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26th Annual Bard Music Festival “Carlos Chávez and His World” Opens This Friday (Aug 7) with Weekend One: The Musical Voice of Mexico

The 26th annual Bard Music Festival – an exploration of “Carlos Chávez and His World” – opens this Friday, August 7 with Weekend One: The Musical Voice of Mexico. The first of the weekend’s five themed concerts – Program 1: Chávez and Mexico’s Musical Heritage offers an introduction to Mexican music since the colonial period of New Spain, culminating with the work of Carlos Chávez (1899–1978) and his 20th-century contemporaries. The New York Times has praised Bard’s “track record of presenting fine young performers and some good veterans,” and this opening event features an outstanding line-up that includes pianists Anna Polonsky and Orion Weiss, guitarist Jason Vieaux, soprano Ava Pine, the Daedalus Quartet, and members of the American Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of music director and festival co-artistic director Leon Botstein. A distinguished scholar recognized as “one of the most remarkable figures in the worlds of arts and culture” (THIRTEEN/WNET), the conductor also provides an illuminating commentary on the performance.

As Botstein explains:

“There were two competing strands and Chávez negotiated between the two, the avant-garde and the populist. … We will perform this summer music by both his opponents and his predecessors, including Ponce and Julián Carrillo but also his teachers, his protégés, Moncayo, Revueltas. So the audience this summer will come to concerts in which I would guess 95% of them have never heard any of the music that we’re about to play. That’s exciting all on its own: that they will encounter something thoroughly new.”

Click here to see Botstein discuss Chávez and music in Latin America.

A protean force as composer, conductor, teacher, journalist, and visionary cultural ambassador, Carlos Chávez embodied 20th-century Mexican music, bringing wider visibility to Mexican musical and cultural life. Yet despite his efforts, few Mexican compositions have achieved international recognition. This year’s Bard Music Festival seeks to redress this balance, taking Chávez’s life and career as the lens through which to examine a vibrant cultural period in Mexico and Latin America. With its recognized gift for thematic programming, Bard achieves a depth and breadth of musical and cultural discovery that is truly unique. All of Weekend One’s programs are augmented with pre-concert talks by eminent scholars, including award-winning director Sergio Vela, author of multiple publications on Chávez’s sole opera, The Visitors; Roberto Kolb-Neuhaus, a leading authority on Chávez’s contemporary Silvestre Revueltas; and Dr. Ricardo Miranda, National Coordinator of Music and Opera at Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts.

Botstein leads the full American Symphony Orchestra in Program Three, which showcases Chávez’s Piano Concerto with Mexican pianist Jorge Federico Osorio – “one of the more elegant and accomplished pianists on the planet” (Los Angeles Times) – as soloist. Perhaps the concerto’s foremost exponent, Osorio has twice recorded it, most recently with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico and Carlos Miguel Prieto. After he performed it with the Chicago Symphony two years ago, the Chicago Tribune raved:

“The pianist had Symphony Center’s vibrant new American Steinway all but jumping through hoops of fire. His deep-seated belief in his countryman’s concerto came through in every musical gesture and carried over into everything the orchestra played.”

During this first weekend (a second follows on August 13–16), additional events shed further light on Chávez’s achievement in helping to create “The Musical Voice of Mexico.” Program Two presents music by such of his Parisian influences as Dukas, Ravel, Stravinsky, Milhaud, and Poulenc, while Program Four explores the artistic renaissance that followed Mexico’s prolonged and bloody civil war. To conclude the opening weekend, Program Five comprises works that capture something of the riotous color, bold strokes, neoprimitivism, and larger-than-life aesthetic of Mexico’s world-renowned muralist movement; a semi-staged production of Falla’s one-act puppet chamber opera El retablo de maese Pedro, along with performances of Revueltas’s wind symphony Troka and ballet El renacuajo paseador, and Chávez’s own Suite for Double Quartet, drawn from his ballet for Martha Graham The Daughter of Colchis, will be designed and directed by Doug Fitch, co-founder of celebrated outside-the-box production company Giants Are Small.

Weekend One’s offerings are complemented by panel discussions on “Culture and National Identity: The Case of Mexico,” with speakers including Bard’s Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Leonora Saavedra, editor of the upcoming 2015 volume, Carlos Chávez and His World; and “Mexico and the United States: Past, Present, and Future.”

