Press Room

Opening August 4, Bard Music Festival Explores Life and Times of One of 20th Century’s Greatest Symphonists and Britain’s Foremost Composers in “Vaughan Williams and His World”

Bard press contact: Mark Primoff 845-758-7412 [email protected]

21C Media press contact: Glenn Petry 212-625-2038 [email protected]

(Annandale-on-Hudson, July 2023) — On Friday August 4, the Bard Music Festival returns with an intensive two-week exploration of “Vaughan Williams and His World.” In eleven themed concert programs, the festival’s 33rd season examines the great but frequently misunderstood English and Welsh composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, one of the 20th century’s preeminent symphonists, contextualizing the composer among his fellow Victorians, Edwardians, and Moderns (Weekend One: Aug 4–6), and exploring his role in creating what may be considered A New Elizabethan Age? (Weekend Two: Aug 10–13). Complemented by two special events in nearby Rhinebeck, these concerts take place in the stunning Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Bard College’s idyllic Hudson River campus. New Yorkers can take round-trip bus transportation to the final concert (see details below), and home audiences around the world can enjoy livestreams of Programs 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, and 11 on Upstreaming, the Fisher Center’s virtual stage. A centerpiece of the 20th Bard SummerScape festival, the Bard Music Festival also represents a highlight of the Fisher Center’s landmark 20th anniversary season, “Breaking Ground.”

“One of the most remarkable figures in the worlds of arts and culture” (NYC Arts, THIRTEEN/WNET), festival founder and co-artistic director Leon Botstein is music director of both the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and Bard’s unique graduate training orchestra, The Orchestra Now (TŌN). For his first, livestreamed ASO appearance, Botstein leads two late Vaughan Williams symphonies – the darkly atmospheric Seventh (“Sinfonia Antartica”), a work scored for vast forces, and the award-winning, vividly orchestrated Eighth – as well as music by Jean Sibelius, William Walton and Vaughan Williams’s woefully underrated student Elizabeth Maconchy [Program 9]. Botstein and the ASO also give a livestreamed performance of Vaughan Williams’s Shakespearean comic opera, Sir John in Love, starring bass-baritone Craig Colclough as Falstaff alongside sopranos Brandie Sutton and Ann Toomey, mezzo-sopranos Lucy Schaufer and Sarah Saturnino, tenor Joshua Blue, and the Bard Festival Chorale in a rare, semi-staged production by Alison Moritz [Program 11]. The director explains:

“In creating a concert staging of this bucolic comedy for Bard, I wanted to lean into the festival atmosphere of Bard in the summertime. … The gentle humor in this lyric comedy of manners comes from misunderstandings between the sexes and between classes, and I wanted to make sure that these themes would be immediately enjoyable by today’s audiences. So, instead of setting the story in Elizabethan Windsor, we have created a summer holiday inspired by English humorist P.G. Wodehouse’s classic Blandings countryside – filled with tea and crumpets, lawn games, cocktail parties, savvy servants, and plus-fours.”

Botstein conducts TŌN in performances of Vaughan Williams’s famed Tallis Fantasia and neo-classical D-minor Violin Concerto, featuring Naumburg Competition winner Grace Park [Program 1], as well as three of the composer’s mature orchestral works: Job, A Masque for Dancing; the seldom-programmed, blisteringly uncompromisingly Fourth Symphony; and the C-major Piano Concerto, in a two-piano arrangement showcasing festival favorites Danny Driver, a Gramophone Award nominee, and Piers Lane, for whom “no praise could be high enough” (Gramophone) [Program 3]. Led by James Bagwell and Zachary Schwartzman, TŌN also gives livestreamed accounts of music by British composers Frederick Delius, Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, Peter Warlock, and Grace Williams, together with Vaughan Williams’s Five Variants of “Dives and Lazarus” for harp and strings; The Lark Ascending, featuring violinist Bella Hristova, “a player of impressive power and control” (Washington Post); and the seldom programmed Flos Campi, the composer’s sensuous, wordless setting of erotic verses from the biblical Song of Solomon, with Tokyo Competition winner Luosha Fang as viola soloist [Program 7].

