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Final Weekend of 28th Bard Music Festival, “Chopin and His World,” Opens Next Thursday, August 17

Opening next Thursday, August 19, the second and final weekend of the 28th annual Bard Music Festival – an immersion in “Chopin and His World” – explores the Romantic master’s Originality and Influence. The weekend kicks off with two special events, tracing his impact on later composers from Les Six to his compatriots Lutosławski, Górecki, and Agata Zubel, before presenting the New York Wind Symphony in Romantic works by his fellow Parisians Gounod and Berlioz. The weekend’s first themed concert, “Chopin and the Piano,” celebrates the composer’s artistry through a generous sampling of his most important contributions to the piano repertoire, featuring Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient Michael Brown, Gramophone Award nominee Danny Driver, Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award-winner Anna Polonsky, and Piers Lane, for whom “no praise could be high enough” (Gramophone). Other highlights of the weekend include a pair of programs showcasing the leadership of music director and festival co-artistic director Leon Botstein. Starring award-winning Polish-American soprano Amanda Majeski with the American Symphony Orchestra, the first comprises an all-too-rare semi-staged performance of Halka (1858), the four-act masterwork with which Chopin’s countryman Stanisław Moniuszko ensured his legacy as the father of Polish opera. Anchored by the Bard Festival Chorale and graduate training ensemble The Orchestra Now (TŌN), the second – “Shared Passions, Different Paths” – pairs two contemporary but contrasting orchestral works, each equally characteristic of its creator. Together, Chopin’s delicate Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise and Berlioz’s epic Roméo et Juliette represent Romanticism at its finest, providing a fitting end to Bard’s probing and far-reaching festival. Click here to see Leon Botstein talk about Chopin.

As Jonathan D. Bellman, one of Bard’s two 2017 Scholars-in-Residence, explains:

“The familiar images of Chopin – the melancholy artist, the accomplished melodist and miniaturist, the composer that somehow everyone likes – transmit little of his actual contributions to the art of music. For pianists, his understanding and exploitation of the instrument’s potential is entirely unrivaled, a Parnassian and completely idiomatic pianism. The essential element is not technical difficulty (though that is plentiful) but that his music – his technique, his aesthetic, his sense for sonority – has become definitive of the instrument itself.”

Further contextualizing the composer, “Chopin and the Salon” presents examples of his waltzes and ballades alongside the salon music of his contemporaries, while “Chopin’s Influence investigates his lasting legacy through music by the composers who followed. Finally, “From the Sacred to the Revolutionary: Choral Works from Poland and France” samples music spanning four centuries, from sacred compositions by Polish Baroque master Grzegorz Gorczycki to works by Chopin’s fellow Parisians.

As ever, Bard’s programs are enriched by scholarship of the highest caliber. Five of the weekend’s six themed concerts are presented with pre-concert talks by distinguished experts, who include Byron Adams, Richard Wilson, and scholars-in-residence Jonathan D. Bellman and Halina Goldberg. In addition, a free panel discussion on Saturday morning considers “The Piano in Society, Culture, and Politics,” with guest speakers to include Brown University’s Dana Gooley, co-editor of Franz Liszt and His World.

As in previous seasons, the weekend’s choral program – hailed as “one of the high points of every Bard Festival” (New York Arts) – features the Bard Festival Chorale directed by James Bagwell. Among the many other notable musicians performing are “revelatory” (New York Times) mezzo Tamara Mumford, a familiar face at the Metropolitan Opera; mezzo Monika Krajewska, who impressed the New York Times with her “rich and strong tone that expresses not only beauty, but a luminous sense of peace”; tenor Miles Mykkanen, a 2016 Sullivan Foundation award recipient; cellist and “superb young soloist” (New Yorker) Nicholas Canellakis; and a host of pianists, including the Horszowski Trio’s Rieko Aizawa and Gilmore Young Artist Charlie Albright, who is “among the most gifted musicians of his generation” (Washington Post). As New York Arts remarks:

“As always, the Bard Music Festival … is a must. … I have never come away from the festival without gaining a higher opinion of the central composer than I had before.”

