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Final Weekend of 26th Bard Music Festival, “Carlos Chávez and His World,” Opens Thursday, August 13


Carlos Chávez (portrait by David Alfaro Siqueiros, 1948)

Carlos Chávez (portrait by David Alfaro Siqueiros, 1948)

The second and final weekend of the 26th annual Bard Music Festival – an exploration of “Carlos Chávez and His World” – opens on Thursday, August 13. Offering an immersion in Mexico, Latin America, and Modernism, the weekend kicks off with a trio of special events, comprising an illuminating survey of new music by today’s leading Latin American composers; a program featuring works that Chávez and his contemporaries arranged for concerts at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1940, performed by the Pasatono Orquesta from Oaxaca; and a screening of The Other Conquest (“La Otra Conquista,” 1999), which dramatizes the aftermath of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico from the Aztec perspective. Next follows the weekend’s first Sosnoff Theater concert, “East and West,” addressing the influence of Eastern thought on music for percussion ensemble by Cage, Harrison, McPhee, Cowell, Chávez, and others. The weekend’s other highlights include a pair of programs showcasing the American Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of music director and festival co-artistic director Leon Botstein, who was recently recognized as “one of the most remarkable figures in the worlds of arts and culture” (THIRTEEN’s NYC-Arts). The first – “Reimagined Landscapes and Pasts” – couples Chávez’s one-movement masterwork, Sinfonía india, with comparably evocative attempts to reconstruct Latin America’s pre-colonial roots by Revueltas, Moncayo, and Villa-Lobos, while the second – “Musical Culture of the Hemisphere” – celebrates Mexican and Latin American nationalism through key orchestral works by Chávez, Nepomuceno, Carrillo, and Ginastera, drawing the 26th season of the Bard Music Festival – and the entire eight weeks of Bard SummerScape – to a thrilling close.

Two chamber programs further contextualize Chávez. “New York New York” pays tribute to his close association with the city’s music scene in the wake of the Harlem Renaissance, while “Post-World War II Latin America” pairs excerpts from his Five Caprichos with compositions by such of his contemporaries as Piazzolla, Ginastera, Cordero, and Garrido-Lecca. Finally, “Sacred and Secular Choral Music from Five Centuries” investigates Mexico’s long, rich, but little-known choral tradition, alongside other choral music of the New World.

A free panel discussion on Saturday morning, moderated by Melanie Nicholson, author of Surrealism in Latin American Literature, considers “Mexico and Latin America,” and five of the weekend’s six programs are augmented by pre-concert talks from distinguished experts, namely Kyle Gann, co-artistic director Christopher H. Gibbs, Richard Wilson, Walter Clark, and Bard’s Scholar-in-Residence Leonora Saavedra.

As in previous seasons, Weekend Two’s choral programs feature the Bard Festival Chorale directed by James Bagwell. Among the many other notable musicians performing are sopranos Nicole Cabell, winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, and Sarah Shafer, “a singer to watch” (Opera News); Randolph Bowman, Principal Flutist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Romie de Guise-Langlois, “a formidable clarinetist”  (New York Times); pianists Lucille Chung and Alessio Bax, “clearly among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone); the Grammy Award-winning Harlem Quartet; and So Percussion members Eric Cha-Beach, Joshua Quillen, and Adam Sliwinski.

Click here to see Leon Botstein talk about Chávez and music in Latin America, and here to see a video preview of the 26th Bard Music Festival, titled “Five Things You Don’t Know About Carlos Chávez.”

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Recent successes at Bard SummerScape 2015

The second weekend of the Bard Music Festival caps an enormously successful season for Bard SummerScape. The festival debut of Pam Tanowitz Dance prompted a five-star review from the Financial Times, while of its centerpiece – the world premiere of a new solo for Ashley Tuttle set to the music of Chávez – the Arts Journal’s Deborah Jowitt observed:

“Tanowitz is remarkable for her skillful reimagining of formal devices … while teasing them in various ways and introducing non-balletic ones to jostle them a bit. … What we see is a superb dancer firmly and gently on the prowl in a territory both familiar and unfamiliar. She wears her virtuosity as if it were made of silk.”

Similarly, the New York Times pronounced director Daniel Fish’s original take on Oklahoma! a “vibrant, essential excavation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 classic.” The review continued:

“Mr. Fish’s approach is surprisingly respectful. … The emotional intricacy and shading within the score has seldom come across so poignantly. … In stripping down a costume classic to a state of emotional nakedness, Mr. Fish allows us to experience a revelation about Oklahoma!

