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Bard Music Festival “Sibelius and His World” Weekend Two opens Friday, August 19

Sibelius: Conservative or Modernist?”, the second and final weekend of the 22nd annual Bard Music Festival, confronts Sibelius’s reputation, reception, and influence in Europe and America after the First World War.  The opening event, at 10 am on Friday, August 19, is a free symposium on “Architecture, Design, and Finnish Identity” moderated by Nina Stritzler-Levine, which is followed by a special free screening of Finnish short films, including the American premiere of Luonnotar.  The evening’s chamber program presents a spectrum of responses to issues of “Nordic Purity, Aryan Fantasies, and Music,” with works by Sibelius, the politically-charged Song of the Athenians (1899) among them, alongside music by Bruckner, Beach, Atterberg, Hanson, and Yrjö Kilpinen.  Five of the weekend’s six programs are augmented by a pre-concert talk from a distinguished scholar, namely Byron Adams, Christopher H. Gibbs, Veijo Murtomäki, Anne-Marie Reynolds, and Richard Wilson, while Daniel Grimley provides a commentary on the sixth, which investigates the use of folksong in 20th-century composition.  Leon Botstein, co-artistic director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, conducts the resident American Symphony Orchestra in the weekend’s two orchestral programs, and singers Jennifer Johnson Cano and Tyler Duncan; pianists Anna Polonsky and Orion Weiss; violinist Eric Wyrick; and the Daedalus Quartet are among the many notable musicians who perform.
Further chamber programs contextualize Sibelius among the most important of his Finnish contemporaries and among those who, like him, rejected the modernist challenge, favoring the lush harmonies of late Romanticism.  A free panel discussion on Sunday morning, moderated by Ian Buruma and numbering Botstein among the panelists, continues investigating “Sibelius and the 20th Century.”
The American Symphony Orchestra’s first concert, “The Heritage of Symbolism,” is on Saturday night, and presents vocal soloists Yulia Van Doren and Tyler Duncan in Nielsen’s Third Symphony, on a program featuring Sibelius’s dark and intense Fourth Symphony, with which it is exactly contemporaneous.  Round-trip transportation by coach from Columbus Circle for this performance is available exclusively to ticket-holders (call 845-758-7900 or visit for details).  The ASO’s closing program, on Sunday afternoon, is titled “Silence and Influence.”  It includes Sibelius’s final published symphony, the commanding, single-movement Seventh, and his last orchestral masterpiece, the tone poem Tapiola, which portrays the terrifying spirit (Tapio) lying behind the stark Finnish pine-forests that enveloped his isolated home.
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 Two of the 2011 Bard Music Festival follow.
Program details of Bard Music Festival, “Sibelius and His World”
Weekend Two, August 19—21: Sibelius: Conservative or Modernist?
Friday, August 19
Architecture, Design, and Finnish Identity
Multipurpose room, Bertelsmann Campus Center
10:00 am—12 noon
1:30 pm—3:30 pm
Nina Stritzler-Levine, moderator
Free and open to the public
Special Event
Finnish Short Films
Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center
4:30 pm
Including the American premiere of Luonnotar, written and directed by Marikki Hakola, Finland’s preeminent video artist.
Free and open to the public. Reservations required.
Nordic Purity, Aryan Fantasies, and Music
Sosnoff Theater
7:30 pm            Pre-concert talk: Byron Adams
8:00 pm            Performance: Daedalus Quartet; Alexandra Knoll, oboe; Anna Polonsky, piano; Orion Weiss, piano; Bard Festival Chamber Players; and others
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   The Wood Nymph, Op. 15 (1895)
   Song of the Athenians, Op. 31/3 (1899)
   Works for brass
Anton Bruckner (1824–96)
   From Symphony No. 3 in D minor, arr. for piano duet (1878; arr. Mahler 1879)
Amy Beach (1867–1944)
   Eskimos, Op. 64 (1907)
Kurt Atterberg (1887–1974)
   Piano Quintet, Op. 31bis (1928/1942)
Howard Hanson (1896–1981)
   Pastorale, Op. 38 (1949)
Songs by Yrjö Kilpinen (1892–1959)
Tickets: $25/35/45/55
Saturday, August 20

