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30th Anniversary Season of Bard Music Festival, “Korngold and His World,” Opens this Friday (Aug 9) with Weekend One: Korngold and Vienna

The 30th anniversary season of the Bard Music Festival – an exploration of “Korngold and His World” – opens this Friday, August 9, with Weekend One: Korngold and Vienna. The first of the weekend’s six themed concerts, Program One: Erich Wolfgang Korngold: From Viennese Prodigy to Hollywood Master,” offers a broad overview of the composer’s multi-faceted career. Excerpts from his masterly ballet-pantomime, Der Schneemann, which he completed at just eleven, will be heard alongside a selection of his songs; the virtuosic Piano Quintet in E, an early-adult success; the Overture to The Sea Hawk, the last and best of his wartime swashbucklers; the choral A Passover Psalm, a rare nod to his Jewish roots; Tomorrow, the tone poem he wrote for The Constant Nymph; and his Cello Concerto, an uncharacteristically modern work that he wrote for the Bette Davis vehicle Deception, before expanding it for concert performance in his final decade. Superstar mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, “a once-in-a-generation opera singer” (New York Times), cellist Nicholas Canellakis, a “superb young soloist” (New Yorker), pianist Piers Lane, for whom “no praise could be high enough” (Gramophone), and the Grammy-winning Parker Quartet are among the featured guest artists who join the Bard Festival Chorale, choral director James Bagwell, and The Orchestra Now (TŌN), Bard’s unique graduate training 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), Botstein also presents an illuminating talk before the performance.

As the Viennese prodigy whose lush Romanticism came to define the quintessential Hollywood sound, Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957) “may just be the greatest composer you’ve never heard of” (Independent, UK). Botstein explains:

“What was astonishing about Korngold was that – aged eleven, twelve, thirteen – he wrote music that, if you had blindfolded the hearer, they would guess that this was the work of a mature composer aged 40, aged 50, aged 60. Nothing in Mozart’s adolescent writing approximates that. And this was a child prodigy that burst on the scene in the early 20th century with an extremely complex musical language. Think of Richard Strauss, think of Mahler, think of this rich Romantic palette – and then think of a prepubescent child writing in this ecstatic, lyrical, multicolored way, music that was shockingly sophisticated.”

Click here to see Botstein talk about Korngold.

The Bard Music Festival’s signature thematic programming, multidisciplinary approach, and emphasis on context and reception history – all drawing on recent scholarship –provide the perfect platform for a reexamination of Korngold and his world. Five of Weekend One’s six programs are augmented with pre-concert talks by eminent experts, and Program Four, “Popular Music from the Cabarets, Taverns, and Salons of Korngold’s Vienna,” is accompanied by commentary from Derek Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology at England’s University of Leeds.

Presenting four relative rarities from pre-war Austria, the American Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of the season is Program Three, The Orchestral Imagination.” Festival favorite and Gilmore Young Artist Award-winner Orion Weiss joins the orchestra for Korngold’s Piano Concerto for the left hand, a stirring and melodically inventive tour de force, and Metropolitan Opera National Council finalist Erica Petrocelli is the soprano soloist in Vom ewigen Leben, a pair of lyrical Walt Whitman settings in which Franz Schreker stretched tonality to its limits. These are bookended by the atmospheric Prelude to Der Musikant by Julius Bittner, once one of Austria’s most-performed opera composers, and Alexander Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony, a monumental orchestral song cycle featuring Petrocelli and baritone Michael J. Hawk, who recently demonstrated his “commanding presence” (Los Angeles Times) in the title role of LA Opera’s world premiere production of Moses.

Additional events shed further light on Austrian late-Romanticism. Program Two, “Teachers, Admirers, and Influences,” pairs Korngold’s early chamber works, like the superlative Sextet in D he wrote at 17, with chamber and vocal music by some of the composers most prominent in the Vienna of his youth. These include his teacher Zemlinsky, his great friend and colleague Joseph Marx, his fellow students Karl Weigl and Alma Mahler, the legendary pedagogue Robert Fuchs, and leading lights Max Reger and Hans Gál. Likewise Program Five, Before the Reich: Korngold and Fellow Conservatives presents chamber music from between the wars by the composer and some of his less revolutionary contemporaries, including Franz Schmidt, Josef Labor, and Hungary’s Ernst von Dohnányi.

