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Bard Music Festival “Sibelius and His World” opens Friday, August 12

The 22nd annual Bard Music Festival opens here on Friday, August 12 for Weekend One: Sibelius and His World – Imagining Finland.  Leon Botstein, co-artistic director of the Bard Music Festival, delivers a pre-concert talk before leading the resident American Symphony Orchestra in an orchestral tour-de-force. Program One, “Jean Sibelius: National Symbol, International Iconoclast”, features two symphonic milestones: the Third Symphony (1907), which eschews grandiose Romanticism for clean, clear development and an almost Classical economy of gesture, and the life-affirming Symphony No. 5 (1915-19), whose defiantly consonant sonorities and rousing themes have helped ensure its enduring popularity.  Usually hailed as the sole and quintessential representative of Finnish music, here Sibelius will be delineated with greater accuracy as a complex, contradictory figure, whose first language was Swedish, not Finnish; who studied in Berlin and Vienna, not just Helsinki; and who wrote some of his most characteristically Nordic music while traveling in the southern warmth of Italy.  He will be contextualized among his Finnish and Scandinavian predecessors and contemporaries, from such well-known figures as Grieg and Nielsen to less familiar ones like Robert Kajanus and Toivo Kuula, as well as among his colleagues in Europe and North America.  Five of the first weekend’s six programs are augmented with pre-concert talks by distinguished scholars, namely Christopher Hailey, Glenda Dawn Goss, Jeffrey Kallberg, Marina Kostalevsky, and Botstein himself; Botstein also joins eminent psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison before Program Four, to discuss addiction, depression, and creativity.  As in previous seasons, Weekend One’s choral programs feature the Bard Festival Chorale directed by James Bagwell, while the impressive roster of performers includes singers Christiane Libor, Melis Jaatinen, and John Hancock; pianists Jeremy Denk, Pei-Yao Wang, and Orion Weiss; violinists Henning Kraggerud, Erica Kiesewetter, and Harumi Rhodes; and cellists Robert Martin and Jonathan Spitz.
During this first weekend (a second follows on August 19–21), additional events shed further light on “Imagining Finland”, exploring Sibelius’s early years and the influence of those who sought to define Finnish and Scandinavian culture.  Although Sibelius lived to the venerable age of 91, as a composer he fell all but silent for the last three decades of his life, and Weekend One audiences can take in a panel discussion on “Why Did He Fall Silent?: The Public and Private Sibelius”.  “To the Finland Station: Sibelius and Russia” – the weekend’s final program, on Sunday at 5:30 pm – explores the music of Finland’s huge and dominant neighbor through chamber works by Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Rachmaninov, and Rimsky-Korsakov alongside two by Sibelius, including the Canzonetta, Op. 62a (1911, arr. Stravinsky, 1963).  Round-trip transportation by coach from Columbus Circle for the Sunday late-afternoon performance is available exclusively to ticket-holders (call 845-758-7900 or visit for details).
Rarities offered over the weekend include Sibelius’s neglected but masterly Humoresques for violin and orchestra (1917); songs by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Frederick Delius, and Alma Mahler; and chamber works by Sibelius’s teachers, among them legendary pedagogue Robert Fuchs.
Critical acclaim:
The Wall Street Journal has observed that 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 previous season of the festival, a critic for 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.”
Complete programs for Weekend One of the 2011 Bard Music Festival follow.
