THE ORCHESTRA NOW (TŌN) ANNOUNCES 2019–20 PERFORMANCE SEASON SEPTEMBER 14, 2019 – MAY 17, 2020
TŌN’s Fifth Season Presents Concert Series at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Fisher Center at Bard, and Four Free Concerts in New York City and Beyond
World Premiere of Zhou Long’s Men of Iron and the Golden Spike;
U.S. Premieres of Galina Ustvolskaya’s Symphonic Poem No. 1, César Franck’s What You Hear on the Mountain, Zhou Long’s Classic of Mountains and Seas, and Egon Wellesz’s Prospero’s Incantations; and NYC Premieres of Leonard Slatkin’s Kinah and Cindy McTee’s Double Play
Rare Performances of Honegger’s Rugby and Symphony No. 1, Mitropoulos’ Concerto Grosso, d’Indy’s Symphony on a French Mountain Air, and Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 7, Sinfonia Antartica
Guest Artists Include Conductors Tan Dun, Hans Graf, and Leonard Slatkin; Pianists Anna Polonsky and Blair McMillen; Violinist Xinran Li, Soprano Paulina Swierczek, and Baritone Michael Nagy
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, August 21, 2019 — The Orchestra Now (TŌN), the visionary orchestra and master’s degree program founded by Bard College president, conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, begins its fifth season on September 14, 2019. Five different series and three special events will offer 19 diverse programs and 31 performances presenting novel combinations of both time-honored and lesser-known repertoire through May 17, 2020. Since the Orchestra’s launch in 2015, the young members of TŌN have performed 261 works by 137 composers for more than 50,000 people in 23 venues, with 158 soloists and 15 conductors.
“As we look forward to our 2019-20 season and reflect on all that has been accomplished since the Orchestra was founded only four years ago, I am so very proud that TŌN has firmly established its place in New York’s rich cultural landscape,” said Music Director Leon Botstein. “Its achievements have been earned by offering performances of the highest quality, filled with the energy and virtuosity of its young artists, who demonstrate their gifts and their exceptional skills at each performance. With such a bright present, the future is undeniably promising.”
Highlights of the 2019–20 season include the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Zhou Long’s Men of Iron and the Golden Spike, a piece inspired by the thousands of Chinese workers who helped complete the Transcontinental Railroad in the American West. There will also be four U.S. premieres: Galina Ustvolskaya’s 1948 Symphonic Poem No. 1, featured on the opening night program at the Fisher Center at Bard on September 14-15; César Franck’s What You Hear on the Mountain—likely the very first symphonic poem in history—at the Fisher Center at Bard on April 25–26 (with the NYC premiere following at Carnegie Hall on April 30); Egon Wellesz’s Prospero’s Incantations—stirred by the character in Shakespeare’s play The Tempest—under the baton of guest conductor Hans Graf at Bard on November 2-3; and Zhou Long’s new symphonic work inspired by ancient Chinese classic text, Classic of Mountains and Seas, at Carnegie Hall on October 1. Guest conductor and Grammy-winner Leonard Slatkin will lead TŌN in the NY City premieres of his Kinah, an elegy for his late parents, and Cindy McTee’s Double Play, a work dedicated to Slatkin by the composer, at Rose Theater on March 22.
Also notable are two Carnegie Hall programs offering the first NYC performances in over 50 years of Honegger’s Rugby and Mitropoulos’ Concerto Grosso (November 14); and Vincent d’Indy’s Symphony on a French Mountain Air alongside Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antartica (April 30). A December 8 concert at The Metropolitan Museum of Art will mark the first NYC performance of Honegger’s Symphony No. 1 in 58 years.
The Fisher Center series at Bard College will offer programs ranging from an all-Beethoven concert in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the great master’s birth to the U.S. premiere of Galina Ustvolskaya’s Symphonic Poem No. 1. The distinguished Carnegie Hall series will include one program of works from the 1920s and an evening titled Into the Wilderness that includes the first symphonic poem ever composed. Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center will host a concert with Academy Award-winning guest conductor Tan Dun and a second performance featuring Detroit Symphony Orchestra Music Director Laureate Leonard Slatkin conducting Rachmaninoff in addition to two NYC premieres, including one of his own. The top-selling Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art returns with three programs exploring the connections between music and artworks about technology, chivalry and modernism. Four FREE concerts will be offered in New York City and beyond, including two at Peter Norton Symphony Space in Manhattan led by TŌN’s resident conductor Zachary Schwartzman: one program presenting Ravel’s Boléro and Stravinsky’s Petrushka, and a second featuring works by Liszt, Kodály, and Bartók. The appealing programming of these free performances is a great opportunity for families to experience their first orchestral performance and attract future generations to the joys of classical music.
The 2019-20 season will offer three special events. At Carnegie Hall, From the Middle Kingdom to the Wild West will roll out new works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long that evoke ancient and modern mythical geographies. The presentation is part of the 2019 China Now Music Festival and includes the world-premiere of Men of Iron and the Golden Spike, a work about the thousands of Chinese workers who helped complete the Transcontinental Railroad in the American West, and the U.S. premiere of Classic of Mountains and Seas, a new symphonic work inspired by the ancient Chinese classic text “Shan Hai Jing” (October 1). The program will also be performed at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall in Stanford, CA (October 6), and is presented by the US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory with the Center for East Asian Studies and the Chinese Railroad Worker’s Project at Stanford University. The US-China Music Institute will also present a special Chinese New Year concert featuring conductor Jindong Cai and soloists from the Central Conservatory of Music in China, at the Fisher Center at Bard (January 25) and at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater (January 26). In addition, TŌN will collaborate with Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program on an opera-to-be-announced under the baton of TŌN’s Associate Conductor James Bagwell at the Fisher Center at Bard (March 6 & 8).
This year marks the third season of TŌN’s successful broadcast series on WMHT-FM, the NPR classical music radio station of New York’s Capital Region, and the second season on WWFM - The Classical Network station serving New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, both featuring programs from the Fisher Center series. TŌN’s performance are also heard regularly on American Public Media’s Performance Today! This spring, TŌN’s second album with pianist Piers Lane will be released by Hyperion Records, featuring works by Sir Arthur Bliss, Edmund Rubbra, and Sir Arnold Bax.
TŌN welcomes a new class of 28 young musicians in 2019-20, for a total of 66 members in all. TŌN musicians hail from twelve countries around the world: Bulgaria, China, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Peru, Taiwan, Ukraine, the U.K., as well as the U.S. TŌN musicians accepted into the curriculum take either a three-year Master of Music Degree Program in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies, or a two-year Advanced Certificate in Orchestral Studies. Hundreds of candidates vie for the opportunity to rehearse, perform, and study with Bard College faculty, guest scholars, and performing artists, surrounded by the intellectual atmosphere of a liberal arts college uniquely suited to the task, at one of America’s most forward-thinking classical music centers.