As for Bard’s first fully-staged American production of The Wreckers, the foremost opera by Dame Ethel Smyth, the New York Times found:

“As a synthesis of political activism and art, The Wreckers is extraordinarily successful. Draped in the luxuriant cloth of late Romanticism, Smyth presents a moral drama about social justice and personal courage that remains unsettling.”

In a five-star review, BachTrack stated:

“We’ll not hear a finer performance of this work again soon. Major kudos go to Leon Botstein, who has championed the work for years and leads the American Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (under the masterful James Bagwell) in a performance that thrills.”

The Wall Street Journal agreed:

“The accomplished music, Wagnerian in scope and full of fierce choruses and orchestral drama, held up well under the direction of conductor Leon Botstein and chorus master James Bagwell. … Mr. Strassberger’s direction kept the energy high.”

As the Boston Musical Intelligencer concluded, “This work deserves to be in the standard repertory. … Botstein is nothing less than a visionary in bringing Smyth’s opera to light.

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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 6 (Friday, August 14 at 8 pm ; preconcert talk at 7:30 pm): 3:30 pm
Program 11 (Sunday, August 16 at 4:30 pm; preconcert talk at 3:30 pm): 12:00 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 Taylor Mac (August 14) and returning host, emcee, and guest curator Justin Vivian Bond (August 15).

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


Bard Music Festival

WEEKEND TWO: Mexico, Latin America, and Modernism
Thursday, August 13

Music by Contemporary Latin American Composers
LUMA Theater
7:30 pm Performance: Contemporaneous
Esteban Benzecry (b. 1970): Fantasia Mastay (2010)
Enrico Chapela (b. 1974): Li Po (2009)
Angélica Negrón (b. 1981) bubblegum grass / peppermint field (2011)
Vicente Alexim (b. 1987) Impulses (2015)
Itzam Zapata (b. 1989) Blooming Stardust (2013)
Andrés Martinez de Velasco ’15 (b. 1991) Espacios y Distancias (or Homenaje accidental a Albert Einstein) (2015)
Tickets: $25

Friday, August 14
The Other Conquest
Ottaway Film Center
3 pm: Film screening
The Other Conquest (“La Otra Conquista”), dir. Salvador Carrasco ’91
Free and open to the public

Orquesta Mexicana
Olin Hall
5 pm Performance: Pasatono Orquesta
Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
Xochipilli: An Imagined Aztec Music (1940)
Marcha, Vals, Canción (n.d.)
Cantos de México (1933)
La paloma azul (1940)
Blas Galindo (1910–93)
Sones de Mariachi (arr. 1940)
Luis Sandi (1901–96)
Yaqui Music (arr. 1940)
Rubén Luengas
Jarabe Ka’nu: Five Joyful Musics from the Country of Clouds, dance suite
Enrico Chapela (b. 1974)
Wind and Poet Dancing
Tickets: $25

Program SIX*
East and West
Sosnoff Theater
7:30 pm Pre-concert Talk: Kyle Gann
8 pm Performance: Alessio Bax, piano; Lucille Chung, piano; Zohar Schondorf, horn; Jessica Thompson, viola; Eric Cha-Beach, Joshua Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and students of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, percussion; Catskill Mountain Gamelan
John Cage/Lou Harrison
Double Music (1941)
Colin McPhee (1900–64)
Balinese Ceremonial Music (transcr. 1934)
Lou Harrison (1917–2003)
Threnody for Carlos Chávez (1979)
Main Bersama-sama (1978)
Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
Toccata (1942)
Henry Cowell (1897–1965)
Ostinato pianissimo (1934)
Amadeo Roldán (1900–39)
Rítmicas 5 and 6 (1930)
John Cage (1912–92)
Construction 3 (1939–42)
Edgard Varèse (1883–1965)
Ionisation (1929–31)
Tickets: $25–$60

Saturday, August 15
Mexico and Latin America
Olin Hall
10 am–noon
Melanie Nicholson, moderator; Miles Rodríguez; Roberto Sierra; Edward J. Sullivan
Free and open to the public

