Bard Music Festival Presents ‘Out of the Silence: A Celebration of Music’

Mike Lawson • News • August 25, 2020

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Next month, the Bard Music Festival joins forces with The Orchestra Now (TŌN) and the Bard College Conservatory to present “Out of the Silence: A Celebration of Music,” a series of four free live-streamed concerts for string orchestra, piano and percussion (September 5–26), coming to UPSTREAMING, the Fisher Center’s virtual stage. All programs are free, but reservations requested

Pairing works by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák and Bartók – all past subjects of the Bard Music Festival – with music by 10 prominent Black composers – ranging from Classical pioneer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges to contemporary Americans Alvin Singleton, Adolphus Hailstork and Jessie Montgomery, the series celebrates Bard’s commitment to neglected rarities and the unquenchable joy of music-making.

All four programs will be performed without an audience and with appropriate safety measures on Bard College’s idyllic Hudson Valley campus by its unique graduate training orchestra, TŌN, under the leadership of music director Leon Botstein and other members of the TŌN artistic team. 

Botstein explains: “These concerts are an affirmation of Bard’s commitment to the centrality of music in our public culture. The series takes its title from the opening work on this series, by William Grant Still. Out of the Silence therefore carries two meanings: the return of music to the public stage after months of silence, and the foregrounding of music too long kept in the shadows, music by Black composers who have never gotten their proper due on the concert stages of the world. As the performance of music begins anew, Bard will pioneer, as it has in the past, on behalf of those composers and works of music left, unjustly, in obscurity.”   

It was Botstein who founded TŌN five years ago, to help make orchestral music relevant to 21st-century audiences. He leads the orchestra in all four programs of “Out of the Silence,” which also features appearances by TŌN’s academic director and associate conductor James Bagwell, resident conductor Zachary Schwartzman and assistant conductor Andrés Rivas. Keyboard faculty from the Bard Conservatory of Music will join TŌN for several performances.

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