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Fisher Center Presents the American Symphony Orchestra on March 2 and 3

Mark Primoff

Program Features Works by William Walton and Anton Bruckner,
Performed in the Acoustically Superb Fisher Center

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College presents the second program of the 2006–2007 season of the popular American Symphony Orchestra Fisher Center series, on March 2 and 3, at 8:00 p.m. in the acoustically superb Sosnoff Theater. A preconcert talk by Richard Wilson, composer in residence of the ASO, begins at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $20, $30, and $35. Call or visit the Fisher Center website at

The concert by the American Symphony Orchestra, which is orchestra in residence at the Fisher Center, is 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.” The featured soloist is the winner of the Bard Conservatory Concerto Competition, violist Shuangshuang Liu. The program includes William Walton’s Variations on a Theme by Hindemith and his Viola Concerto as well as Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 in E Major.

“An act of homage and gratitude to an admired colleague, the Variations on a Theme by Hindemith is among Walton’s most satisfying formal designs, worthy of standing beside Elgar’s Enigma Variations as one of the finest British works using this formal procedure,” writes Byron Adams in the program notes. “Walton remained deeply grateful for Hindemith’s brilliant performance as the soloist in the premiere of his Viola Concerto [also featured on the program], and had repeatedly vowed to dedicate a major work to the German composer.”

“The program also includes Bruckner’s monumental Seventh Symphony, which has emerged as the composer’s most performed composition, a veritable gothic cathedral in sound,” explains Christopher H. Gibbs, James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Music at Bard.

The American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski. In addition to its main subscription series at Lincoln Center, the 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 Orchestra 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 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 Orchestra’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.). The American Symphony Orchestra 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.

In 2005 violist Shuangshuang Liu came to the United States to study at The Bard College Conservatory of Music, where she is a student of Ira Weller, Michael Tree, and Steven Tenenbom. She was selected to participate in the New York String Orchestra Seminar directed by Jaime Laredo in December 2005, and performed in Carnegie Hall. Liu attended the Music Middle School attached to Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and in July 2004, became a member of the 15th Asian Youth Orchestra, performing in China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.

The 2006–2007 American Symphony Orchestra series at the Fisher Center continues on May 4 and 5, with a program featuring Debussy’s La Mer and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp Minor. “Debussy’s musical impressionism is nowhere more evident than in his meditation on the sea: La Mer,” remarks Christopher H. Gibbs. “I was destined for the wonderful life of a sailor,” Debussy wrote to a friend while composing La Mer. “It was only chance that diverted me; I have nevertheless retained a sincere passion for the sea.” Mahler’s thrilling Fifth Symphony, best known for its hauntingly beautiful Adagietto movement, concludes the program.

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

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This event was last updated on 03-05-2007