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The Orchestra Now (TŌN) Opens Fifth Season at the Fisher Center at Bard

Mark Primoff

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY— The Orchestra Now’s residency at Bard College’s Fisher Center renews with 13 performances of seven different programs, all conducted by music director Leon Botstein. The opening night program, “Copland & Strauss,” Saturday, September 14,  features the U.S. premiere of Ustvolskaya’s 1948 work Symphonic Poem No. 1, originally titled The Light of the Steppes; and Strauss’ Four Songs with Canadian soprano Paulina Swierczek, a winner of Bard Conservatory’s concerto competition. Tickets are priced at $25–$35; subscriptions are available. Tickets may be purchased online at, by calling the Fisher Center at 845-758-7900, or at the Fisher Center box office in the lobby of Sosnoff Theater.

Copland & Strauss  

Sat, Sep 14, 2019 at 8 PM

Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 2 PM

The Fisher Center season opens with Copland’s “Great American Symphony” along with a romantic set of songs that Strauss gave to his wife on their wedding day.

Leon Botstein, conductor

Paulina Swierczek, soprano

Galina Ustvolskaya: Symphonic Poem No. 1 (U.S. Premiere)

R. Strauss: Four Songs, Op. 27

Copland: Symphony No. 3

Sibelius & Shostakovich

Sat, Oct 19, 2019 at 8 PM

Sun, Oct 20, 2019 at 2 PM

Xinran Li, a winner of Bard Conservatory’s concerto competition, performs Sibelius’ moving violin concerto. Shostakovich’s tenth symphony is his first written after the death of Stalin.

Leon Botstein, conductor

Xinran Li, violin

Sibelius: Violin Concerto

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10

Hans Graf Conducts Schubert

Sat, Nov 2, 2019 at 8 PM

Sun, Nov 3, 2019 at 2 PM

Austrian conductor Hans Graf leads TŌN in two pieces from his homeland: Schubert’s beloved Great Symphony, and a set of tone poems based on characters from The Tempest.

Hans Graf, conductor

Egon Wellesz: Prospero's Incantations (U.S. Premiere)

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 9, The Great

Stravinsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss

Wed, Nov 13, 2019 at 7 PM

These four works from the late 1920s, including the suite from Stravinsky’s ballet score The Fairy’s Kiss, give insight into the evolving world of orchestral music 90 years ago. This concert will be repeated at Carnegie Hall on November 14.

Leon Botstein, conductor

Michael Nagy, baritone

Honegger: Rugby*

Schoeck: Buried Alive

Mitropoulos: Concerto Grosso*

Stravinsky: Divertimento, The Fairy's Kiss Suite

*First NY performances in over 50 years

“As we look forward to our 2019-20 season and reflect on all that has been accomplished in only four years since the Orchestra was founded, I am so very proud that TŌN has firmly established its place in New York’s rich cultural landscape,” said Music Director Leon Botstein. “Its achievements have been earned by offering performances of the highest quality, filled with the energy and virtuosity of its young artists, who demonstrate their gifts and their exceptional skills at each performance. With such a bright present, the future is undeniably promising.”

TŌN welcomes a new class of 28 young musicians in 2019-20, for a total of 66 members in all. TŌN musicians hail from twelve countries around the world: Bulgaria, China, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Peru, Taiwan, Ukraine, the U.K., as well as the U.S. TŌN musicians accepted into the curriculum take either a three-year Master of Music Degree Program in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies, or a two-year Advanced Certificate in Orchestral Studies. Hundreds of candidates vie for the opportunity to rehearse, perform, and study with Bard College faculty, guest scholars, and performing artists, surrounded by the intellectual atmosphere of a liberal arts college uniquely suited to the task, at one of America’s most forward-thinking classical music centers.

Tickets will be available online at, by calling 845.758.7900, or at the Fisher Center box office in the lobby of Sosnoff Theater.

The Orchestra Now

The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is a group of 66 vibrant young musicians from 12 different countries across the globe: Bulgaria, China, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Peru, Taiwan, Ukraine, the U.K., and the U.S. All share a mission to make orchestral music relevant to 21st-century audiences by sharing their unique personal insights in a welcoming environment. Hand-picked from the world’s leading conservatories—including The Juilliard School, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Royal Conservatory of Brussels, and the Curtis Institute of Music—the members of TŌN are enlightening curious minds by giving on-stage introductions and demonstrations, writing concert notes from the musicians’ perspective, and having one-on-one discussions with patrons during intermissions.

Conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, whom The New York Times said “draws rich, expressive playing from the orchestra, founded TŌN in 2015 as a graduate program at Bard College, where he is also president. TŌN offers both a three-year master’s degree in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies and a two-year advanced certificate in Orchestra Studies. The orchestra’s home base is the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center at Bard, where they perform multiple concerts each season and take part in the annual Bard Music Festival. They also perform regularly at the finest venues in New York, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and others across NYC and beyond. HuffPost, who has called TŌN’s performances “dramatic and intense,” praises these concerts as “an opportunity to see talented musicians early in their careers.” 

The orchestra has performed with many distinguished guest conductors and soloists, including Neeme Järvi, Vadim Repin, Fabio Luisi, Peter Serkin, Gerard Schwarz, Tan Dun, Zuill Bailey, and JoAnn Falletta. In the 2019–20 season, conductors Leonard Slatkin and Hans Graf will also lead TŌN performances. Recordings featuring The Orchestra Now include Ferdinand Ries piano concertos with Piers Lane on Hyperion Records, and a Sorel Classics concert recording of pianist Anna Shelest performing works by Anton Rubinstein with TŌN and conductor Neeme Järvi. Upcoming albums include a second release with Piers Lane on Hyperion Records in the spring of 2020. Recordings of TŌN’s live concerts from the Fisher Center can be heard on Classical WMHT-FM and WWFM The Classical Network, and are featured regularly on Performance Today, broadcast nationwide. In 2019, the orchestra’s performance with Vadim Repin was live-streamed on The Violin Channel.

For upcoming activities and more detailed information about the musicians, visit

Leon Botstein

Leon Botstein brings a renowned career as both a conductor and educator to his role as music director of The Orchestra Now. He has been music director of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992, artistic co-director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival since their creation, and president of Bard College since 1975. He was the music director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 2003–11 and is now conductor laureate. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria. Mr. Botstein is also a frequent guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, has made numerous recordings, and is a prolific author and music historian. He is editor of the prestigious The Musical Quarterly and has received many honors for his contributions to music. More info online at

Press Contacts

Pascal Nadon

Pascal Nadon Communications

Phone: 646.234.7088


Mark Primoff

Associate Vice President of Communications

Bard College

Phone: 845.758.7412


This event was last updated on 09-12-2019