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Bard Fisher Center Presents "Music Alive! Dynamic Women Making Music From Around the Globe!"

Matinee concert with special appearance by renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw

Image Credit: Courtesy of the artist
Eleanor Davis

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts presents “Music Alive! Dynamic Women Making Music from Around the Globe” on Sunday, October 5 at 3 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater. This exciting program is curated by artistic directors Joan Tower, Grammy Award–winning composer, and Blair McMillen, pianist, and showcases works by female composers performed by more than 30 students from The Bard College Conservatory of Music and the Music Program. There will be a special appearance by Grammy Award–winning soprano Dawn Upshaw. Ticket prices for Conservatory Sundays concerts are by suggested donation: $20 orchestra seats; $15 parterre and first balcony. All ticket sales benefit the Conservatory’s scholarship fund. For ticket information contact the Fisher Center box office at or call 845-758-7900.

The program includes Nocturne for Violin and Piano (“Steeley Pause”) (2006) by Jennifer Higdon; Ethos, for piano and string quartet (2014) by Tania León; Out of the Dark (1998) by Pauline Oliveros; Lohn, for soprano and electronics (1996) by Kaija Saariaho; DNA for Percussion Quintet (2003), by Joan Tower; and Dark Full Ride (2002) by Julia Wolfe.

The series continues with “Conservatory Sundays: Conservatory Orchestra” on Sunday, November 2 at 3 p.m., with music director Leon Botstein conducting. The program includes Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F Major; Max Reger’s Four Tone Poems after Boecklin; and Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor (“Pathétique”).

On Sunday, December 7 at 3 p.m., the Fisher Center is proud to present “Conservatory Sundays Winter Songfest, ” a festive holiday celebration with Dawn Upshaw and students of the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program.

And on Sunday, December 14 at 3 p.m., the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra performs its last Conservatory Sundays concert of 2014 under the baton of Cristian Măcelaru, winner of the 2014 Solti Conducting Award and one of the fast-rising stars of the conducting world. The program includes Paul Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphoses, Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, and Serge Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. 

Ticket prices for all Conservatory Sundays concerts are by suggested donation: $20 orchestra seats; $15 parterre and first balcony. All ticket sales benefit the Conservatory’s scholarship fund. For ticket information contact the Fisher Center box office at or call 845-758-7900.

About the Artists: 

Hailed by the New York Times as “riveting,” “brilliant,” and as “new music’s torchbearer,” Blair McMillen has established himself as one of the most versatile and sought-after pianists today. Recent highlights include the Walter Piston Concertino and Ives Fourth Symphony at Carnegie Hall, numerous performances with the New York Philharmonic and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and more than a dozen performances of John Cage’s magnum opus Sonatas and Interludes. An avid chamber player, he is pianist for the Naumburg Award–winning Da Capo Chamber Players, the six-piano group Grand Band, American Modern Ensemble, and Perspectives Ensemble. Blair is cofounder and codirector of the critically acclaimed Rite of Summer Music Festival, an alt-classical outdoor series held every summer on New York’s Governors Island. He lives in New York City and serves on the music faculty at Bard College. 

Joan Tower is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. During a career spanning more than 50 years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator. Her works have been commissioned by major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, including the Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir quartets; soloists Evelyn Glennie, Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, and John Browning; and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., among others. Tower was the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of 65 orchestras. Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony recorded Made in America in 2008 (along with Tambor and Concerto for Orchestra). The album collected three Grammy awards: Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Best Classical Album, and Best Orchestral Performance. In 1990 she became the first woman to win the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Silver Ladders, a piece she wrote for the St. Louis Symphony, where she was composer-in-residence from 1985 to 1988. Other residencies with orchestras include the Orchestra of St. Luke’s (1997–2007) and the Pittsburgh Symphony (2010–11). She was in residence as the Albany Symphony’s Mentor Composer partner in the 2013–14 season. The Albany and Nashville symphonies will release two recordings on the NAXOS label of her orchestral music. She is currently Asher B. Edelman Professor in the Arts at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972. 

Joining a rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music, soprano Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Dawn Upshaw received the 2014 Best Classical Vocal Solo Grammy for Maria Schneider’s Winter Morning Walks on the ArtistShare Label. Dawn Upshaw holds honorary doctorate degrees from Yale, Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School, Allegheny College, and Illinois Wesleyan University. She began her career as a 1984 winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions and the 1985 Walter W. Naumburg Competition, and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Development Program. 


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September 2014


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This event was last updated on 09-29-2014