Critical acclaim:
The Bard Music Festival has impressed critics worldwide. The New York Times reports that “performers engaged by Bard invariably seem energized by the prospect of extending beyond canonical routine, and by an audience that comes prepared with open ears and open minds.” As the Wall Street Journal’s Barrymore Laurence Scherer observes, the Bard Music Festival “has long been one of the most intellectually stimulating of all American summer festivals and frequently is one of the most musically satisfying.” Reviewing a recent season of the festival, the New York Times reported, “As impressive as many of the festival performances were, they were matched by the audience’s engagement: strangers met and conversed, analyzing the music they’d heard with sophistication, and a Sunday-morning panel discussion of gender issues in 19th-century culture drew a nearly full house. All told, it was a model for an enlightened society.”

Getting to the Bard Music Festival: New York City Round-Trip Bus Transportation
Round-trip bus service is provided exclusively to ticket-holders for the performances marked with an asterisk below. A reservation is required, and may be made by calling the box office at 845-758-7900. The round-trip fare is $40, and the bus departs from Lincoln Center at the times indicated:

Program 1 (Friday, August 7 at 8 pm): 3:30 pm
Program 5 (Sunday, August 9 at 5:30 pm; preconcert talk at 5 pm): 1:30 pm

Further details are available at

Bard’s sensationally popular European Spiegeltent will be open for lunch and dinner throughout “Chávez and His World,” as well as for cabaret performances by the B-52s’ Kate Pierson (August 8), Taylor Mac (August 14), and returning host, emcee, and guest curator Justin Vivian Bond (August 15).

Complete programs for Weekend One of the 2015 Bard Music Festival follow.

High-res photographs can be downloaded here.

Program details of Bard Music Festival, “Chávez and His World”
WEEKEND ONE: The Musical Voice of Mexico
Friday, August 7
Program One*
Chávez and Mexico’s Musical Heritage
Sosnoff Theater

8 pm Performance with commentary by Leon Botstein; with Daedalus Quartet; Ava Pine, soprano; Anna Polonsky, piano; Jason Vieaux, guitar; Erika Switzer, piano; Orion Weiss, piano; Members of the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director

Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
P. Danse des hommes et des machines (1926)
String Quartet No. 3 (1943)
from Ten Preludes (1937)
Xochipilli: An Imagined Aztec Music (1940)

Manuel M. Ponce (1882–1948)
Concierto del sur

Silvestre Revueltas (1899–1940)
Ranas (1931)
Toccata (sin fuga) (1933)

Songs and other works by Manuel de Sumaya (c.1678–1755); Juventino Rosas (1868–94); Felipe Villanueva (1862–93); Gustavo Campa (1863–1934); Ricardo Castro (1864–1907); Ernesto Elorduy (1854–1913); Julián Carrillo (1875–1965); and José Pablo Moncayo (1912–58)

Tickets: $25–$60

Saturday, August 8
Panel One
Culture and National Identity: The Case of Mexico
Olin Hall
10 am–noon
Leonora Saavedra, moderator; Lynda Klich; Claudio Lomnitz; Alejandro L. Madrid
Free and open to the public

Program Two
The Parisian Influence
Olin Hall
1 pm Pre-concert Talk: Byron Adams
1:30 pm Performance: Amphion String Quartet; Bradley Brookshire, harpsichord; Joseph Eletto, baritone; Benjamin Fingland, clarinet; Simon Ghraichy, piano; Brian Zeger, piano; Ava Pine, soprano; Lance Suzuki, flute; Jason Vieaux, guitar; Bard Festival Chamber Players

Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
Seis exágonos (1923–24)
Sonatina for piano (1924)
36 (1925)
Trio (1940)

Paul Dukas (1865–1935)
La plainte, au loin, du faune (1920)

Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)
5 Mélodies populaires grecques (1904–6)

José Rolón (1876–1945)
String Quartet (ca. 1920)

Manuel M. Ponce (1882–1948)
Sonata, for guitar and harpsichord (c. 1926)

Darius Milhaud (1892–1974)
Catalogue de fleurs, Op. 60 (1920)

