The Bard Music Festival returns for its 32nd season with an exploration of the life and work of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943), perhaps the last great exponent of Russian Romanticism, who nevertheless embodied many contradictions.
Through a series of themed concert programs, lectures, and panel discussions, Rachmaninoff and His World explores such themes as composition during the Cold War, virtuoso pianists and their public, and America’s ongoing love affair with Rachmaninoff’s music.
The full Bard Music Festival program will be announced in late April, complete with details of all health and safety protocols. Please note, this year, the Bard Music Festival semi-staged opera will be a part of the Weekend One program.
This summer’s Bard Music Festival will explore the works and world of Sergei Rachmaninoff. With Ukraine and its citizens fighting against an unprovoked attack from Russia, and America and Russia once again confronting each other on the stage of international politics, any exploration of Rachmaninoff’s world must include the region’s painful history amidst this tragic echo of the past.
Rachmaninoff was a committed yet und
ogmatic patriot who left Russia during the Revolution of 1917. He was forty-four years old and would never return. For the next quarter of a century, he was in exile, based primarily in the United States. His compositions remained Russian in their inspiration, but were embraced internationally as ravishingly beautiful and deeply expressive of human emotion. Looking at Rachmaninoff’s career, we encounter the complex and shifting relationships between Russia and America. He was out of favor in Revolutionary Russia when he was lionized in America. He was derided by proponents of musical modernism in America just as he was being rehabilitated in the Soviet Union.
This important composer, virtuoso pianist, and gifted conductor was a fixture in American and Russian cultural life, with his music used on the soundtrack for many Hollywood films and also expressing a distinctly Russian sense of sorrow, melancholy, and intimacy. It is our hope that by examining our common heritage through Rachmaninoff’s music and life, we can deepen our understanding of the relationships that can either bind or divide at such a crucial time.
—Irene Zedlacher, Executive Director, Bard Music Festival
Save the Date
Summer Enchanted Evening • July 16
A celebration to benefit the Fisher Center and Bard Music Festival.
BMF Opening Night Social • August 5
Celebrate the opening of the 32nd Bard Music Festival: Rachmaninoff and His World.
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Eat & Stay
Grab a bite and a drink while you’re at the Fisher Center! We offer theater concessions at Sosnoff theater, LUMA theater, and Olin Hall. Across the way, is the al fresco Spiegeltent Garden—or grab a nosh while seeing a Spiegeltent Performance. There is ample space for outdoor picnics across Bard’s campus. Nearby villages and towns in the Hudson Valley boast a large selection of restaurants, as well as a variety of hotels, motels, inns, and bed & breakfasts.
Chartered coach transportation from New York City is available for select SummerScape and Bard Music Festival programs. To book round-trip transportation for select SummerScape 2022 performances, you may order online, or call the Box Office at 845-758-7900.
Founded in 1990, the Bard Music Festival has established its unique identity in the classical concert field by presenting programs that, through performance and discussion, place selected works in the cultural and social context of the composer’s world.
Programs of the Bard Music Festival offer a point of view. The intimate communication of recital and chamber music and the excitement of full orchestral and choral works are complemented by informative preconcert talks, panel discussions by renowned musicians and scholars, and special events. In addition, each season University of Chicago Press publishes a book of essays, translations, and correspondence relating to the festival’s central figure.
By providing an illuminating context, the festival encourages listeners and musicians alike to rediscover the powerful, expressive nature of familiar compositions and to become acquainted with less well-known works.
Since its inaugural season, the Bard Music Festival has entered the worlds of Brahms, Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss, Dvořák, Schumann, Bartók, Ives, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Schoenberg, Beethoven, Debussy, Mahler, Janáček, Shostakovich, Copland, Liszt, Elgar, Prokofiev, Wagner, Berg, Sibelius, Saint-Saëns, Stravinsky, Schubert, Carlos Chávez, Puccini, Chopin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Korngold, and Nadia Boulanger.
The 2022 Bard Music Festival will be devoted to the life and work of Sergei Rachmaninoff.
The Bard Music Festival promotes new ways of understanding and presenting the history of music to a contemporary audience. Each year, a single composer is chosen as the main subject. The biography of the composer, the influences and consequences of that composer’s achievement, and all aspects of the musical culture surrounding the time and place of the composer’s life are explored. Perhaps the most important dimensions of the festival are the ways in which it links music to the worlds of literature, painting, theater, philosophy, and politics and brings two kinds of audience together: those with a long history of interest in concert life and first-time listeners, who find the festival an ideal place to learn about and enjoy the riches of our musical past.