To round out the opening weekend, Program Six, “Operetta’s America,” explores the impact of the New World on classic Viennese operetta, for which America provided both new audiences and new inspirations. Excerpts will be heard from such seldom-programmed fare as Leo Fall’s Rosen aus Florida, which Korngold recreated from incomplete sketches provided by the composer’s widow; Fall’s The Dollar Princess; Emmerich Kálmán’s Die Herzogin von Chicago, which mingles Viennese waltz with jazz; and Oscar Straus’s Hochzeit in Hollywood, the basis for a subsequent musical film. The program features “breathtaking” South Korean soprano So Young Park (Arts Beat LA), “outstanding” mezzo-soprano Rebecca Ringle Kamarei (Washington Post), the “vibrant tenor” of Frederick Ballentine (Opera News), “superb” tenor William Ferguson (The Times of London), and “impeccable” baritone Tyler Duncan (New Yorker), together with members of the Bard Festival Chorale and TŌN, under the baton of resident conductor Zachary Schwartzman.

Complementing Weekend One’s offerings is a panel discussion on “Korngold and the Phenomenon of the Child Prodigy,” for which co-artistic directors Botstein and Christopher Gibbs will be joined by Korngold biographer Jessica Duchen and Michael Haas, author of Forbidden Music: The Jewish Composers Banned by the Nazis.

Critical acclaim:

“A hotbed of intellectual and aesthetic adventure”
– New York Times

“Bard SummerScape and Bard Music Festival always unearth piles of buried treasure.”
New York

“One of the ‘10 Can’t-Miss Classical Music Festivals’”

“Simply irresistible: a fabulous wealth of music by a major composer from the classical tradition, surrounded and contextualized with works by forebears, peers, colleagues, friends, enemies, students, followers – you name it.”
– Steve Smith

“The talks and panels are nearly as well attended as the concerts: this audience wants to think about the music, not merely bathe in it.”
New Yorker

“One of the most intellectually stimulating of all American summer festivals and frequently … one of the most musically satisfying.”
Wall Street Journal

“Nothing quite compares to the fascinating summer programs popping out of Leon Botstein’s brain.”
Bloomberg News

“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.” – New York Times

Getting to the Bard Music Festival: NYC round-trip bus transportation

Round-trip bus service is provided exclusively to ticket-holders for the performances marked with an asterisk below (Programs 1 and 6). The round-trip fare is $40, and reservations are required; they may be made by calling the box office at 845-758-7900. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Further details are available at

Complete programs for Weekend One of the 2019 Bard Music Festival follow.

To download high-resolution photographs, click here.

This season of the Bard Music Festival 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 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, and the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust. Special support has also been provided by the Mrs. Mortimer Levitt Endowment Fund for the Performing Arts, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and donors to the BMF endowment.

Program details of Bard Music Festival, “Korngold and His World”

WEEKEND ONE: Korngold and Vienna

Friday, August 9
Tickets include a pre-performance dinner in the Spiegeltent and a premium seat for the evening’s concert. (NB: The Spiegeltent will be closed for regular dining on the evening of the dinner.) 

Erich Wolfgang Korngold: From Viennese Prodigy to Hollywood Master
Sosnoff Theater
7:30pm Preconcert Talk: Leon Botstein
8pm Performance: Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano; Nicholas Canellakis, cello; Piers Lane, piano; Marjorie Owens, soprano; Parker Quartet; Erica Petrocelli, soprano; Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957)
From Der Schneemann (1908–9)
Piano Quintet in E, Op. 15 (1921–22)
Overture to The Sea Hawk (1940)
   A Passover Psalm, Op. 30 (1941)
Tomorrow, Op. 33 (1944)
Cello Concerto in C, Op. 37 (1946)

Tickets: $25–$75

Saturday, August 10

Korngold and the Phenomenon of the Child Prodigy
Olin Hall

Panel discussion: Christopher H. Gibbs, moderator; Leon Botstein; Jessica Duchen; Michael Haas

Free and open to the public

Teachers, Admirers, and Influences
Olin Auditorium
1pm Preconcert Talk: David Brodbeck
1:30pm Performance: Jonathon Comfort, baritone; Elaine Daiber, soprano; Kayo Iwama, piano; Piers Lane, piano; Parker Quartet and guests

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957)
From Sieben Märchenbilder, Op. 3 (1910)
Passacaglia, from Piano Sonata No. 1 in D minor (1908–9)
Sextet in D, Op. 10 (1914–16)
Max Reger (1873–1916)
Clarinet Quintet in A, Op. 146 (1915–16)
Hans Gál (1890–1987)
From Three Sketches, Op. 7 (1910)
Songs by Robert Fuchs (1847–1927); Alma Mahler (1879–1964); Joseph Marx (1882–1964);
Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871–1942); Wilhelm Kienzl (1857–1941); and Karl Weigl (1881–1949)

