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The Fisher Center Presents the American Symphony Orchestra Concerts on February 1 and 2

Mark Primoff



Program Includes Works by Debussy, Dukas, Scriabin, Copland

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College presents the second programs of the 2007–2008 season of the popular American Symphony Orchestra Fisher Center series on Friday, February 1, and Saturday, February 2. The concerts, “Debussy, Dukas, Scriabin, Copland,” begin at 8:00 p.m. in the acoustically superb Sosnoff Theater. A preconcert talk by Richard Wilson, composer in residence with the ASO, begins at 6:45 p.m. Individual tickets are $20, $30, and $35.

Describing the program, Christopher Gibbs, James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Music, says, “After an evocative first half of mystical and popular French and Russian works, the concert features the great American symphony, Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony, written during World War II, incorporating his ‘Fanfare for the Common Man.’”

The series features the American Symphony Orchestra, which is orchestra in residence at the Fisher Center and is conducted by music director Leon Botstein. Of their performance this summer, as the resident orchestra of the Bard Music Festival, the New York Times wrote, “. . . the [American Symphony] orchestra, superbly responsive to Mr. Botstein’s driven interpretation, sounded exceptional.”

The program includes Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, of which Peter Laki, visiting associate professor of music at Bard, writes: “In his music, Debussy admirably captured the delicious vagueness of contours that is so important in Mallarmé’s poem. The themes do not follow any stable metric patterns—instead of progressing in a certain direction, they remain entirely unpredictable, reflecting the unconstrained nature of the faun’s meditations.” The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas, Laki notes, is the “best-known work of the overly self-critical Dukas who completed only about a dozen works in his entire lifetime, including the opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue and the ballet La Péri. He was also a distinguished teacher (his students included Olivier Messiaen) and a brilliant music critic.” Alexander Scriabin’s Piano Concerto in F-sharp Minor, Op. 20, features Wui-Ming Gan, piano, one of the winners of the 2006 Conservatory Concerto Competition. Laki notes that “Scriabin’s melodic lines are also transparent, and the brilliant virtuosic fireworks are never allowed to obscure the clear structure of the music.” Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 completes the February program. Laki writes that “the third movement, Andantino quasi Allegretto, is the one that Leonard Bernstein, always a great champion of this symphony, called his ‘favorite part’ in a letter to Copland. Bernstein even called the second theme of this movement his ‘personal wow.’”

Special student discount tickets are offered in advance through High 5 Tickets to the Arts (in addition to the $5 student rush tickets available the day of the events, for students with valid full-time student ID or under the age of 25). To purchase tickets, visit ( or call the High 5 Hotline at 212-445-8587. Upon purchasing the tickets through High 5, students receive a voucher to be redeemed at the Fisher Center box office on the day of the event (limit, two tickets per student).

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

The final programs of the 2007–2008 ASO concert series, “Barber, Sibelius, Strauss,” will be presented on Friday, April 25, and Saturday, April 26. Featured works are Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, with Chanel Wood, soprano; Jean Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47, with Erica Kiesewetter, violin; and Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30.


About the Performers:

The American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski. It is 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 for SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival. As part of Lincoln Center Presents Great Performers, the 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.

In addition to its main subscription series at Lincoln Center, the American Symphony Orchestra performs in Classics Declassified, a lecture/concert series with audience interaction at Peter Norton Symphony Space. 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 recorded music of Ernst von Dohnányi for Bridge Records. Its acclaimed recording of Richard Strauss’s opera Die ägyptische Helena with Deborah Voigt was released in 2003 by Telarc. 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 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 October 2006 the Orchestra performed in an outdoor production of Peer Gynt in Central Park with the cast of the Peer Gynt Festival of Norway.

Leon Botstein is music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the radio orchestra of Israel. Radio broadcasts of Botstein’s concerts with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra may be heard in syndication throughout the United States. He is also the founder and coartistic director of the Bard Music Festival.

This season includes the release of a recording of Paul Dukas’s opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue, recorded for Telarc with the BBC Symphony (and conducted in 2005 by Botstein at New York City Opera). Also soon to be released is Bruno Walter’s Symphony No. 1 with NDR–Hamburg. Botstein also recently conducted the BBC Symphony in a gala concert on Armistice Day at the Royal Albert Hall, of which a live recording will soon be released. In 2008 he will lead the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in another U.S. tour, this time of the West Coast.

His recording with the London Symphony Orchestra of Gavriil Popov’s epic Symphony No. 1 and Shostakovich’s Theme and Variations, Op. 3, received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Orchestral Performance. Another recording, Chausson’s opera Le roi Arthus with the BBC Symphony for Telarc, was released to rave reviews. Other acclaimed recordings include two discs: music by Copland, Sessions, Perle, and Rands for New World Records; and music by Ernst von Dohnányi for Bridge Records, both with the American Symphony Orchestra. Botstein has also conducted the London Symphony on a prestigious series of recordings for Telarc, which includes Liszt’s Dante Symphony and Tasso; Glière’s Symphony No. 3, “Il’ya Murometz”; and with the London Philharmonic, Max Reger’s Böcklin Tone Poems and Romantic Suite; Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra; music of Karol Szymanowski; symphonies of Karl Amadeus Hartmann; Dohnányi’s D-minor Symphony; and Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony in the Schalk edition.With the American Symphony Orchestra and also for Telarc, he has recorded live performances of two operas by Richard Strauss: Die ägyptische Helena with Deborah Voigt and Die Liebe der Danae with Lauren Flanigan, both of which received critical acclaim.

Botstein is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and the author of numerous articles and books. For his contributions to music he has received the award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Harvard University’s prestigious Centennial Award, as well as the Cross of Honor, First Class from the government of Austria. He was invited by former Secretary General Kofi Annan to address the United Nations on the topic “Why Music Matters.” Since 1975 he has been president of Bard College.

Hailing from Malaysia, Wui-Ming Gan attended a program for gifted young musicians at the Yamaha Music School. He won first prize at the Malaysian National Piano Festival in 2001, where he also received a special prize for best performance of a commissioned piece. The same year he was awarded the Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music (U.K.) in piano performance with distinction. He was a finalist at both the Vladimir Krainev (Ukraine, 2000) and Ettlingen (Germany, 2002) International Competitions for Young Pianists. He attended the solo piano program at the Music Academy of the West in the summer of 2007, where he was a finalist in the concerto competition. Over the past two years he has given three solo recitals at Bard. He now studies piano performance with Melvin Chen at The Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he is simultaneously pursuing an undergraduate degree in mathematics.

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This event was last updated on 02-13-2008