This will be the fifth concert of the Beethoven series conducted by Leon Botstein and presented at Bard’s Sosnoff Theater, with the Eighth and Ninth Symphonies – considered to be some of the most beautiful symphonic music ever written – on the calendar for performances on April 8 and 9.
World-class symphony orchestral music has been heard in the Hudson Valley since 1962, when Leopold Stokowski founded the ASO with the mission of making great music accessible and affordable to everyone in the region. Currently under the direction of Botstein, the ASO has enhanced that mission by pioneering the performance of thematically organized concerts, linking music to the visual arts, literature, politics and history. And as the resident orchestra of the Fisher Center at Bard College, it performs an annual winter concert series, as well as participating in Bard’s annual SummerScape Festival and the Bard Music Festival. ASO’s award-winning music education program is active in numerous high schools throughout New York, New Jersey and Long Island.
Botstein commented on the sequential presentation of Beethoven’s work, saying, “Engagement with these nine pieces – the most influential and important set of symphonies in the canon – can help each listener orient himself or herself within the world of music, not only back in time to the works of Haydn, Mozart and Bach, but also forward to the music of the 19th and 20th centuries. These large works provide an unusual mirror by which history is reflected.” Also president of Bard College since 1975, Botstein has been music director and principal conductor of the ASO since 1992. He is the founder and an artistic director of the Bard Music Festival, now in its 21st year.
Joining the ASO will be members of Bard’s Conservatory Orchestra and Bard Chorus, with soloists from the Graduate Vocal Arts Program. A pre-concert talk will be given by faculty member Peter Laki, offering concertgoers the opportunity to get to know the background of the music and the composers. Laki says, “The talk complements the program, and will not be too academic – rather, easy-to-follow and entertaining. Pre-concert talks are good for people not familiar with the music. I try to touch upon each piece briefly, and sometimes we play excerpts.” The talk begins at 7 p.m., and the concert starts at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $20, $30 and $35. Reservations are encouraged (the October concerts sold out early!) and can be made by calling (845) 758-7900 or visiting fishercenter.bard.edu.