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Mark Primoff




Highlights Include:

The internationally acclaimed Bard Music Festival with the American Symphony Orchestra in residence will present concerts, panel discussions, symposia, and preconcert talks focusing on Franz Liszt and his World: his artistic, social, and historical context, his circle, those who influenced him and those he influenced, and the politics and culture of his time.

"Bard College's SummerScape festival, housed in Frank Gehry's Bilbao-in-the-woods, is only three years old, but it has quickly become one of the major upstate festivals."
New Yorker

Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., March 20, 2006—The fourth annual SummerScape Festival at Bard College will open on Thursday, June 29, 2006, and run for seven weeks. SummerScape once again brings a diverse performing arts season featuring talent from around the world to its scenic Hudson Valley campus, with Bard's visually and acoustically stunning Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts serving as center stage. Among the Festival's highlights are the 17th annual Bard Music Festival, "Franz Liszt and His World"; two new opera productions (Robert Schumann's Genoveva and a Jacques Offenbach trio of comic operettas); a new theater production of Camille; a dance commission for Donna Uchizono; the launch of a new Family Series; and the addition of a European Spiegeltent offering Cabaret, Family Fare, a Festival Club, and Café. The annual film festival focuses on the great Max Ophuls, with screenings of such films as Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), La ronde (1950), and The Earrings of Madame de . . . (1953). Family-oriented events include century-old puppets from Vit Horejs and his Czech puppets; LAVA acrobats; Hans Christian Andersen's Little Match Girl and Hans Clodhopper performed by two of Denmark's best children's theater companies, and New York's madly talented Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.

Bard Music Festival's exploration of the high Romantic era in European music shows the far-ranging influence of Franz Liszt (1811–86)—his music as well as his fascinating persona—through concerts of his orchestral, chamber, and solo music, and with works by his contemporaries, followers, and those who influenced him or were influenced by him. The greatest piano virtuoso of his time, he was also an innovator: he established the piano recital as we know it today, and his "transcendent" technique changed the nature of writing for the instrument. Then, at the peak of his career, he moved with ease into orchestral composition, effortlessly traveling outside the boundaries of his age with wildly original music. His legendary generosity extended not only to his students but also to the advocacy of a broad range of composers, including those with whom he was close personally, such as Berlioz and Wagner, as well as Schumann and Mendelssohn, whose genius he recognized but who were themselves resistant to Liszt's artistic style. His personal circumstances, infamous love affairs, friendships with leading cultural figures, and lifelong spiritual quest add to the mystique of this fascinating man and give much to explore. Set within the context of the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, designed by Frank Gehry, these musical events give new meaning to Liszt's description of music as "the architecture of sound."

This year Bard turns to one of Liszt's contemporaries, Robert Schumann (1810–56), for the Festival's main opera presentation. Genoveva, Schumann's only opera and a major highlight of SummerScape, will be given its first fully staged American production, in five performances directed by the director of the Royal Danish Opera, Kasper Bech Holten, whose production of Ligeti's Grand Macabre at the San Francisco Opera last season created a critical firestorm. The rarely performed Genoveva, which was given its premiere in Leipzig in 1850 and was conducted by Liszt five years later, will open at Bard—150 years after the composer's death—on July 28, with Leon Botstein leading the American Symphony Orchestra and set designs by visual artist Christian Lemmerz. Rounding out Bard's opera offerings this summer are three short opéras comiques by Jacques OffenbachLes deux aveugles, L'ile de Tulipatan, and Ba-ta-clan—all new productions in the Opera Bouffe style, with director-choreographer Ken Roht pulling a whimsical and surrealistic evening out of the Offenbach candy box. James Bagwell will conduct.

SummerScape also offers a new theater production, Camille, in a new adaptation by Neil Bartlett of La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas, fils – the play on which Verdi based La traviata. Camille, directed by Kate Whoriskey, opens on July 6 for ten performances, with sets by Walter Spangler and costumes by Ilona Somogyi.

This year's dance offering brings the Donna Uchizono Company to SummerScape, where they will perform a new SummerScape commission to music by Liszt and performed by pianist Markus Groh, and premiere a new work featuring dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov, Hristoula Harakas, and Jodi Melnick.

The 17th annual Bard Music Festival, "Franz Liszt and His World," will present 12 concert programs over two weekends—August 11–13 and August 18–20. Liszt, Hungarian by birth, was the prototype of the 19th-century cosmopolitan composer/performer at the peak of Romanticism in European music, and his influences survived well into the 20th century, aided by theater, dance, film, literature, and Hollywood.