The festival’s chamber highlights include accounts of both Vaughan Williams’s Second String Quartet [Program 8], and Samuel Barber’s Serenade [Program 10] by the Grammy-winning Parker Quartet. The Horszowski Trio – “the most compelling American group to come on the scene” (New Yorker) – performs “Per aspera ad astra,” the tightly constructed Third Piano Trio by Vaughan Williams’s teacher Charles Villiers Stanford, and the Cleveland Quartet Award-winning Ariel Quartet joins Grammy-nominated clarinetist Todd Palmer for the Clarinet Quintet by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, whom Stanford considered his most gifted pupil [Program 2]. With Danny Driver, members of the group also undertake Herbert Howells’s Piano Quartet, one of the great masterworks of British impressionism [Program 5]. “One of New York’s finest organists” (New York Times), Renée Anne Louprette plays the newly renovated organ of the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in nearby Rhinebeck, where the festival makes its first foray off-campus with two special programs of “Music for School, Parish, and Home.”

As in previous seasons, all choral works showcase the Bard Festival Chorale and James Bagwell. Hailed as “one of the high points of every Bard Festival” (New York Arts), this season’s annual choral program also represents the second special event at Rhinebeck’s Episcopal Church of the Messiah. Surveying 350 years of English choral music in the ecclesiastical environment for which it was written, “The Anglican Choral Tradition” features composers ranging from William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons to Howells and Benjamin Britten, interspersed with organ works by Vaughan Williams and Ethel Smyth.

Soprano Katherine Lerner Lee, mezzo-soprano Hailey McAvoy, tenor Maximillian Jansen, and baritone Tyler Duncan trace the evolution of a uniquely British sound in “Heirs and Rebels: British Art Songs,” a concert with commentary by Scholar-in-Residence Byron Adams [Program 4]. Similarly, soprano Ann Toomey, mezzo-soprano Sun-Ly Pierce, tenor Martin Luther Clark, and baritone Theo Hoffman offer an entertaining and wholly original tour through half a century of British light music, in a concert with commentary by award-winning author Christina Baade [Program 6]. Other vocal highlights include a rendition of Vaughan Williams’s beloved song cycle On Wenlock Edge by three-time Grammy-nominated tenor Nicholas Phan, “one of the world’s most remarkable singers” (Boston Globe) [Program 5].

Supplementary events and companion book

Besides the eleven concert programs and two special events, there will be two free panel discussions – “Composer and Nation” and “The Artist in Time of War” – and a series of informative pre-concert talks, all free to ticket-holders, by scholars including Christina Bashford, Michael Beckerman, Daniel M. Grimley, Imani Danielle Mosley, Philip Rupprecht, Eric Saylor, Tiffany Stern, and Richard Wilson. SummerScape and ASO also present the first major American production of Saint-Saëns’s Henri VIII, a French grand opera set in Tudor England (July 21–30). Edited by Bard’s 2023 Scholars-in-Residence Byron Adams, a contributor to both the Cambridge Companion to Vaughan Williams and Vaughan Williams Studies, and Daniel M. Grimley, Professor of Music at the University of Oxford, the companion book Vaughan Williams and His World is published by the University of Chicago Press.

Round-trip bus transportation from New York City

Chartered coach transportation from New York City is available for the festival finale, Program Eleven (Aug 13). This may be ordered online or by calling the box office at 845-758-7900, and the meeting point for pick-up and drop-off is at Lincoln Center on Amsterdam Avenue, between 64th and 65th Streets. More information is available here.

SummerScape tickets

Tickets for mainstage events start at $25 and livestreams are $20. For complete information regarding tickets, series discounts, and more, visit or call Bard’s box office at (845) 758-7900.

Click here for high-resolution photos.

Program details of Bard Music Festival,
“Vaughan Williams and His World”
All performances are in the Fisher Center and other locations on Bard College campus, Annandale-on-Hudson, which is accessible by regular Amtrak trains. Program Six is serviced by round-trip bus from Manhattan: see below for details.

WEEKEND ONE: Victorians, Edwardians, and Moderns
Friday, August 4
PROGRAM ONE: Vaughan Williams: Becoming an English Composer
Sosnoff Theater
7pm performance with commentary by Leon Botstein; with the Horszowski Trio and guests; William Ferguson, tenor; Theo Hoffman, baritone; Renée Anne Louprette, organ; Grace Park, violin; Sun-Ly Pierce, mezzo-soprano; Brandie Sutton, soprano; Erika Switzer, piano; Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, music director; The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director (plus livestream)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
“DOWN AMPNEY (Come Down, O Love Divine)” from The English Hymnal (1906)
Quintet for piano and strings in C minor (1903)
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910)
Concerto in D minor for violin and strings (1925)
Serenade to Music (1938)
O taste and see (1953)
Selections from Five English Folk Songs (1913)
“Old Hundredth Psalm Tune” (1953)

