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The Orchestra Now Opens 2015-16 Season at Bard College with Two Fall Programs in October and November


Mark Primoff

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, September 30, 2015 The Orchestra Now (TŌN), an innovative master’s degree program and training orchestra founded by Bard College, will launch its inaugural performance season at Bard College’s Fisher Center with two fall programs in October and November. Bard President and TŌN Conductor Leon Botstein will lead the Orchestra of 37 young graduate musicians from around the world and cellist Rylan Gajek in the opening concerts on October 24 and 25; Associate Conductor James Bagwell will take the podium for the second program on November 14 and 15. The Orchestra’s series at Bard will continue with two more concert programs in February and April, 2016, and TŌN will also perform in different series in New York City including Carnegie Hall.  

Under the leadership of conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, TŌN aims to break down the barriers between modern audiences and great orchestral music of the past and present. Distinctively suited to that goal, Bard offers TŌN participants an exceptional opportunity to receive graduate orchestral training within the intellectual atmosphere of a liberal arts college close to the most important classical music center in America. 

Sat., Oct 24, 2015 at 8 PM & Sun., Oct 25, 2015 at 3 PM

The Orchestra Now debuts in residence at the Bard College Fisher Center in a program offering Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, a joyful work that shows no signs of the composer’s struggles with hearing loss; the U.S. premiere of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Cello Concerto, featuring 22 year-old Canadian cellist Rylan Gajek; and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, containing many of the revolutionary melodies from Russia’s 1905 Bloody Sunday.

The Orchestra Now
Leon Botstein
, conductor

Rylan Gajek, Cello
Beethoven: Symphony No. 2
Weinberg: Cello Concerto
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11

Sat., Nov 14, 2015 at 8 PM & Sun., Nov 15, 2015 at 3 PM

Associate Conductor and Academic Director James Bagwell will lead the second concert in the fall series, featuring Mendelssohn’s charming Ruy Blas Overture, a work he composed in only two days; Stravinsky’s driven Symphony in C; and one of Dvořák’s most joyful works, his Symphony No. 8, inspired by Bohemian folk music. 

The Orchestra Now

James Bagwell, conductor

Mendelssohn: Ruy Blas Overture

Stravinsky: Symphony in C

Dvořák: Symphony No. 8


Tickets: $25–$35; three concerts $75; four concerts $95. Tickets available by calling the box office at 845-758-7900, in person at the Sosnoff Theater box office, or by visiting the website at


About The Orchestra Now

TŌN was founded in 2015 as a training orchestra and three-year master’s degree program designed to prepare musicians for challenges facing the modern symphony orchestra. The Orchestra’s creation is based on the belief that to survive today’s musical landscape, contemporary musicians must go beyond the perfection of performance skills and repertoire. They must learn how to connect with concertgoers and create new ways to break down the barriers of reaching new audiences. To achieve this goal, the innovative TŌN curriculum involves both practical and academic activity comprising intensive, regular weekly orchestra rehearsal and course study with Bard College faculty, guest scholars, and performing artists. A Teaching Artist Program provides opportunities for students to engage in community outreach and education programs, and the graduate curriculum culminates in such independent study projects as managing a performing ensemble, curating a program that explores a topic of social importance, or working with community members to express life experiences through music. Musicians are selected through an audition process. All participants selected for the program will earn a Masters of Music in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies, and receive a full-tuition scholarship and health benefits. For more information, visit 

Leon Botstein

Leon Botstein brings a renowned career as both an educator and a conductor to his role as founder of Bard College’s new master’s degree program and Music Director of The Orchestra Now. He has been the President of Bard College since 1975, co-Artistic Director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival since their creation, and Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He also served as the Music Director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2011 and is now Conductor Laureate. Mr. Botstein has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He has received numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry.  More info online at


Press contacts:

Pascal Nadon

Pascal Nadon Communications

Phone: 646.234.7088



Mark Primoff

Associate Vice President of Communications

Bard College

Phone: 845.758.7412



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This event was last updated on 10-22-2015