The Orchestra Now
Stephanie Blythe Sings Brahms
February 3–4, 2024
The Orchestra Now
February 3–4, 2024
Leon Botstein conductor
Stephanie Blythe mezzo-soprano
Bard Festival Chorale
Symphony No. 1
Award-winning mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, artistic director of Bard Conservatory’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, joins TŌN for an all-Brahms concert.
She performs his profound and dramatic Alto Rhapsody, based on a Goethe poem, which he composed as a wedding gift for the daughter of Robert and Clara Schumann, for whom he once carried a torch. The program also includes the sweeping cantata Rinaldo, inspired by another Goethe poem about a knight who has been enchanted by a cunning sorceress. The program concludes with Brahms’ masterful First Symphony, which the composer toiled over for 14 years before its debut performance.
Leon Botstein is founder and music director of The Orchestra Now (TŌN), music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO), artistic codirector of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, and conductor laureate and principal guest conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO), where he served as music director from 2003 to 2011. He has been guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre, Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Taipei Symphony, Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, and Sinfónica Juvenil de Caracas in Venezuela, among others. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria.
Recordings include acclaimed recordings of Othmar Schoeck’s Lebendig begraben with TŌN, Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner with the ASO, a Grammy-nominated recording of Popov’s First Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra, and other various recordings with TŌN, ASO, the London Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra Hamburg, and JSO, among others. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and author of numerous articles and books, including The Compleat Brahms (Norton), Jefferson’s Children (Doubleday), Judentum und Modernität (Bölau), and Von Beethoven zu Berg (Zsolnay). Honors include Harvard University’s prestigious Centennial Award; the American Academy of Arts and Letters award; and Cross of Honor, First Class, from the government of Austria, for his contributions to music. Other distinctions include the Bruckner Society’s Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor for his interpretations of that composer’s music, the Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society, and Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.
A renowned opera singer and recitalist, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation. Her repertoire ranges from Handel to Wagner, German lieder to contemporary and classic American song. Ms. Blythe has performed on many of the world’s great stages, such as Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Paris National Opera and San Francisco, Chicago Lyric and Seattle Operas. Ms. Blythe was named Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year in 2009, received an Opera News Award in 2007 and won the Tucker Award in 1999. She is the Artistic Director of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar at the Crane School of Music, and was appointed Artistic Director of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College in the fall of 2019.
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