Cabaret gets its own home at the 2006 SummerScape in a Spiegeltent, a sparkling European traveling tent—this one from Belgium—lovingly handcrafted in the original style. From June 29 to July 30, a rotating roster of cabaret acts and family programs will make for a lively Festival Club atmosphere, complete with summer dining and a bar.

For information on all of these events, phone the Fisher Center box office at (845) 758-7900 or visit the web site at

OPERA—First U.S. Staging of Genoveva and a comic Offenbach Triple-Bill:

  • Genoveva, Robert Schumann's only opera, receives its first U.S. staged production on the main stage of the Fisher Center—the Sosnoff Theater. Principal cast members are Ylva Kihlberg, soprano (Genoveva); Philippe Castagner, tenor (Golo); and Johannes Mannov, baritone (Siegfried). Leon Botstein conducts the American Symphony Orchestra for all five performances. Kasper Bech Holten directs.
    Five Performances: July 28 and 30; August 2, 4, 5, 2006

  • In LUMA Theater, an Offenbach trio of light-hearted opéras comiques runs for eight performances. In Les deux aveugles, L'ile de Tulipatan, and Ba-ta-clan director-choreographer Ken Roht treats audiences to a whimsical and surrealistic evening of comic operetta. James Bagwell conducts, and the ensemble cast includes Tonna Miller, soprano; Jennifer Roderer, mezzo-soprano; Steven Goldstein and James Schaffner, tenors; and Matthew Burns, bass. [In French with English supertitles.]
    Eight Performances: August 3–6, 9–12, 2006

THEATER—a New Production of Camille:

  • Camille, (after La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils), has been adapted by Neil Bartlett and will be directed by Kate Whoriskey. Set design is by Walter Spangler, and costumes are by Ilona Somogyi.
    Ten Performances: July 6 (preview) - 9, 13–16, 2006

DANCE—A Commission and a World Premiere:

  • The 2006 SummerScape season opens with two dance premieres by choreographer Donna Uchizono: a Fisher Center–commissioned work based on piano music by Liszt, performed by pianist Markus Groh, that induces audiences to listen anew to his music, and a new work (featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Hristoula Harakas, and Jodi Melnick) that draws on newly commissioned music by Michael Floyd. Donna Uchizono is the artistic director/choreographer of Donna Uchizono Company, a New York-based company established in 1990. Since its founding, the Company has performed before enthusiastic audiences across the United States and throughout Europe and South America. Uchizono, who emerged rapidly from the downtown scene after her choreographic debut in 1988, is known for her spicy movement, wit, and rich invention.
    Three performances: June 29 and 30; July 1.

FILM—A Celebration of Max Ophuls:

  • Max Ophuls, the German filmmaker who influenced European and American cinema for decades, will be the focus of SummerScape's film festival. His magnificent films have never been shown widely in this country, despite the fact that he is considered to be one of the masters of cinema. Born in Germany in 1902, Ophuls made many films there before escaping the Nazis to France in 1933, continuing his flight to the United States in 1940. Returning to France in 1950, he made his greatest films before succumbing to a heart attack in 1957.

  • The Ophuls oeuvre reflects his preoccupations with theater and spectacle, music and memory (Franz Liszt was a character in one of his films), and the self-conscious struggle of women and idealists. Bard will show 11 films, including Ophuls's Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), The Reckless Moment (1949), Caught (1949), La ronde (1950), and The Earrings of Madame de… (1953).
    Thursdays and Sundays, July 6–August 6.


  • Providing an atmospheric venue for cabaret, informal performance, family programs, and summer dining, SummerScape brings a Spiegeltent from Europe for the very first time. With ballooning velvet canopies, ornate bars, and intimate booths enveloping a circular teak dance floor, Spiegeltents are hand-hewn pavilions used as marquees for live entertainment since the early 20th century, and are the very essence of a European "kabaret salon," or festival club, where artists and audiences can meet to enjoy music, food, and more.

  • Bard SummerScape will present a roster of Cabaret performances, including Romano Drom (meaning "Gypsy road" in the Romany language), a Gypsy music ensemble from Hungary; Carl Hancock Rux, an uncategorizable artist and performer cited by the New York Times as one of "thirty artists under the age of thirty most likely to influence culture over the next thirty years"; Guy Klucevsek, a composer and accordionist of whom Seattle Weekly said "Forget everything you thought you knew about the accordion"; DJ Spooky, a.k.a. That Subliminal Kid (Paul D. Miller); and "Blue" Gene Tyranny, a multi-faceted keyboardist, composer, and pianist of avant-garde music who Laurie Anderson extols as "just a complete genius."