Francis Poulenc (1899–1963)
Rapsodie nègre (1917)

Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)
Tango (1940)

Tickets: $35

Program Three
Mexico: The Crossroad of Antifascism
Sosnoff Theater
7 pm Pre-concert Talk: Sergio Vela
8 pm Performance: Jorge Federico Osorio, piano; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director

Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
Sinfonía de Antígona (1933)
Piano Concerto (1938)

Arthur Honegger (1892–1955)
Symphony No. 3 “Liturgique” (1945–46)

Silvestre Revueltas (1899–1940)
Redes (1934–35)

Conlon Nancarrow (1912–97)
Piece No. 1 for Small Orchestra

Tickets: $25–$75

Sunday, August 9
Panel TWO
Mexico and the United States: Past, Present, and Future
Olin Hall
10 am–noon
Luisa Vilar Payá, moderator; Leon Botstein; Mario Lavista; Richard Suchenski
Free and open to the public

Program Four
Music and the 10-Year Mexican Revolution
Olin Hall
1 pm Pre-concert Talk: Ricardo Miranda
1:30 pm Performance: Maria Bachmann, violin; Daedalus Quartet; Cecilia Violetta López, soprano; Nicholas Phan, tenor; Anna Polonsky, piano; Erika Switzer, piano; Benjamin Verdery, guitar; Orion Weiss, piano; Bard Festival Chamber Players

Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
Adelita y La cucaracha (1915)
Las margaritas, canción mexicana tradicional (1919)
Jarabe, baile mexicano tradicional (1922)
Three Pieces, for guitar (1923)
Sonatina, for violin and piano (1924)
Foxtrot (1925)
Cuatro melodías tradicionales indias del Ecuador (1942)

Silvestre Revueltas (1899–1940)
Tierra pa’ las macetas (c. 1924)
String Quartet No. 4 “Música de feria” (1932)
Ocho por radio (1933)

Songs and works for guitar or piano by José Rolón (1876–1945); José Pomar (1880–1961); Manuel M. Ponce (1882–1948); Tata Nacho (1894–1968); Alfonso Esparza Oteo (1894–1950); Blas Galindo (1910–93); José Pablo Moncayo (1912–58); and others

Tickets: $35

Program Five*
Music, Murals, and Puppets
Sosnoff Theater
5 pm Pre-concert Talk: Roberto Kolb-Neuhaus
5:30 pm Performance: Amphion String Quartet; Benjamin Fingland, clarinet; Cecilia Violetta López, soprano; Louis Otey, baritone; Nicholas Phan, tenor; Lance Suzuki, flute; members of the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director, and Zachary Schwartzman; projections by Tim McLoraine; lighting by JAX Messenger; costumes by Moe Schell; designed and directed by Doug Fitch; and others

Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
Suite for Double Quartet, from The Daughter of Colchis (Dark Meadow) (1943)

Manuel de Falla (1876–1946)
El retablo de
maese Pedro (1922)

Silvestre Revueltas (1899–1940)
Troka (1933)
El renacuajo paseador (1936)

Tickets: $25–$60

Weekend Two of “Chávez and His World” takes place at Bard on August 13–16.


Bard SummerScape ticket information

For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit Fisher Center members receive priority access to the best seats in advance, and those who join the Center’s email list receive advance booking opportunities as well as regular news and updates.

Bard SummerScape:
Bard Music Festival:
Tickets and Subscriptions:; or by phone at 845-758-7900. Tickets start at $25.
Updates: Bard’s “e-members” get all the news in regular updates. Click here to sign up, or send an e-mail to [email protected].

All program information is subject to change.

This season is made possible in part through the generous support of the Board of the Bard Music Festival and the Friends of the Fisher Center, as well as grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional underwriting has been provided by Jeanne Donovan Fisher, James H. Ottaway Jr., Felicitas S. Thorne, Helen and Roger Alcaly, Bettina Baruch Foundation, Michelle R. Clayman, Margo and Anthony Viscusi, and the Furthermore Foundation. Special support has also been provided by the Mrs. Mortimer Levitt Endowment Fund for the Performing Arts. The Festival thanks the Mexican Cultural Institute in New York for their support.


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© 21C Media Group, July 2015

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