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World-Acclaimed Pianist Peter Serkin Joins Conservatory Chamber Orchestra

Emily Darrow



Melvin Chen Conducts the Orchestra in Works by Sibelius, Stravinsky, and Wagner


ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard College Conservatory of Music presents a free concert with the Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Melvin Chen, on Sunday, December 16. The featured soloist for the concert, which begins at 3:00 p.m. in Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, is world-acclaimed pianist Peter Serkin. No reservations are necessary for the concert; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information, call the box office at 845-758-7900 or visit


The Conservatory Chamber Orchestra performs Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman; Stravinsky’s Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra and Movements for Piano and Orchestra, both with Peter Serkin; and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2.


Recognized as an artist of passion and integrity, American pianist Peter Serkin is one of the most thoughtful and individualistic musicians appearing before the public today. Throughout his career he has successfully conveyed the essence of five centuries of repertoire; his performances with symphony orchestras, recital appearances, chamber music collaborations, and recordings are respected worldwide. Serkin’s rich musical heritage extends back several generations: his grandfather was violinist and composer Adolf Busch, and his father, pianist Rudolf Serkin. In 1958, at age 11, he entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he was a student of Lee Luvisi, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, and Rudolf Serkin. He later continued his studies with Ernst Oster, Marcel Moyse, and Karl Ulrich Schnabel. In 1959, Serkin made his Marlboro Music Festival and New York City debuts with conductor Alexander Schneider. Invitations soon followed to perform with the Cleveland Orchestra, under George Szell, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, under Eugene Ormandy. He has since performed with major symphony orchestras with such eminent conductors as Seiji Ozawa, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, James Levine, Herbert Blomstedt, and Christoph Eschenbach. Also a dedicated chamber musician, Serkin has collaborated with Alexander Schneider, Pamela Frank, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Budapest, Guarneri, and Orion string quartets, as well as TASHI, of which he was a founding member.

An avid proponent of the music of many of the 20th and 21st century’s most distinguished composers, Serkin has been instrumental in bringing the music of Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Stravinsky, Wolpe, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Henze, Berio, Wuorinen, Goehr, Knussen, and Lieberson, among others, to audiences around the world. He has performed many important world premieres, especially numerous works written for him by Toru Takemitsu, Peter Lieberson, Oliver Knussen, and Alexander Goehr. Most recently, Serkin played the world premieres of Charles Wuorinen’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Boston Symphony under the baton of James Levine in Boston, at Carnegie Hall and at Tanglewood; a solo work by Elliot Carter, commissioned by Carnegie Hall, and the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival; and another work by Charles Wuorinen for piano and orchestra with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, also commissioned by Carnegie Hall.


Serkin’s recordings also reflect his distinctive musical vision. The Ocean that has no West and no East, released by Koch Records in 2000, features compositions by Webern, Wolpe, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Knussen, Lieberson, and Wuorinen. That same year, BMG released his recording of three Beethoven sonatas. Additional recordings include the Brahms violin sonatas with Pamela Frank, Dvorák’s Piano Quintet with the Orion String Quartet, quintets by Henze and Brahms with the Guarneri String Quartet, the Bach double and triple concerti with András Schiff and Bruno Canino, and Takemitsu’s Quotation of Dream with Oliver Knussen and the London Sinfonietta. His most recent recording is the complete works for solo piano by Arnold Schoenberg for Arcana. His most recent Grammy nomination was for his recording of six Mozart concerti with Alexander Schneider and the English Chamber Orchestra (this recording also received the prestigious Deutsche Schallplatten as well as Best Recording of the Year by Stereo Review magazine). Other Grammy-nominated recordings include Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus and Quartet for the End of Time on BMG and a solo recording of works by Stravinsky, Wolpe, and Lieberson for New World Records.


In May 2001, Serkin received an honorary doctoral degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He was also the first pianist to receive the Premio Internazionale Musicale Chigiana in recognition of his outstanding artistic achievement. Serkin, who resides in Massachusetts with his wife, Regina, and five children, is a faculty member of the Bard College Conservatory of Music.


Conductor and pianist Melvin Chen, associate director of the Conservatory and associate professor of interdisciplinary studies, has performed at major venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Frick Collection, and the Kennedy Center, in addition to other appearances throughout the country, Canada, and Asia. He has collaborated with Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom, David Shifrin, Robert White, Pamela Frank, Peter Wiley, and members of the St. Lawrence, Mendelssohn, Miami, Orion, Borromeo, and Arditti Quartets. He was selected to be a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two, and has performed at Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Chautauqua, Music from Angel Fire, and Bard Music Festival, among others. He can be heard on Discover, Nices, and KBS label compact discs with violinist Juliette Kang.

About The Bard College Conservatory of Music


Building on its distinguished history in the arts and education, Bard College launched The Bard College Conservatory of Music, which welcomed its first class in August 2005. This innovative, double-degree program is guided by the principle that musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. While training and studying for the bachelor of music degree with world-class musicians and teachers and performing in state-of-the art facilities, such as the Frank Gehry–designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Conservatory students also pursue a bachelor of arts degree at Bard, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. Robert Martin serves as director of the Conservatory, Melvin Chen as associate director.


Conservatory faculty include violinists Eugene Drucker, Yi-Wen Jiang, Ani Kavafian (master classes), Ida Kavafian, Soovin Kim, Weigang Li, Laurie Smukler, and Arnold Steinhardt; violists Steven Tenenbom, Michael Tree, and Ira Weller; cellists Sophie Shao and Peter Wiley; double bassist Marji Danilow; pianists Melvin Chen, Jeremy Denk, Richard Goode (master classes), and Peter Serkin; oboists Laura Ahlbeck and Richard Dallessio; flutists Nadine Asin (master classes) and Tara Helen O’Connor; clarinetists Laura Flax and David Krakauer; bassoonist Marc Goldberg; horn players Julie Landsman and Jeffrey Lang; trombonist John Rojak; trumpeter Mark Gould; and tuba player Alan Baer. The Conservatory Composition Program is directed by Joan Tower and George Tsontakis. The Colorado Quartet and Da Capo Chamber Players are in residence. Members and principals of the American Symphony Orchestra are available for instruction, coaching, and leading of sectional rehearsals of the Conservatory Orchestra. In addition, the resources and faculty of the Bard College Music Program are available to students of the Conservatory. The Conservatory also includes the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts, directed by Dawn Upshaw, and The Conductors Institute and its graduate program in conducting, directed by Harold Farberman.


For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or visit


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This event was last updated on 12-17-2007