Press Room

See what they're saying about us.
Main Image for Press Room

Bard Fisher Center Presents Gustav Mahler's Magisterial Symphony No. 9

Eleanor Davis

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Sunday, May 17 at 3 p.m., The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College presents Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director, and performed by members of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra. Mahler’s magisterial Ninth—his last completed symphony—is an impassioned elegy. Composed after the death of his daughter, and the diagnosis of his own fatal heart disease, the symphony is nostalgic, urgent, and achingly glorious, expressing love of life and hope for eternity. The concert is performed in memory of Murray Liebowitz, life trustee of Bard College and overseer emeritus of Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College, as well as a devoted music lover and generous supporter of the arts. Additional program information can be found at Tickets are free; go to or call the box office at 845-758-7900 to make a reservation.

Murray Liebowitz (1928–2014) was a member and vice chair of the Board of Overseers of Bard College at Simon's Rock: The Early College. He and his wife Patti, who died in 2013, were among its most generous and loyal donors. In addition to the Liebowitz Center for International Studies and the Liebowitz Scholarships, Patti and Murray made considerable contributions to most of the major capital projects in the last three decades. Murray is survived by children Suzanne (Hoover) Klimek ’80, Howard Liebowitz, Sheldon Liebowitz, Susan Rindner, and Pamela Palumbo, and by six grandchildren.

Leon Botstein is now in his 23rd year as music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO). He has been hailed for his visionary zeal, often creating concert programs that give audiences a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear live performances of works that are ignored in the standard repertory, and inviting music lovers to listen in their own way to create a personal experience. At the same time he brings his distinctive style to core repertory works. He is also artistic codirector of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, which take place at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where he has been president since 1975. He is also conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 2003–2011.

Botstein leads an active schedule as a guest conductor all over the world, and can be heard on numerous recordings with the London Symphony (including its Grammy-nominated recording of Popov’s First Symphony), the London Philharmonic, NDR-Hamburg, and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Many of his live performances with the ASO are available online, where they have cumulatively sold more than a quarter of a million downloads. Upcoming engagements include the Royal Philharmonic, while recently, he conducted the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, the Taipei Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and Sinfónica Juvenil de Caracas in Venezuela and Japan, the first non-Venezuelan conductor invited by El Sistema to conduct on a tour.

Highly regarded as a music historian, Botstein’s most recent book is Von Beethoven zu Berg: Das Gedächtnis der Moderne (2013). He is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and the author of numerous articles and books. He is currently working on a sequel to Jefferson’s Children, about the American education system. Collections of his writings and other resources may be found online at 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. Other recent awards include the Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland Prize, the highest award given by the University of Alabama; the Bruckner Society’s Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor for his interpretations of that composer’s music; the Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society; and Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.

Now in its 53rd season, the American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, with a mission of making orchestral music accessible and affordable for everyone. Music Director Leon Botstein expanded that mission when he joined the ASO in 1992, creating thematic concerts that explore music from the perspective of the visual arts, literature, religion, and history, and reviving rarely performed works that audiences would otherwise never have a chance to hear performed live.

The orchestra’s Vanguard Series, which includes these themed programs as well as an opera-in-concert and a celebration of an American composer, consists of six concerts annually at Carnegie Hall. ASO goes in-depth with three familiar symphonies each season in the popular series Classics Declassified at Peter Norton Symphony Space, and has an upstate home at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where it performs in an annual subscription series as well as Bard’s SummerScape Festival and the Bard Music Festival. The orchestra has made several tours of Asia and Europe, and has performed in countless benefits for organizations including the Jerusalem Foundation and PBS.

Many of the world’s most accomplished soloists have performed with the ASO, including Yo-Yo Ma, Deborah Voigt, and Sarah Chang. The orchestra has released several recordings on the Telarc, New World, Bridge, Koch, and Vanguard labels, and many live performances are also available for digital download. In many cases, these are the only existing recordings of some of the rare works that have been rediscovered in ASO performances.        

Recognized as one of the finest conservatories in the United States, The Bard College Conservatory of Music, founded in 2005, is guided by the principle that musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. All undergraduates complete two degrees over a five-year period, a bachelor of music and a bachelor of arts in a field other than music. The Conservatory Orchestra has performed twice at Lincoln Center, and has completed two international concert tours: the first in June 2012 to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; the second in June 2014 to Russia and six cities in Central and Eastern Europe.

About The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College

Named for the late Richard B. Fisher, the former chair of Bard’s Board of Trustees, the Fisher Center has become an influential force in performing arts programming, earning critical acclaim for innovative productions of opera, orchestral, chamber, dance, and theater programs. The Center was designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry and distinguished acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, and has received international praise for its breathtaking architecture and superb sound.

Each summer the Fisher Center presents the Bard SummerScape festival, eight weeks of performing arts programs reflecting the life and times of the featured composer of the esteemed Bard Music Festival, celebrating its 26th year this August with “Carlos Chávez and His World.” Fall and spring seasons include original productions, special one-night-only concerts, and touring artists from around the globe.

The Fisher Center is home to the Bard College Theater & Performance and Dance Programs. Live Arts Bard, a residency and commissioning program, is a laboratory for professional artists in theater, dance, and performance to test ideas and develop new projects, many of which premiere at the Fisher Center. The Bard College Conservatory of Music and Bard College Music Program also stage regular orchestral and chamber concerts at the Fisher Center.

# # #

This event was last updated on 05-04-2015