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Bard’s Summer Music Festival Focuses On Chopin

Bard College's summer music fest, to be held at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, will feature works by Frédéric François Chopin.
Bard College's summer music fest, to be held at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, will feature works by Frédéric François Chopin. Photo Credit: Provided
Polish composer/pianist Frédéric François Chopin, shown in an 1849 daguerreotype by Bisson, will be the focus of The Bard Music Fest, set for August at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson.
Polish composer/pianist Frédéric François Chopin, shown in an 1849 daguerreotype by Bisson, will be the focus of The Bard Music Fest, set for August at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

ANNANDALE-ON-THE-HUDSON, N.Y. -- The Bard Music Festival will be celebrating its 28th anniversary by exploring the works and world of Frédéric François Chopin, says artistic director Leon Botstein.

The two-part event will be held on the final two weekends of Bard's SummerScape programming at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at the Annandale-on-Hudson school.

(SummerScape runs from June 30 through Aug. 20.)

Scheduled for Aug. 11-13, is “Chopin, the Piano, and Musical Culture of the 19th Century.” From Aug. 18-20, the program will address the Polish composer’s “Originality and Virtuosity.”

A child prodigy, Chopin later became known as the supreme “poet” of the piano for the sheer emotional impact of his compositions and for his melodic invention and harmonic usage, fest organizers said.

By the end of the 19th century, his compositions had come to “represent music as an expressive medium,” they added.

According to The New York Times, one of the concerts will pair up Chopin's works with those of contemporary Hector Berlioz, a French Romantic composer.

Another concert will feature Stanislaw Moniuszko's "Halka," a not-so-well-known Polish opera, The New York Times said.

The fest addresses Chopin's “complex and enigmatic sides,” the college said.

Chopin was born in 1810, grew up in Warsaw, and spent his last years in Paris, where his elite stable of friends included Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, and Honoré de Balzac.

Chopin’s personal life was also legend.

His relationship with George Sand, the pen name of French novelist and memoirist Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, had tongues wagging.

The festival promises to go beyond merely chronicling highlights in Chopin’s career.

It plans to use concerts, panels, and lectures to tackle the way attitudes toward the composer have changed since he died in 1849, “how we hear Chopin today, and, most importantly, why he still matters,” organizers said.

Last year's fest looked at Giacomo Puccini, the world's most frequently performed operatic composer, who is just now beginning to receive attention from serious scholars.

For more about the fest's history, click here.

Bard College, founded in 1860, is a private liberal arts college located at 30 Campus Road in the Red Hook hamlet of Annandale-on-Hudson.

Its performing arts center is a magnificent sculpture-like building designed by world-famous architect Frank Gehry.

To order tickets or for more information, click here.

To see a video of Botstein talking about the fest, click here.

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