Tickets: $25­–$55

The Orchestral Imagination
Sosnoff Theater
7pm Preconcert Talk: Christopher Hailey
8pm Performance: Erica Petrocelli, soprano; Michael J. Hawk, baritone; Orion Weiss, piano; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957)
Piano Concerto in C-sharp, for the left hand, Op. 17 (1923)
Julius Bittner (1874–1939)
Prelude to Der Musikant (1909)
Franz Schreker (1878–1934)
Vom ewigen Leben (1923/1927) (Whitman)
Alexander Zemlinsky (1871–1942)
   Lyric Symphony, Op. 18 (1922–23)

Tickets: $25–$75

Sunday, August 11

Popular Music from the Cabarets, Taverns, and Salons of Korngold’s Vienna
Olin Hall
10am Performance with commentary by Derek Scott; with So Young Park, soprano; William Ferguson, tenor; Jordan Frazier, double bass; Kayo Iwama, piano; Kobi Malkin, violin

Popular and street songs and songs from film and stage by Johann Strauss II (1825–99); Leon Jessel (1871–1942); Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951); Robert Stolz (1880–1975); Ralph Benatzky (1884–1957); Friedrich Hollaender (1896–1976); Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957); Ernst Krenek (1900–91); and others

Tickets: $25–$55

Before the Reich: Korngold and Fellow Conservatives
Olin Hall
1pm Preconcert Talk: Kevin C. Karnes
1:30pm Performance: Nuno Antunes, clarinet; Aaron Boyd, violin; Danny Driver, piano; Tyler Duncan, baritone; Horszowski Trio; Marka Gustavsson, viola; Erika Switzer, piano; Gilles Vonsattel, piano

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957)
Much Ado About Nothing Suite, Op. 11 (1918–19)
Suite, for two violins, cello, and piano left hand, Op. 23 (1930)
Franz Schmidt (1874–1939)
Toccata, for piano left hand (1938)
Walter Braunfels (1882–1954)
From 14 Preludes, Op. 33 (1921)
Josef Labor (1842–1924)
Piano Quintet in D, Op. 11 (1900)
Ernst von Dohnányi (1877–1960)
Pastorale on a Hungarian Christmas Tune, for piano solo (1920)
Songs by Othmar Schoeck (1886–1957)

Tickets: $25–$55

Operetta’s America
Sosnoff Theater
4:30pm Preconcert Talk: Micaela Baranello
5pm Performance: So Young Park, soprano; Rebecca Ringle Kamarei, mezzo-soprano; Frederick Ballentine, tenor; William Ferguson, tenor; Tyler Duncan, baritone; members of the Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; The Orchestra Now, conducted by Zachary Schwartzman

Selections from
Leo Fall (1873–1925)/ Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957), Rosen aus Florida (1929)
Leo Fall/Jerome Kern (1885–1945), The Dollar Princess (1909)
Oscar Straus (1870–1954), Hochzeit in Hollywood (1929)
Emmerich Kálmán (1882–1953), Die Herzogin von Chicago (1928)
Paul Abraham (1892–1960), Die Blume von Hawaii (1931)
Bruno Granichstaedten (1879–1944), Reklame! (1930); and others

Tickets: $25–$75

Weekend Two of “Korngold and His World” takes place at Bard on August 16–18.

Bard SummerScape ticket information

Tickets for all Bard SummerScape events are now on sale. For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit

SummerScape opera, theater, and dance performances and most Bard Music Festival programs are held in the Sosnoff Theater or LUMA Theater in Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and celebrated since its opening as a major architectural landmark in the region. Some chamber programs and other BMF events are in Olin Auditorium, and the Spiegeltent has its own schedule of events, in addition to serving as a restaurant, café, and bar before and after performances. Film Series screenings are at the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center in the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Center.

New York City Round-Trip Coach Transportation:
To make a reservation on the round-trip SummerScape coach provided exclusively to ticket holders for specific performances indicated by * in the listings above, call the box office at 845-758-7900 or select this option when purchasing tickets. The round-trip fare is $40 and reservations are required. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Find additional details at:

Full Schedule:
For a complete schedule of SummerScape and Bard Music Festival events (subject to change), follow the links given below. Updates are posted at the festival web site

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 to all mainstage events start at $25.

Subscription Offers:

Create Your Own Series:
Save 25% and enjoy maximum flexibility, by choosing four or more events.

Dining Packages:
Out-of-Town Package:
Save $30 on a mainstage ticket, roundtrip bus from New York City, and three-course meal.
Night Out Package:
Save $20 on a mainstage ticket (selected performances only) and three-course meal.

Updates: Bard’s “e-subscribers” get all the news in regular updates. Click here to sign up, or send an e-mail to [email protected].

All programs are subject to change.

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© 21C Media Group, August 2019

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