Saturday, August 5
PANEL ONE: Composer and Nation
Olin Hall
10am–12 noon
Free and open to the public
Richard Aldous, moderator; Leon Botstein; Deborah Nord; Eric Saylor

PROGRAM TWO: Between Two Worlds: London and Berlin
Olin Hall
1pm preconcert talk: Eric Saylor
1:30pm performance: Ariel Quartet; Michael Stephen Brown, piano; Luosha Fang, viola; Horszowski Trio; Kayo Iwama, piano; Todd Palmer, clarinet; Sun-Ly Pierce, mezzo-soprano
C. Hubert PARRY (1848–1918)
Suite No. 1, for violin and piano (1907)
Max BRUCH (1838–1920)
Romance for viola and piano (1911)
Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852–1924)
Piano Trio No. 3 in A minor, “Per aspera ad astra” (1918)
Ethel SMYTH (1858–1944)
Sarabande in D minor from Four Dances for piano (1880)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Silent Noon (1904)
Orpheus and His Lute (1904)
Frank BRIDGE (1879–1941)
Cherry Ripe for string quartet (1916)
Sir Roger de Coverley, “Christmas Dance” for string quartet (1922)
Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1874–1912)
Clarinet Quintet, Op. 10 (1895)

PROGRAM THREE: The Symphony and Composing for the Stage
Sosnoff Theater
7pm preconcert talk: Philip Rupprecht
8pm performance: Danny Driver and Piers Lane, piano; The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director; Joshua Thorson, video design (plus livestream)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Job, A Masque for Dancing (1930)
Concerto in C, for two pianos and orchestra (1931, rev. 1947)
Symphony No. 4 in F minor (1934)

Sunday, August 6
PROGRAM FOUR: Heirs and Rebels: British Art Songs
Olin Hall
10am performance with commentary by Byron Adams; with Tyler Duncan, baritone; Maximillian Jansen, tenor; Katherine Lerner Lee, soprano; Hailey McAvoy, mezzo-soprano; Kayo Iwama and Erika Switzer, piano
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Selections from Songs of Travel (1906), Four Poems by Fredegond Shove (1925), and Four Last Songs (publ. posthumously, 1958)
Maude Valérie WHITE (1855–1937)
“Last Year” from Two Songs (1900)
Liza LEHMANN (1862–1918)
Evensong (1916)
Roger QUILTER (1877–1953)
Love’s Philosophy (1904)
Peter WARLOCK (1894–1930)
My Own Country (1927)
Pretty Ring Time (1925)
George BUTTERWORTH (1885–1916)
Selections from Six Songs from “A Shropshire Lad” (1912)
Ivor GURNEY (1890–1937)
Selections from Five Elizabethan Songs (1912)
Elizabeth MACONCHY (1907–94)
Ophelia’s Song (1929)
Ina BOYLE (1889–1967)
The Stolen Child (1925)
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913–76)
Selections from Winter Words, Op. 52 (1953)
Gerald FINZI (1901–56)
Let Us Garlands Bring, Op. 18 (1942)

PROGRAM FIVE: Entente Cordiale: Britain and France
Olin Hall
1pm preconcert talk: Daniel M. Grimley
1:30pm performance: Ariel Quartet; Michael Stephen Brown, piano; Danny Driver, piano; Luosha Fang, viola; Andrey Gugnin, piano; Alexandra Kazovsky, violin; Piers Lane, piano; Nicholas Phan, tenor
John IRELAND (1879–1962)
Decorations (1912–13)
Rebecca CLARKE (1886–1979)
Morpheus (1917)
Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937)
“La vallée des cloches” from Miroirs (1904–05)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
On Wenlock Edge (1909)
Claude DEBUSSY (1862–1918)
Selections from Préludes, Book II (1912–13)
Frederick DELIUS (1862–1934)
Violin Sonata No. 2 (1923)
Arthur BLISS (1891–1975)
The Rout Trot (1927)
Herbert HOWELLS (1892–1983)
Piano Quartet in A minor, Op. 21 (1915, rev. 1936)

PROGRAM SIX: London Calling! Fun in Cockaigne!
Sosnoff Theater
5pm: performance with commentary by Christina Baade; with Martin Luther Clark, tenor; Theo Hoffman, baritone; Sun-Ly Pierce, mezzo-soprano; Ann Toomey, soprano; Bard Festival Ensemble, conducted by Zachary Schwartzman; and others (plus livestream)
A celebration of Music Hall and pop traditions, with songs and dance music by Ivor Novello (1893–1951), Noël Coward (1899–1973), Federico Díaz Elizalde (1907–79), Arthur Benjamin (1893–1960), Anna Russell (1911–2006), Aldwyn (“Lord Kitchener”) Roberts (1922–2000), Madeleine Dring (1923–77), and many others
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958)
Selections from The Poisoned Kiss (1927–29; rev.)