Praise for Bard SummerScape 2017’s American staged premiere of Dvořák’s Dimitrij

“This year’s discovery, Dvořák’s Dimitrij (1882), is a find.”

Wall Street Journal

A compelling grand opera that deserves more exposure and more productions. …  Bard has put together an ensemble that radiates with energy and vigor. … Director Anne Bogart and chorus master James Bagwell allowed them to shine. … Clay Hilley is a tenor on the rise who needs attention. … Melissa Citro delivered on her promise [and] dazzled. … Leon Botstein, who has advocated for performing rare gems, conducted with precision, the orchestral playing quite remarkable for its clarity and drive.”

Opera Wire

“Mr. Botstein tirelessly champions neglected works that were significant in their time but have slipped into obscurity. … The director, Anne Bogart, created a simple and effective updated production. It’s easy to understand why this colorful, sumptuously orchestrated score, rich with stirring choral ensembles, captured the imagination of Dvorak’s contemporaries. … The opera’s fraught, vivid choral scenes … were a triumph for the impressive Bard Festival Chorale. … Clay Hilley brought vocal heft, clarion sound and stamina to the [title] role. … Cast members gave their all. … Mr. Botstein drew vibrant playing and a well-paced performance from the American Symphony Orchestra. … He, the festival and this hard-working cast deserve thanks.

New York Times

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 9: Friday, August 19 at 8pm (preconcert talk at 7pm)                                       3pm

Program 12: Sunday, August 20 at 4:30pm (preconcert talk at 3:30pm)            12:30pm

Further details are available here.

Bard’s sensationally popular European Spiegeltent will be open for dining throughout “Chopin and His World,” besides playing host to cabaret from Mx. Justin Vivian Bond on August 19.

Complete programs for Weekend Two of the 2017 Bard Music Festival follow.

High-resolution photographs can be downloaded here.

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

WEEKEND TWO: Originality and Influence

Thursday, August 17


Movement, Miniatures, and Mysticism


8 pm Performance: Bard Music West

Trace the influence of Chopin’s work in the music of Les Six to Witold Lutosławski (1913-94); Henryk Górecki (1933-2010); Marta Ptaszyńska (b. 1943); Agata Zubel (b. 1978); and others

Tickets: $15-40

Friday, August 18


The Romantic Wind Symphony

Sosnoff Theater

5 pm Performance: New York Wind Symphony

Charles Gounod (1818-93)

   Petite Symphonie for Winds, Op. 216 (1885)
Hector Berlioz (1803–69)

   Grande Symphonie funèbre et triomphale, Op. 15 (1840)

Tickets: $25-40


Chopin and the Piano

Sosnoff Theater

7:30 pm Preconcert Talk: Jonathan Bellman

8 pm Performance: Charlie Albright, Michael Brown, Ran Dank, Danny Driver, Piers Lane, Nimrod David Pfeffer, and Anna Polonsky, piano

Fryderyk Chopin (1810–49)

Polonaise in A-flat, Op. 53 (1842)

Selections from Etudes, Op. 10 (1830) and 25 (1836)

Scherzo in E, Op. 54 (1842)

Mazurka in F-sharp minor, Op. 59 (1845)

Barcarolle in F-sharp, Op. 60 (1845-46)

Nocturne in D-flat, Op. 27, No. 2 (1836)

Fantasy in F minor, Op. 49 (1842)

Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 45 (1841)

Sonata in B-flat minor, Op. 35 (1839)

Tickets: $25–$60

Saturday, August 19


The Piano in Society, Culture, and Politics

Olin Hall

10 am–noon

Jonathan Bellman; Allan Evans; Gili Loftus; Dana Gooley

Free and open to the public


Chopin and the Salon

Olin Hall

1 pm Preconcert Talk: Byron Adams

1:30 pm Performance: Monika Krajewska, mezzo-soprano; Michael Brown, Allegra Chapman, Nimrod David Pfeffer, and Anna Polonsky, piano; Nicholas Canellakis and Laura Gaynon, cello; Bard Festival Chamber Players; members of The Orchestra Now, Zachary Schwartzman, conductor