From the Nordic Folk
Olin Hall
10:00 am            Performance with commentary by Daniel Grimley; with Piia Kleemola, violin; Anna Polonsky, piano; Sophie Shao, cello; Pei-Yao Wang, piano; Orion Weiss, piano
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   Six Finnish Folksongs (1902–03)
Edvard Grieg (1843–1907)
   From Slatter (Norwegian Peasant Dances), Op. 72 (1902–03)
   Klokkeklang, Op. 54/6 (1889–91)
Percy Grainger (1882–1961)
   From La Scandinavie (Scandinavian Suite) (1902)
Belá Bartók (1881–1945)
   From 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 79 (1914, 1918)
Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)
   La vallée des cloches (1904–05)
Karol Szymanowski (1882–1937)
   From Mazurkas, Op. 50 (1924–26)
Toivo Kuula (1883–1918)
   Folksong arrangements for violin and piano, Op. 3a (1906)
Tickets: $30
Finnish Modern
Olin Hall
1:00 pm            Pre-concert talk: Veijo Murtomäki
1:30 pm            Performance: Daedalus Quartet; Bard Festival Chamber Players; Anna Polonsky, piano, and others
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   String Quartet “Voces intimae,” in D minor, Op. 56 (1909)
Erkki Melartin (1875–1937)
   String Trio, Op. 133 (1926–27)
Leevi Madetoja (1887–1947)
   Syksy (Autumn), Op. 68 (1930–40)
Aarre Merikanto (1893–1958)
   “Schott” Concerto (1924)
Tickets: $35
The Heritage of Symbolism*
Sosnoff Theater
7:00 pm             Pre-concert talk: Anne-Marie Reynolds
8:00 pm             Performance: Yulia Van Doren, soprano; Tyler Duncan, baritone; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   The Oceanides, Op. 73 (1914)
   The Swan of Tuonela and Lemminkäinen’s Return, from Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22 (1895,
      rev. 1897, 1900)
   Symphony No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 63 (1911)
Carl Nielsen (1865–1931)
   Symphony No. 3, Op. 27 (Sinfonia espansiva) (1910–11)
Väinö Raitio (1891–1945)
   Joutsenet (The Swans), Op. 15 (1919)
Tickets: $30/50/60/75
*Round-trip transportation from Manhattan to Bard is available for this performance.  Fare is $25.  Reservations are required.
Sibelius and the 20th Century
Olin Hall
10 am – 12 noon
Ian Buruma, moderator; Leon Botstein; Tomi Mäkelä; Jann Pasler
Free and open to the public
Nostalgia and the Challenge of Modernity
Olin Hall
1:00 pm             Pre-concert talk: Richard Wilson
1:30 pm             Performance: Mary Caponegro, narrator; Melvin Chen, piano; Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano; Eric Wyrick, violin; Faculty and students of the Bard College Conservatory of Music; and others
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   Violin Sonatina in E, Op. 80 (1916)
   Five Esquisses, Op. 114 (1929)
   The Lonely Ski Trail (1925)
Richard Strauss (1864–1949)
   Sonatina No. 1 “Aus der Werkstatt eines Invaliden” (1943)
Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936)
   Il Tramonto (The Sunset) (1914)
Tickets: $30
Silence and Influence
Sosnoff Theater
3:30 pm             Pre-concert talk: Christopher H. Gibbs
4:30 pm             Performance: American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
   Tapiola, Op. 112 (1926)
   Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 105 (1924)
Samuel Barber (1910–81)
   Symphony No. 1, Op. 9 (1936)
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958)
   Symphony No. 5 in D Major (1938–43, rev. 1951)           
Tickets: $30/50/60/75
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.
For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit
All program information is subject to change.



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