WEEKEND TWO: A New Elizabethan Age?
Thursday, August 10
Music for School, Parish, and Home
Part 1: Music for the Classroom and Parlor
Episcopal Church of the Messiah, Rhinebeck
7pm performance: Liam Boisset, oboe; Andrey Gugnin, piano; Renée Anne Louprette, organ; Bard Festival Ensemble; Members of the Bard Festival Chorale, conducted by James Bagwell
Martin SHAW (1875–1958):
With a Voice of Singing (1923)
Percy GRAINGER (1882–1961)
Shepherd’s Hey (1914)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Six Studies in English Folksong (1926)
Gustav HOLST (1874–1934)
Selections from 12 Welsh Folk Songs, H.183 (1930–31)
Jean COULTHARD (1908–2000)
Sonata for oboe and piano (1947)
John IRELAND (1879-1962)
Sea Fever (1913)
Frank BRIDGE (1879–1941)
Love Went A-riding (1914)
Arr. Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
“Kings Lynn (O God of Earth and Altar)”
Edward ELGAR (1858–1934)
“The Rapid Stream” (1932)
“The Woodland Stream” (1932)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
“It Was a Lover and His Lass” (1922)
Household Music: Three Preludes on Welsh Hymn-tunes (1941)
Herbert HOWELLS (1892–1983)
“Michael (All My Hope on God is Founded)”

Friday, August 11
Music for School, Parish, and Home
Part 2: The Anglican Choral Tradition
Episcopal Church of the Messiah, Rhinebeck
3pm performance; with Renée Anne Louprette, organ; members of the Bard Festival Chorale, conducted by James Bagwell
Herbert HOWELLS (1892–1983)
Hymn for St. Cecilia (1960)
William BYRD (c.1540–1623)
“Non vos relinquam orphanos” from Gradualia II (publ. 1607)
Orlando GIBBONS (1583–1625)
Hosanna to the Son of David
Charles WOOD (1866–1926)
Hail, Gladdening Light (publ. 1919)
Ethel SMYTH (1858–1944)
Chorale Prelude for organ, Canon on “O Gott du frommer Gott” (1913)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Mass in G minor (1922)
“Rhosymedre” from Three Preludes on Welsh Hymn Tunes (1920)
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913–76)
Rejoice in the Lamb (1943)
Healey WILLAN (1880–1968)
Rise Up, My Love, My Fair One, Op. 314 (1929)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge (1921)
Herbert HOWELLS (1892–1993)
Paean, from Six Pieces for Organ (1940)

PROGRAM SEVEN: The Lark Ascending: British Music for Small Orchestra
Sosnoff Theater
7pm preconcert talk: Imani Danielle Mosley
7:30pm performance: Luosha Fang, viola; Bella Hristova, violin; members of the Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; The Orchestra Now, conducted by James Bagwell and Zachary Schwartzman (plus livestream)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Five Variants of “Dives and Lazarus” (1939)
Edward ELGAR (1858–1934)
Serenade for Strings, Op. 20 (1896)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Flos Campi (1925)
Grace WILLIAMS (1906–77)
Elegy for String Orchestra (1936, rev. 1940)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
The Lark Ascending (1914, orch. 1921)
Peter WARLOCK (1894–1930)
Capriol Suite (1926)
Frederick DELIUS (1862–1934)
Two Aquarelles (1932)
Gustav HOLST (1874-1934)
St. Paul’s Suite, Op. 29, No. 2 (1913)

Saturday, August 12
PANEL TWO: The Artist in Time of War
Olin Hall
10am–12 noon
Free and open to the public
Ian Buruma, moderator; Tim Barringer; Daniel Goldmark; Imani Danielle Mosley