  • Bard's new family series is presented in the Spiegeltent and features: New York's wildly popular Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, the aptly named New York troupe of acrobats called LAVA, and two Danish children's theater companies providing family friendly entertainment on weekend afternoons. Two immortal stories by Hans Christian Andersen—an acquaintance of Franz Liszt—will be performed: "The Little Match Girl" and "Hans Clodhopper," and acclaimed Czech puppeteer Vit Horejs brings his comic version of Faust.


The 17th Bard Music Festival will explore Franz Liszt the performer, composer, critic, teacher, and celebrity. Liszt's world is not only that of Paganini, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, and Wagner, but also of Victor Hugo, George Sand, Heinrich Heine, Lajos Kossuth, and Pope Pius IX.

The life, career, and achievement of Liszt (1811–86) were central to 19th-century Romanticism. As a child prodigy he met Beethoven, and at the end of his life, Debussy. The greatest piano virtuoso of his time, Liszt toured far and wide, from remote parts of England to Russia, and he established the piano recital as we know it today. His legendary generosity extended to the advocacy of many composers, including those with whom he was close personally, such as Berlioz and Wagner (later his son-in-law), and Schumann and Mendelssohn, whose genius he recognized but who were themselves resistant to Liszt's aesthetic agenda.

Liszt pioneered new feats of keyboard virtuosity, and his technique changed the nature of piano composition forever. His colorful transcriptions and arrangements introduced audiences to an extraordinary range of music otherwise inaccessible in an age without recordings, and his Hungarian Rhapsodies brought brilliant adaptations of folk and popular music to the concert hall. He coined the term "Symphonic Poem" and was one of its greatest proponents.

At mid-century, Liszt abandoned the life of a traveling virtuoso, settled in Weimar, and concentrated on composition, conducting, and teaching. There he spearheaded a progressive artistic movement that supported young and adventurous composers, notably Richard Wagner. Instituting the first master classes, he taught nearly all of the greatest pianists of the late 19th century and mentored several composers, without ever taking a fee.

In 1865 Liszt took minor orders in the Catholic Church and became an abbé. He produced numerous choral works and two grand oratorios on religious themes. At the same time he devoted himself to developing musical culture and education in his native Hungary. His final, visionary works extended tonality and aphoristic phrasing beyond accepted norms, anticipating the radical musical developments of Debussy and Schoenberg.

A cosmopolitan European, Liszt was born in Hungary, trained in Vienna under Czerny and Salieri, and came of age in Paris. Later in life, he divided his time between Germany, Italy, and Hungary. His personal circumstances, infamous love affairs, illegitimate children, friendships with leading cultural figures and his lifelong spiritual quests only add to his mystique. But he remains elusive, both devil and saint, lauded as a wizard, dismissed as a charlatan, underappreciated as a composer.

Liszt's sphere is also the focus of the 17th volume in the Bard Music Festival series published by Princeton University Press. Franz Liszt and His World is edited by Christopher H. Gibbs and Dana Gooley.

Among the works by Liszt to be performed are: opera paraphrases for piano on Don Giovanni, I puritani, and Robert le diable; Hungarian works such as the Hungarian Rhapsodies and the Rákóczy March; songs in various languages; sacred choral works; symphonic poems, such as Héroide funébre, Hunnenschlacht after Kaulbach, and Die Ideale, after Schiller; solo piano works including excerpts from the Années de pélerinage and the "Transcendental Etudes."

Also on the programs are works by composers who influenced Franz Liszt—or were influenced by him—including Charles-Valentin Alkan, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Ferruccio Busoni, Anton Bruckner, Frydryk Chopin, Carl Czerny, Claude Debussy, Gaetano Donizetti, John Field, César Franck, Edvard Grieg, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Edward MacDowell, Giacomo (Jacob) Meyerbeer, Ignaz Moscheles, Modest Musorgsky, Joachim Raff, Gioacchino Rossini, Camille Saint-Saëns, Robert and Clara Schumann, Bedřich Smetana, and Richard Wagner.

Festival artists include, among others, the Bard Festival String Quartet; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano; Nicole Cabell, soprano; Philippe Castagner, tenor; Melvin Chen, piano; Arnaldo Cohen, piano; Jeremy Denk, piano; Simone Dinnerstein, piano; Danny Driver, piano; Andrew Garland, baritone; Jill Grove, mezzo-soprano; Kenneth Hamilton, piano; John Hancock, baritone; Chu-Fang Huang, piano; Brandon Javanovich, tenor; Martin Kasik, piano; Ani Kavafian, violin; Piers Lane, piano; Valentina Lisitsa, piano; Olga Makarina, soprano; Alexander Markov, violin; Peter Orth, piano; Dimitri Pittas, tenor; Anna Polonsky, piano; Giora Schmidt, violin; Sophie Shao, cello; Christian Van Horn, bass; Janice Weber, piano; Orion Weiss, piano; Di Wu, piano; the Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director.

BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL WEEKEND ONE—Art, Spectacle, and the Public

Friday, August 11

Program One
Liszt: Mirror of the Nineteenth Century
Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Sosnoff Theater
8:00 p.m. Preconcert Talk: Leon Botstein
8:30 p.m. Performance
Works by Liszt

Saturday, August 12

Panel One
Liszt the Phenomenon
Olin Auditorium
10:00 a.m. –12:00 noon
Christopher H. Gibbs, moderator

Program Two
The Young Liszt: From Vienna to Paris
Olin Auditorium
1:00 p.m. Preconcert Talk: Anna H. Celenza
1:30 p.m. Performance
Works by Liszt, Beethoven, Schubert, Hummel, Field, Czerny, Moscheles, Chopin, Alkan, Henselt, Wieck, Weber

Special Event
The Piano and the Nineteenth Century
Olin Auditorium
5:00 p.m. Performance with Commentary by Kenneth Hamilton

Program Three
Politics, Painting, Theater, and Poetry
Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Sosnoff Theater
7:00 p.m. Preconcert Talk: Paul Merrick
8:00 p.m. Performance: American Symphony Orchestra, Leon Botstein, conductor
Works by Liszt, Ernst, Raff

Sunday, August 13

Program Four
Virtuosity Blow Out
Olin Auditorium
10:00 a.m. Preconcert Talk: Dana Gooley
10:30 a.m. Performance
Works by Liszt, Meyerbeer, Thalberg, Ernst, Rubinstein, Tausig, Popper, Menter, Alvars

Program Five
Virtuosity Transfigured: In the Shadow of Paganini
Olin Auditorium
1:00 p.m. Preconcert Talk: Jim Samson
1:30 p.m. Performance
Works by Liszt, Schumann, Brahms, Paganini

Program Six
Grand Opera before Wagner
Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Sosnoff Theater
4:30 p.m. Preconcert Talk: Heather Hadlock
5:30 p.m. Performance: Excerpts from operas by Auber, Meyerbeer, Bellini, Rossini, Halévy, Donizetti , Pacini


Friday, August 18

Music in Nineteenth-Century Culture
Multipurpose Room, Bertelsmann Campus Center
10:00 a.m.—12:00 noon
1:30 p.m.—3:30 p.m.
Michael P. Steinberg, moderator

Program Seven
Liszt and National Aspirations
Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Sosnoff Theater
7:30 p.m. Preconcert Talk: Rainer Kleinertz
8:00 p.m. Performance
Works by Liszt, Schumann, Chopin, Smetana, Grieg, Musorgsky, MacDowell, Sgambati, Glinka

Saturday, August 19

Program Eight
The "Gypsies," the Hungarians, and the Exotic in Music
Olin Auditorium
10:00 a.m.: Performance with Commentary by Jonathan Bellman
Works by Liszt, Haydn, Schubert, Brahms, Mosonyi, Rózsavölgyi

Program Nine
Between Two Schools: Liszt and the Chamber Music Tradition
Olin Auditorium
1:00 p.m. Preconcert Talk: Robert Martin
1:30 p.m. Performance:
Works by Liszt, Raff, Volkmann, Cornelius, Franz, Rubinstein

Program Ten
Christ and Faust
Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Sosnoff Theater
7:00 p.m. Preconcert Talk: Alan Walker
8:00 p.m. Performance: American Symphony Orchestra; Leon Botstein, conductor
Works by Liszt and Berlioz

Sunday, August 20

Panel Two:
Gender and Musical Culture: Stern, Sand, Sayn-Wittgenstein, Schumann, and Eliot
Olin Auditorium
10:00 a.m.—12:00 noon
Leon Botstein, moderator

Program Eleven
Late Liszt: Spirituality and Experimentation
Olin Auditorium
1:00 p.m. Preconcert Talk: Richard Wilson
1:30 p.m. Performance:
Works by Liszt, Bruckner, Saint-Saëns, Franck, Busoni, Debussy, Wagner

Program Twelve
Liszt and Wagner
Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Sosnoff Theater
4:30 p.m. Preconcert Talk: Christopher H. Gibbs
5:30 p.m. Performance: American Symphony Orchestra; Leon Botstein, conductor
Works by Liszt and Wagner

The third and final weekend of Bard Music Festival – The Divergent Paths of Romanticism – will take place Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28, 2006
Programs and performers are subject to change.

