Press Room

See what they're saying about us.
Main Image for Press Room

Bard’s Fisher Center Presents Richly Programmed Fall Season of Music, Dance, and Theater

Mark Primoff

Highlights Include Merce Cunningham Dance Company Legacy Tour,  A Weekend of Performances by American Ballet Theatre, New Albion Records’s “The Music of Lou Harrison,” Conservatory Sunday Series Featuring Percussion,  American Symphony Orchestra Concerts, and  John Cage’s James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet


ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—This fall the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College presents a series of events featuring world-class dance, music, and theater programs, from September through December. All programs take place in the acoustically superb Sosnoff Theater. Additional program information can be found at Tickets can be ordered online or by calling the box office at 845-758-7900.

The fall season begins the weekend of September 9 with the iconic Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s “Legacy Tour,” September 9–11. On September 18, The Bard College Conservatory of Music kicks off its Conservatory Sundays series with a concert featuring its resident percussion ensemble, the acclaimed Percussion. New Albion Records presents a unique concert of mid-20th-century American music, “The Music of Lou Harrison,” on October 15. The Fisher Center’s orchestra-in-residence, the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein, music director, begins its 2011–2012 series with a program of major orchestral works on October 28 and 29. The incomparable American Ballet Theatre returns to the Fisher Center for four performances, November 4–6. And the John Cage Trust and New Albion Records present James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet, by John Cage, November 11–12.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company Legacy Tour

Friday, September 9 and Saturday, September 10 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, September 11 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $55, 45, 35, 25

“The most historic aspect of 2011 will be the final performances of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company . . .”

—Alastair Macaulay, New York Times

The legendary Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) returns to the Hudson Valley one last time before it disbands at the conclusion of its final world tour in December. MCDC’s engagement at Bard provides an extraordinary opportunity to see Cunningham’s choreography performed by the last dancers he personally trained, in a program that illuminates his groundbreaking collaborations with his life partner, John Cage, and artist Robert Rauschenberg.

The iconic Antic Meet (1958) captures the exuberant spirit that existed between Cunningham, Cage, and Rauschenberg for nearly 60 years. In this comedic work, Rauschenberg’s witty costumes—a fur coat, parachute dresses, and, famously, a chair strapped to Cunningham’s back—come back to life with Cunningham’s vaudeville-like choreography and a playful composition by Cage that makes generous use of multiple forms of notation and different types of music making. Suite for Five (1956–58), in contrast, is one of the modernist trio’s most beautiful works, remarkable for its sustained solos and serene, sculptural quality. The explosive Sounddance (1975) closes the program, with David Tudor’s powerful score in perfect accord with the vigorous, fast-paced dance for the full company.

New Albion Records Presents “The Music of Lou Harrison

Saturday, October 15 at 8 p.m.

Tickets: $45, 35, 25, 15 

Lou Harrison (1917–2003) was an American original. Among other artists of the mid 20th century his work was what is now called “outsider art,” and he lived a life that was clearly outside the halls of the cultural institutions of the day. He developed a singular body of work that was inspired by studies of early music and tunings, world music, and the influence of other musical mavericks, such as Henry Cowell, Charles Ives, and John Cage. Eventually, he began to receive acknowledgement and acceptance from critics and classical audiences through increasing exposure on the stage. At his death he was traveling to the Midwest to attend a festival in his honor. 

The three works on this program offer a generous glimpse of Lou Harrison’s musical world. Solo to Anthony Cirone, dedicated to the eponymous percussionist, is a work for tenor bells that was long lost, then found during a New Albion recording project and realized by William Winant; it has since been performed around the world. Suite for Violin and American Gamelan, written with violinist Richard Dee, incorporates medieval dance rhythms, drones, mesmerizing gamelan patterns, and melodic variations in a series of textures that become progressively richer, bringing the work to a grand and solemn conclusion. Finally, La Koro Sutro, a monumental work for large-scale chorus, gamelan, harp, and organ, presents in one huge bundle many of Harrison’s musical and personal preoccupations: percussion, the avoidance of functional harmony, Buddhism, and universalism (the title of the work is in Esperanto, and the piece was premiered at an international Esperanto conference in 1972). Presented by New Albion Records and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts.

New Albion Records was founded in San Francisco in 1984, to explore the world of art music. Its current catalogue includes 138 releases. In recent years, with the onset of the Internet, its focus has moved from recording projects to concert events. This is New Albion’s fourth such event with the Richard B. Fisher Center at Bard College. New Albion has partnered with the John Cage Trust and Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

American Symphony Orchestra

Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29

Concerts are at 8 p.m.; preconcert talks at 6:45 p.m.

Tickets: $40, 35, 25

This season the Fisher Center’s orchestra-in-residence, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director, performs major orchestral works by Gustav Mahler, Béla Bartók, and Igor Stravinsky (whose life and musical legacy will be the subject of the 2013 Bard Music Festival). Other composers to be featured include Maurice Ravel, Sergey Prokofiev, Witold Lutosławski, Godfrey Winham, and two contemporaries—Howard Shore, whose Mythic Gardens, a concerto for cello and orchestra, will receive its world premiere, and Christopher Brubeck. Featured soloists include Sophie Shao, cello; Jiazhi Wang, violin; Tamas Markovics, trombone; and a soloist from the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program.