Program details of Bard Music Festival, “Sibelius and His World”
Weekend One, August 12—14: Imagining Finland
Friday, August 12
Jean Sibelius: National Symbol, International Iconoclast
Sosnoff Theater
7:00 pm            Pre-concert talk: Leon Botstein
8:00 pm            Performance: Henning Kraggerud, violin; Christiane Libor, soprano; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   Finlandia, Op. 26 (1900)
   From Humoresques, Opp. 87 and 89 (1917)
   Luonnotar, Op. 70 (1913)
   Symphony No. 3 in C, Op. 52 (1907)
   Symphony No. 5 in E-flat, Op. 82 (1915, rev. 1916 and 1919)
Tickets: $30/50/60/75
Saturday, August 13
Panel One
Why Did He Fall Silent?: The Public and Private Sibelius
Olin Hall
10:00 am – 12 noon
Christopher H. Gibbs, moderator; Scott Burnham; Glenda Dawn Goss; Vesa Sirén
Free and open to the public
Berlin and Vienna: The Artist as a Young Man
Olin Hall
1:00 pm            Pre-concert talk: Christopher Hailey
1:30 pm            Performance: Edward Arron, cello; Jeremy Denk, piano; Jesse Mills, violin; Pei-Yao Wang, piano; and others
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   Seven Songs (Runeberg), Op. 13 (1891–92)
   Piano Quintet in G minor (1890)
Karl Goldmark (1830–1915)
   Cello Sonata in F, Op. 39 (1892)
Albert Becker (1834–1899)
   Adagio religioso No. 7, Op. 94 (1898)
Robert Fuchs (1847–1927)
   String Trio, Op. 61, No. 1 (1898)
Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924)
   From Ten Chorale Preludes (1907–91)
Tickets: $35
Kalevala: Myth and the Birth of a Nation
Sosnoff Theater
7:00 pm            Pre-concert talk: Glenda Dawn Goss
8:00 pm            Performance: Christiane Libor, soprano; John Hancock, baritone; Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island, Op. 22 (1895; rev. 1897, 1939)
   Kullervo, choral symphony, Op. 7 (1891–92)
Robert Kajanus (1856–1933)
   Aino, symphonic poem (1885)
Tickets: $30/50/60/75
Sunday, August 14
White Nights—Dark Mornings: Creativity, Depression, and Addiction
Olin Hall
10:00 am            With Kay Redfield Jamison in conversation with Leon Botstein; with Gustav Djupsjöbacka, piano; Erica Kiesewetter, violin; Robert Martin, cello; Nicholas Phan, tenor; Pei-Yao Wang, piano; and others 
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   Svartsjukans Nätter (Nights of Jealousy) (1888)
   Valse triste, Op. 44/1 (1904)
Edvard Grieg (1843–1907)
   From Lyric Pieces, Op. 54 (1889–91)
Songs by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (1867–1942), Frederick Delius (1862–1934); Hans Pfitzner (1869–1949); Alma Mahler (1879–1964); and Jean Sibelius
Tickets: $30
Aurora Borealis: Nature and Music in Finland and Scandinavia
Olin Hall
1:00 pm            Pre-concert talk: Jeffrey Kallberg
1:30 pm            Performance: Members of the Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; Gustav Djupsjöbacka, piano; Marka Gustavsson, viola; Melis Jaatinen, mezzo-soprano; Robert Martin, cello; Harumi Rhodes, violin; Sharon Roffman, violin
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   Six Part Songs, Op. 18 (1895–1904)
Johan Svendsen (1840–1911)
   Romance, for violin and piano (1881)
Edvard Grieg (1843–1907)
   Haugtussa, Op. 67 (1895)
Christian Sinding (1856–1941)
   Rustle of Spring, Op. 32/3 (1896)
Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871–1927)
   Quartet No. 4 in A minor, Op. 25 (1904–09)
Songs by Toivo Kuula (1883–1918)
Tickets: $35
To the Finland Station: Sibelius and Russia*
Sosnoff Theater
5:00 pm            Pre-concert talk: Marina Kostalevsky
5:30 pm            Performance: Marka Gustavsson, viola; Christiane Libor, soprano; Melis Jaatinen, mezzo-soprano; Robert Martin, cello; Nicholas Phan, tenor; Harumi Rhodes, violin; Sharon Roffman, violin; Jonathan Spitz, cello; Gilles Vonsattel, piano; Pei-Yao Wang, piano; Orion Weiss, piano; Bard Festival Chamber Players
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   Kyllikki, Op. 41 (1904)
   Canzonetta, Op. 62a (1911, arr. Stravinsky, 1963)
Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840–93)
   From Duets, Op. 46 (1880)
Aleksandr Glazunov (1865–1936)
   String Quintet in A major, Op. 39 (1891–92)
Sergey Rachmaninov (1873–1943)
   Suite No. 2, Op. 17 (1900-01)
Songs by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908) and Jean Sibelius
Tickets: $25/35/45/55
*Round-trip transportation from Manhattan to Bard is available for this performance.  Fare is $25.  Reservations are required.
Weekend Two of “Sibelius and His World” takes place at Bard on August 19-21.
Bard SummerScape ticket information
The Bard SummerScape Festival is made possible through the generous support of the Advisory Boards of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and the Bard Music Festival, and the Friends of the Fisher Center.
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
Bard SummerScape:
Bard Music Festival:
Tickets: [email protected]; or by phone at 845-758-7900
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All program information is subject to change.





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