Bard Music Festival Returns with “Nadia Boulanger and Her World” from Aug. 6–15

Mike Lawson • ChoralNews • June 14, 2021

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Nadia Boulanger (photo: courtesy of Centre international Nadia et Lili Boulanger)

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.  The Bard Music Festival returns for its 31st season this August, with a rare and intensive two-week exploration of “Nadia Boulanger and Her World.” In twelve themed concert programs, performed live with limited in-person audiences, Bard examines Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979), the pioneering Parisian pedagogue, composer, conductor, pianist, organist and indomitable personality who shaped more than a generation of American musicians. Through the prism of her life and career, Weekend One explores Music in Paris in the first half of the 20th century (Aug 6–8), and Weekend Two addresses The 20th-Century Legacy of Nadia Boulanger (Aug 12–15). Enriched by a wealth of compositions by Boulanger’s predecessors, her contemporaries and her unparalleled roster of students, all events take place in the stunning Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and other venues on Bard College’s idyllic Hudson River campus. There, as in previous years, the Bard Music Festival will anchor  Bard SummerScape and prove itself once again “a highlight of the musical year” (Wall Street Journal). Click here to see Nadia Boulanger discuss teaching and talent.

Since its inception more than three decades ago, the Bard Music Festival has enriched the standard concert repertory with a wealth of important rediscoveries. This is in no small part thanks to the festival’s founder and co-artistic director, Leon Botstein; as the New York Times points out, “wherever there is an overlooked potential masterpiece, Leon Botstein is not too far behind.” “One of the most remarkable figures in the worlds of arts and culture” (NYC Arts, THIRTEEN/WNET), Botstein serves as music director of both the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and The Orchestra Now (TŌN), a unique graduate training orchestra designed to help a new generation of musicians break down barriers between modern audiences and the orchestral literature. Both ensembles perform in the festival. As in previous seasons, the Bard Festival Chorale takes part in all choral works under the baton of James Bagwell, and this year’s chamber and vocal programs boast a comparably impressive lineup of guest artists.

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