

Eleanor Davis

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. —The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College presents the second concert in the popular American Symphony Orchestra (ASO) series, Friday, February 5, and Saturday, February 6, at 8:00 p.m. Bruckner and Beethoven” features the American Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (“Eroica”) and Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 in D MinorA preconcert talk by Richard Wilson, composer-in-residence with the ASO, begins at 6:45 p.m. Individual tickets are $20, $30, and $35. Call 845-758-7900 or visit the Fisher Center website at to purchase tickets or for further information.

 The winter concert is the second of a two-year survey of all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies presented in sequence. Bard College president Leon Botstein, music director for the American Symphony Orchestra, recently commented, “Engagement with these nine pieces—the most influential and important set of symphonies in the canon—can help each listener orient himself or herself within the world of music, not only back in time to the works of Haydn, Mozart, and Bach, but also forward to the music of the 19th and 20th centuries … These large works provide an unusual mirror by which history is reflected.”

 The series features the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Botstein. Of its performance as the resident orchestra of the Bard Music Festival, the New York Times wrote, “the orchestra, superbly responsive to Mr. Botstein’s driven interpretation, sounded exceptional.”

Beethoven and Shostakovich,” the final concert of the 2009–10 series, is presented on Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24. Featured works are Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60, and Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67; Witold Lutoslawski’s Chantefleurs and Chantefables; and Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 107

About the Performers: 

Leon Botstein, 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 Mr. Botstein’s concerts with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra have been heard in syndication throughout the United States. He is also the founder and co-artistic director of the Bard Music Festival, celebrating its 20th year. Since 1975 he has been president of Bard College in New York.

Guest engagements have included the BBC Philharmonic; Bamberg Symphony; Budapest Festival Orchestra; Düsseldorf Symphony; London Philharmonic; NDR—Hamburg and Hannover; the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; St. Petersburg Philharmonic; and Teatro Real Madrid, among others. In addition to a demanding schedule as a guest conductor, Botstein has also made a number of prestigious recordings of works by Dukas, Chausson, Dohnányi, Liszt, Bruckner, Bartók, Hartmann, Reger, Gliere, and Szymanowski for such labels as Telarc, New World Records, Bridge, Koch, and CPO. With the American Symphony Orchestra 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; a recording of Copland, Sessions, Perle, and Rands; and discs of Dohnányi, Brahms, and Joachim among others. 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. 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.


American Symphony Orchestra 

The American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski. Since 1992, when Leon Botstein became the music director, the American Symphony has pioneered the performance of thematically organized concerts, linking music to the visual arts, literature, politics, and history. In addition, the American Symphony Orchestra performs in a lecture/concert series with audience interaction called Classics Declassified at Peter Norton Symphony Space. It is also the resident orchestra of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where it performs an annual concert series as well as in Bard’s annual SummerScape Festival and the Bard Music Festival. ASO maintains an award-winning music education program, which is presented at numerous high schools through New York, New Jersey, and Long Island.

Among the ASO’s recent recordings are music by Copland, Sessions, Perle, and Rands for New World Records, and music of Ernst von Dohnányi for Bridge Records. Its recording of Richard Strauss’s opera Die ägyptische Helena with Deborah Voigt and of Strauss’s Die Liebe der Danae were made for Telarc. Other recordings with Leon Botstein include Franz Schubert: Orchestrated on the Koch International label, with works by Joachim, Mottl, and Webern, and, on the Vanguard Classics label, Johannes Brahms’s Serenade No. 1 in D major, Op. 11. The ASO inaugurated São Paulo’s new concert hall and has made several tours of Asia and Europe. It has performed with the Peer Gynt Theater Company of Norway in Central Park, and has a long history of appearing in charitable and public benefits for such organizations as Sha’are Zedek Hospital, the Jerusalem Foundation, and PBS.  The ASO has had an illustrious history of music directors and guest conductors. Succeeding Leopold Stokowski, who directed the orchestra from 1962 to 1972, were Kazuyoshi Akiyama (1973–1978), Sergiu Comissiona (1978–1982), Moshe Atzmon and Guiseppe Patane (co-directors 1982–1984), John Mauceri (1985–1987), and Catherine Comet (1990–1992). Notable guest conductors have included Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Aaron Copland, Morton Gould, Aram Khachaturian, James Levine, André Previn, Yehudi Menuhin, James de Preist, Gunther Schuller, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Sir William Walton.

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This event was last updated on 03-16-2010