Program SEVEN
“New York New York”
Olin Hall
1 pm Pre-concert Talk: Christopher H. Gibbs
1:30 pm Performance: Alessio Bax, piano; Randolph Bowman, flute; Daedalus Quartet; Lucille Chung, piano; Simon Ghraichy, piano; Ieva Jokubaviciute, piano; Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet; Sarah Shafer, soprano
Edgard Varèse (1883–1965)
Density 21.5 (1936)
Dane Rudhyar (1895–1985)
Three Paeans (1927)
Ruth Crawford (1901–53)
From Nine Preludes (1924–28)
Henry Cowell (1897–1965)
The Tides of Manaunaun (1917)
Virgil Thomson (1896–1989)
Five Phrases from the Song of Solomon (1926)
Roger Sessions (1896–1985)
On the Beach at Fontana (1930)
Israel Citkowitz (1909–74)
From Five Songs for Voice and Piano (1930)
Paul Bowles (1910–99)
Once a Lady Was Here (1946)
Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
Piano Sonata No. 3 (1928)
Blues (1928)
Fox (1928)
North Carolina Blues (1942)
William Grant Still (1895–1978)
The Blues, from Lenox Avenue (1937)
Silvestre Revueltas (1899–1940)
Canto para una muchacha negra (1938)
Henry Cowell (1897–1965)
Quartet Euphometric (1919)
Aaron Copland (1900–90)
Sextet (1937)
Tickets: $35

Program EIGHT
Reimagined Landscapes and Pasts
Sosnoff Theater
7 pm Pre-concert Talk: Leonora Saavedra
8 pm Performance: Nicole Cabell, soprano; Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Silvestre Revueltas (1899–1940)
Cuauhnáhuac (1930)
José Pablo Moncayo (1912–58)
Three Pieces for Orchestra (1947)
Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
Sinfonía india (1935)
Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887–1959)
Amazonas (1917)
Forest of the Amazon (1958)
Tickets: $25–$75

Sunday, August 16
 Program NINE
Sacred and Secular Choral Music from Five Centuries
Olin Hall
10 am: Performance with commentary, with Bard Festival Chorale, conducted by James Bagwell, choral director; Alexander Bonus, organ
Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla (c. 1590–1664)
Deus in adjutorium (n.d.)
Hernando Franco (1532–85)
Salve Regina (n.d.)
Francisco López Capillas (1614–73)
Alleluia Dic nobis Maria (n.d.)
Manuel de Sumaya (c. 1678–1755)
Hieremiae Prophetae Lamentationes (c. 1717)
Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla
Missa Ego flos campi (n.d.)
Juan Bautista Plaza (1898–1965)
Cogeremos flores (1928)
Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
Arbolucu, te sequeste (1942)
From Three Nocturnes (1942)
A Woman Is a Worthy Thing (1942)
Manuel de Falla (1876–1946)
Balada de Mallorca (1933)
Aaron Copland (1900–1990)
Las Agachadas (1942)
Tickets starting at $30

Program TEN
Post-World War II Latin America
Olin Hall
1 pm Preconcert Talk: Richard Wilson
1:30 pm Performance: Harlem Quartet; Giora Schmidt, violin; Jordan Frazier, double bass; Ieva Jokubaviciute, piano; Orion Weiss, piano; Simon Ghraichy, piano; Javier Diaz, bongos; Scott Kuney, guitar; Raul Jaurena, bandoneón
Gabriela Ortiz (b. 1964)
Patios serenos, for solo piano (1985)
Roberto Sierra (b. 1953)
Bongo-O (1982, rev. 2003)
Celso Garrido-Lecca (b. 1926)
String Quartet No. 2 (1988)
Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
From Five Caprichos, for piano (1975)
Roque Cordero (1917–2008)
Rapsodia panameña (1988)
Alberto Ginastera (1916–83)
Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 22 (1952)
Ástor Piazzolla (1921–92)
“Invierno Porteño” (Winter) from The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (1965–70)
Oblivion (1984)
Tickets: $35

Program ELEVEN*
Musical Culture of the Hemisphere
Sosnoff Theater
3:30 pm Pre-concert Talk: Walter Clark
4:30 pm Performance: American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Alberto Nepomuceno (1864–1920)
Série Brasileira (1892)
Alberto Ginastera (1916–83)
Estancia, Op. 8 (1941)
Julián Carrillo (1875–1965)
Symphony No. 1 in D major (1901)
Carlos Chávez (1899–1978)
Horsepower (H.P.) Suite, Ballet Symphony (1932)
Tickets: $25–$75

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, August 2015

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