The first concert of the 2011–2012 series, on Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29, features Godfrey Winham’s Sonata for Orchestra, and Gustav Mahler’s Rückert Lieder and Symphony No. 1 in D Major (“Titan”). The series continues on February 24 and 25, 2012 with Maurice Ravel’s La valse, Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2, and Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. The program for the final concert of the 2011-2012 season features Witold Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, Christopher Brubeck’s Prague Concerto for Bass Trombone, Howard Shore’s Cello Concerto (world premiere), and Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. Season subscriptions are available. For more information, contact the box office at 845-758-7900.

American Ballet Theatre 

Friday, November 4 and Saturday November 5 at 8 p.m.;
Saturday, November 5 and Sunday, November 6 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $55, 45, 35, 25

“Once in a not too frequent while, there comes along an evening that reminds you why you’re in the theatre in the first place, and why dance is not a luxury or a frill but a necessity of life. Such an evening was American Ballet Theatre.”
The Washington Post

American Ballet Theatre is recognized as one of the great dance companies in the world. Few ballet companies equal ABT for its combination of size, scope, and outreach. Recognized as a living national treasure since its founding in 1940, ABT annually tours the United States, performing for more than 600,000 people, and is the only major cultural institution to do so. It has also made more than 30 international tours to 42 countries as perhaps the most representative American ballet company, and has been sponsored by the State Department of the United States on many of these engagements. On April 27, 2006, by an act of Congress, ABT became America’s National Ballet Company®.

Program One

Duets, Merce Cunningham

Sinatra Suite, Twyla Tharp

The Garden of Villandry, Martha Clarke

In the Upper Room, Twyla Tharp

Friday, November 4 at 8 p.m.


Program Two

The Garden of Villandry, Martha Clarke

Known by Heart, pas de deux, Twyla Tharp

New Ballet, Demis Volpi

Black Tuesday, Paul Taylor

Saturday, November 5 at 2 p.m.


Program Three

Duets, Merce Cunningham

Sinatra Suite, Twyla Tharp

The Garden of Villandry, Martha Clarke

In the Upper Room, Twyla Tharp

Saturday, November 5 at 8 p.m.


Program Four

New Ballet, Demis Volpi

Black Tuesday, Paul Taylor

In the Upper Room, Twyla Tharp

Sunday, November 6 at 2 p.m.

Programs and performances are subject to change.

These performances have been underwritten by the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation.


James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet

Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12 at 8 p.m.

Tickets: $45, 35, 25, 15

John Cage’s James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet* began life as a highly imaginative radio play in 1982, a commission from Klaus Schöning and Cologne’s West German Radio (WDR). Working on the principles of collage, Cage created a cast of unlikely characters— the three title artists, Henry David Thoreau, Buckminster Fuller, Robert Rauschenberg, Brigham Young, and seven others—who are made to speak together, their dialogue comprised of literal quotations, freely adapted historical materials, and lines invented by Cage, set within a score consisting of nearly 200 sounds. The result is a remarkably democratic intermingling of perspectives, suffused throughout with humor and irreverence for the particulars of history.

The present theatrical adaptation is a kind of performed installation, set within a graceful, stair-step stage structure. The entire cast remains essentially in place, while the Narrator alone moves freely about, a charismatic circus ringleader who seems to orchestrate the entire affair. The piece is performed without pause, lasting approximately 75 minutes. This production of James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet celebrates the onset of John Cage’s centennial year, the first of many events scheduled to take place around the world. It also celebrates the fourth year of the John Cage Trust’s residence at Bard College. The program is produced by the John Cage Trust and New Albion Records, and directed by Laura Kuhn, with music and sound design by Mikel Rouse, and set deign by Marco Steinberg.

*This work, in its original, unscripted form, was first published in John Cage, X: Writings ’79-’82 (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press 1983), pp 53-101.

Conservatory Sundays Series

A series of delightful concerts performed by the talented students of The Bard College Conservatory of Music, with faculty and special guests.

Sunday, September 18 at 3 p.m.


The Conservatory’s resident percussion ensemble in concert. Since 1999, Sō Percussion has been creating music that explores all the extremes of emotion and musical possibility.  Called an “experimental powerhouse” by the Village Voice, “astonishing and entrancing” by Billboard Magazine, and “brilliant” by the New York Times, the Brooklyn-based quartet’s innovative work with today’s most exciting composers and their own original music has quickly helped them forge a unique and diverse career.

Sunday, October 16 at 3 p.m.

Faculty/Student Chamber Concert

A concert of chamber works performed by the students and faculty of The Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Sunday, October 23 at 8 p.m.

Conservatory Orchestra

With guest conductor Rossen Milanov and guest artist Jeffrey Lang, horn. Works include Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune; Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4; Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

Sunday, December 4 at 3 p.m.

Conservatory Orchestra

With music director Leon Botstein and Jeremy Denk, piano. Works include Stravinsky’s Fireworks; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3; Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.

For more information go to, or call the box office
at 845-758-7900.

To download high-resolution press photos go to

# # #

August 3, 2011


back to top



This event was last updated on 09-08-2011