Fryderyk Chopin (1810–49)

Introduction and Polonaise brillante in C, Op. 3 (1829-30)

Waltzes Op. 34, No. 3 (1838) and Op. 70, No. 1 (1835)

Ballade No. 1, Op. 23 (1835)

John Field (1782-1837)

Nocturne No. 12 in G, H.58D (1822)

Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838)

Concerto No. 3 in C-sharp minor, Op. 55 (1812)

Louis Spohr (1784-1859)

Octet in E, Op. 32 (1814)

Maria Szymanowska (1789–1831)

Songs and Mazurka No. 8 in D (n.d.)

Auguste Franchomme (1808–84)

Nocturne, for two cellos, in E minor, Op. 14, No. 1 (1837)

Clara Wieck (1819–96)

Soirées Musicales, Op. 6, No. 3 (1836)

Pauline Viardot (1821-1910)

From 6 Mazurkas de Chopin (1848)

Tickets: $40

Program subject to change


The Polish National Opera: Halka

Sosnoff Theater

7 pm Preconcert Talk: Halina Goldberg

8 pm Performance*: Amanda Majeski, soprano; Teresa Buchholz, mezzo-soprano; Miles Mykkanen, tenor; Aubrey Allicock, baritone; Liam Moran, bass-baritone; Tom McNichols, bass; Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director; and others; directed by Mary Birnbaum; scenic design by Grace Laubacher; lighting design by Anshuman Bhatia; choreography by Adam Cates

Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819–72)

Halka (1858)

Tickets: $25–$75

Sunday, August 20


From the Sacred to the Revolutionary: Choral Works from Poland and France

Olin Hall

10 am Performance: Bard Music Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director

Works by Bartłomiej Pękiel (d. 1670); Marcin Mielczewski (1600-51); Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (c. 1665−1734); Luigi Cherubini (1760–1842); Józef Elsner (1769−1854); François-Adrien Boieldieu (1775−1834); Daniel François Esprit Auber (1782–1871); Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791–1864); Fromental Halévy (1799−1862); Louis Lefébure-Wély (1817−69); and others

Tickets: $40


Chopin’s Influence

Olin Hall

1 pm Preconcert Talk: Richard Wilson

1:30 pm Performance: Juliette Kang, violin; Monika Krajewska, mezzo-soprano; Rieko Aizawa, Michael Brown, Piers Lane, David Sytkowski, and Ko-Eun Yi, piano; Nicholas Canellakis, cello

Fryderyk Chopin (1810–49)

Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 65 (1846)

Robert Schumann (1810–56)

“Chopin,” from Carnaval, Op. 9 (1834–35)

Johannes Brahms (1833–97)

Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 2 (1893)

Edvard Grieg (1843–1907)

Nocturne, Op. 54, No. 4 (c. 1891)

Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924)

Impromptu, Op. 25, No. 1 (1880)

Ignacy Paderewski (1860–1941)

Melodie, Op. 8, No. 3 (1882)

Claude Debussy (1862–1918)

Étude No. 12, Pour les accordes (1915)

Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915)

From 24 Preludes, Op. 11 (1888-96)

Karol Szymanowski (1882–1937)

From Mazurkas, Op. 50 (1924-25)

Works by Henryk Wieniawski (1835–80); Moritz Moszkowski (1854–1925); and Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Tickets: $40
Program subject to change


Shared Passions, Different Paths

Sosnoff Theater

3:30 pm Preconcert Talk

4:30 pm Performance*: Tamara Mumford, mezzo-soprano; Miles Mykkanen, tenor; Önay Köse, bass-baritone; Danny Driver, piano; Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director

Fryderyk Chopin (1810–49)

Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise, Op. 22 (1830−35)

Hector Berlioz (1803–69)

   Roméo et Juliette, symphonie dramatique, Op. 17 (1839)

Tickets: $25–$75

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

The 2017 SummerScape season is made possible in part through the generous support of Jeanne Donovan Fisher, the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation, the Board of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, the Board of the Bard Music Festival, and Fisher Center members, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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© 21C Media Group, August 2017

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