BARD SUMMERSCAPE 2006: Chronological Highlights by Performers' First Appearance:

  • Donna Uchizono—6/29–7/1

  • Camille (after Dumas)—7/6–7/9, 7/13–7/16 (twice on 7/8 and 7/15)

  • Genoveva (Schumann)—7/28, 7/30, 8/2, 8/4, 8/5

  • Genoveva: Ylva Kihlberg, soprano

  • Golo: Philippe Castagner, tenor

  • Siegfried: Johannes Mannov

  • Offenbach Triple-bill—8/3, 8/4, 8/5, 8/6, 8/9, 8/10, 8/11, 8/12

  • Tonna Miller, soprano

  • Jennifer Roderer, mezzo

  • Steven Goldstein, tenor

  • James Schaffner, tenor

  • Matthew Burns, bass

FILMS: (10 screenings)—Bold titles are by Max Ophuls

  • Liebelei

  • Camille double bill (1921 and 1936)

  • La Signora di Tutti

  • Letter from an Unknown Woman

  • Caught

  • The Reckless Moment

  • La Ronde

  • The Earrings of Madame de . . .

  • French Cancan

  • Faust

CABARET (20 performances)

  • Romano Drom—6/29, 7/1

  • Bindlestiff Family Cirkus—6/30, 7/2

  • "Blue" Gene Tyranny—7/6

  • Guy Klucevsek—7/7

  • DJ Spooky—7/8

  • Faust—7/13, 7/14, 7/16

  • Carl Hancock Rux—7/15

  • SpiegelSalon—7/20–23, 7/27–30

FAMILY SERIES (15 performances)

  • Bindlestiff Family Cirkus—7/1 (twice), 7/2

  • LAVA—7/8 (twice), 7/9

  • Faust—7/15 (twice), 7/16

  • Hans Clodhopper—7/29 (twice), 7/30

  • Little Match Girl—8/5 (twice), 8/6


  • Thursday through Saturday each weekend at 10:00 p.m. from 6/30 to 7/30

The 17th Annual BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL: Franz Liszt and His World, August 11–13 and August 18–20
Support of the Fisher Center’s summer programs is generously provided by The Altria Group, Inc., The Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation, Bettina Baruch Foundation, Bank of New York Company, Inc., The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Inc., Helen and Kenneth Blackburn, Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Mr. and Mrs. John K. Castle, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, The Danish Consulate General in New York, John A. Dierdorff, Robert C. Edmonds, Ines Elskop and Christopher Scholz, Stefano Ferrari, The Estate of Richard B. Fisher, Ms. Emily H. Fisher, Jeanne Donovan Fisher, The FMH Foundation, Georg Jensen, Jonathan K. Greenburg and Elizabeth Ely ’65, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, Eliot D. and Paula K. Hawkins, Linda Hirshman and David Forkosh, The Hungarian Cultural Center, Anne E. Impellizzeri, Jane’s Ice Cream, Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, The J.M. Kaplan Fund, Peter ’66 and Barbara Kenner, The Laurie M. Tisch Foundation, Mimi Levitt, Lucy Pang Yoa Chang Foundation, Amy and Thomas O. Maggs, Magic Hat Brewing Company, The Marks Family Foundation, Marstrand Foundation, Maurer Family Foundation, Joanna M. Migdal, Millbrook Tribute Gardens, Kenneth L. Miron, Christina A. Mohr, The Mortimer Levitt Foundation, Inc., Donors to the Mimi Levitt Endowment Fund for the Performing Arts, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Mr. and Mrs. James H. Ottaway Jr., Ralph E. Ogden Foundation, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, David E. Schwab II ’52 and Ruth Schwartz Schwab ’52, The Schwab Fund for Charitable Giving, Denise S. Simon and Paulo Vieira da Cunha, Bruce and Francesca Slovin, The Slovin Foundation, Martin T. and Toni Sosnoff, Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation, H. Peter Stern, The Stevenson Group, Stewart’s Shops, C.B. Strain & Son Inc., Tucker Taylor, Felicitas S. Thorne, Margo and Anthony Viscusi, Dr. Siri von Reis, Rosalind C. Whitehead, The Wise Family Charitable Foundation, and E. Lisk Wyckoff, amongst other donors.

Continuing support of Fisher Center programming is also provided by the Richard B. Fisher Endowment Fund.

For information on all of these events, phone the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit the web site at

Bard Music Festival press contact: Mark Primoff (845) 758-7412,

21C Media Group press contact: Glenn Petry (212) 625-2038,

This event was last updated on 08-10-2006