PROGRAM EIGHT: The Islands and the Continent
Olin Hall
1pm preconcert talk: Christina Bashford
1:30pm performance: Martin Luther Clark, tenor; Brandon Patrick George, flute; Andrey Gugnin, piano; Piers Lane, piano; Lun Li, violin; Alec Manasse, clarinet; Parker Quartet
Gordon JACOB (1895-1984)
Sonatina (1949)
Robert MÜLLER-HARTMANN (1884–1950)
Selections from Sieben Skizzen, Op. 6 (1914)
J.S. BACH (1685-1750), arr. for piano by Harriet Cohen (1895–1967)
Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 731
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Hymn Tune Prelude on “Song 13” by Orlando Gibbons for piano (1928)
Egon WELLESZ (1885–1974)
Suite for flute solo, Op. 57 (1937)
Arnold BAX (1883–1953)
Sonata for clarinet and piano (1934)
Howard FERGUSON (1908–99)
Four Short Pieces for clarinet and piano, Op. 6 (1936)
Béla BARTÓK (1881–1945)
Second Rhapsody, S. 89 (1928, rev. 1935)
Edmund RUBBRA (1901–86)
Ave Maria Gratia Plena for tenor and string quartet (1953)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
String Quartet No. 2 (1944)

PROGRAM NINE: A New Elizabethan Age?
Sosnoff Theater
7pm preconcert talk: Michael Beckerman
8pm performance: Brandie Sutton, soprano; members of the Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director (plus livestream)
Elizabeth MACONCHY (1907–94)
Proud Thames, coronation overture (1953)
William WALTON (1902–83)
Partita for Orchestra (1957–58)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Symphony No. 8 in D Minor (1955)
Jean SIBELIUS (1865–1957)
Andante festivo (1922/1938)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Sinfonia Antartica (Symphony No. 7) (1952)

Sunday, August 13
PROGRAM TEN: Vaughan Williams’s Legacy
Olin Hall
10:30am preconcert talk: Richard Wilson
11am performance: Liam Boisset, oboe; William Hagen, violin; Parker Quartet; Anna Polonsky, piano; Orion Weiss, piano
Ruth GIPPS (1921–99)
The Piper of Dreams, Op. 12b (1940)
Michael TIPPETT (1905–98)
Piano Sonata No. 1 (1938)
Samuel BARBER (1910–81)
Serenade, for string quartet (1928)
Peggy GLANVILLE-HICKS (1912–90)
Pastorale (1936)
Constant LAMBERT (1906–51)
Elegiac Blues (1927)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Sonata in A minor (1954)

PROGRAM ELEVEN: Vaughan Williams and Shakespeare: Sir John in Love
Sosnoff Theater
2pm preconcert talk: Tiffany Stern
3pm performance: with Craig Colclough, bass-baritone, as Falstaff; Brandie Sutton, soprano, as Anne Page; Ann Toomey, soprano, as Mrs. Page; Sarah Saturnino, mezzo-soprano, as Mrs. Ford; Lucy Schaufer, mezzo-soprano, as Mrs. Quickly; Joshua Blue, tenor, as Fenton; Keith Jameson, baritone, as Dr. Caius; William Socolof, bass-baritone, as Frank Ford; and others
Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director
American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Alison Moritz, director
Lawrence E. Moten III, production design
Abigail Hoke-Brady, lighting design
Neil Fortin, costume design
(plus livestream)
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958)
Sir John in Love (1928)
Round-trip transportation from Manhattan to Bard is available for this performance. The round-trip fare is $75 and reservations are required; click here for details.

(Luosha Fang graduated from Bard College in 2011. Sun-Ly Pierce, Hailey McAvoy, Maximillian Jansen and Katherine Lerner Lee graduated from the Bard Vocal Arts Program in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2023 respectively.)

SummerScape 2023: other remaining key dates

Until Aug 12
Spiegeltent: live music and dancing
July 26, 28, and 30
Opera: Saint-Saëns’s Henri VIII (new production)
All programs subject to change
The Fisher Center’s 20th Anniversary Season is generously supported by Jeanne Donovan Fisher, the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation, Felicitas S. Thorne, the Advisory Boards of the Fisher Center at Bard and Bard Music Festival, Fisher Center and Bard Music Festival members, the Ettinger Foundation, the Thendara Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature. Fisher Center LAB has received funding from members of the Live Arts Bard Creative Council, the Lucille Lortel Foundation, and the Fisher Center’s Artistic Innovation Fund, with lead support from Rebecca Gold and S. Asher Gelman ’06 through the March Forth Foundation.

The 2023 Bard Music Festival has received support from the Vaughan Williams Foundation.

# # #

© 21C Media Group, July 2023


Return to Press Room