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OCTOBER 13 AND 14 Program Features Works by Mozart, Elgar, and Brahms, Performed in the Acoustically Superb Fisher Center

Mark Primoff
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College presents the first 2006-2007 season program of the popular American Symphony Orchestra Fisher Center series, on October 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. This first season concert by American Symphony Orchestra, which is orchestra in residence at the Fisher Center, presents an evening of music by Mozart, Elgar, and Brahms, conducted by music director Leon Botstein, about whom the New York Times recently wrote, “The conductor Leon Botstein elicited powerful, refined performances from the American Symphony Orchestra.” Featured soloist is cellist Sophie Shao, faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music. The program includes Mozart’s Symphony No. 38 in D major, “Prague”; Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor; and Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 in C minor. Tickets are $20, $30, and $35; subscriptions are available. Call 845-758-7900 or visit the Fisher Center website at

While Mozart struggled to make a freelance career in Vienna, the city of Prague embraced him enthusiastically and was rewarded with one of his most brilliant symphonies: No. 38 in D major, called the “Prague.” Elgar’s Cello Concerto is his last major work, by turns a nostalgic, haunting, and dramatic masterpiece. Dubbed “Beethoven’s Tenth” soon after its premiere, due to perceived similarities between it and Beethoven’s final composition, Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 in C minor quickly became a beloved part of his repertory.

The American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski. In addition to its main subscription series at Lincoln Center, the American Symphony Orchestra performs a lecture/concert series with audience interaction at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre called Classics Declassified. It
is also the resident orchestra of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where it performs to capacity audiences in a winter concert series as well as in the summer Bard Music Festival.

As part of Lincoln Center Presents Great Performers, the American Symphony performs thematically organized concerts at Avery Fisher Hall, linking music to the visual arts, literature, politics, and history, often in collaboration with museums and other cultural institutions. With its bold programming, innovative presentation, and commitment to music education, the American Symphony Orchestra seeks to make great music a relevant, accessible, and enjoyable experience for all kinds of listeners. Its music education programs extend through New York, New Jersey, and Long Island.

The American Symphony Orchestra has toured extensively and made numerous recordings and broadcasts. Its most recent recording is of music by Copland, Sessions, Perle, and Rands in a special tribute album to legendary American music patron Francis Goelet, issued by New World Records. The Orchestra also recently recorded music of Ernst von Dohnányi for Bridge Records. Its recording of Richard Strauss's opera Die ägyptische Helena with Deborah Voigt was released in 2003 by Telarc to outstanding acclaim. This recording joins the American Symphony's recording of Strauss's Die Liebe der Danae, also from Telarc. Other recordings with Leon Botstein include Franz Schubert: Orchestrated on the Koch International label, with works by Joachim, Mottl, and Webern, and, on the Vanguard Classics label, Johannes Brahms's Serenade No. 1 in D major, Op. 11 (1860). The American Symphony inaugurated São Paolo's new concert hall and has made several tours of Asia and Europe. It also has a long history of appearing in charitable and public benefits for such organizations as Sha'are Zedek Hospital, the Jerusalem Foundation, and PBS.

Cellist Sophie Shao has won top prizes at the Rostropovich International Violoncello Competition (2001) and XII International Tschaikovsky Competition (2002). She has performed as soloist with the Abilene Philharmonic, Erie Symphony, Houston Symphony, and Russian State Academic Symphony Cappella; her festival appearances include Caramoor, Marlboro, Music from Angel Fire, Ravinia, and Sarasota. She is a faculty member of The Bard College Conservatory of Music and a former member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two. Shao has a B.A. from Yale University and an M.M. from Yale School of Music.
The 2006-2007 American Symphony Orchestra series at the Fisher Center continues with programs on March 2 and 3, 2007, with works by Walton and Bruckner, and on May 4 and May 5, 2007, in a program featuring Dubussy’s La mer and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor.

For tickets to these and other Fisher Center programs, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit the Fisher Center box office at

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This event was last updated on 10-30-2006