The last big concert of the season, held at 3 p.m. at Bard College’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, December 4, is special for several reasons: It’s a chance to hear renowned pianist Jeremy Denk (more about that in a minute) and the Conservatory Orchestra, conducted by music director Leon Botstein, perform selections from Ives, Beethoven and Mahler – all composers with popular appeal. It’s for a good cause, since all proceeds benefit the Scholarship Fund of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, which is sponsoring the event. It’s affordable, since all tickets are by suggested donation – $20 for the orchestra and $15 for the first balcony, with the minimum donation for an orchestra seat $5, with kids age 5 to 18 and students receiving free admission. And for all those reasons, it’s family-friendly, and therefore presents a great opportunity for children and young people to be exposed to classical music.
Denk, who is on the piano faculty of the Conservatory, has won kudos in the national and international press for his fresh, original interpretations of an unusually broad repertoire. Last season, for example, he played concertos by Beethoven, Copland, Mozart, Schumann and Stravinsky (whose Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments he performed under the direction of John Adams) with the London Symphony Orchestra in London and Paris and later at Carnegie Hall. His debut solo album, Jeremy Denk Plays Ives, received high praise from The New Yorker and other influential media. Denk’s playing has been described The New York Times as “bracing, effortlessly virtuosic and utterly joyous.” Denk graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory and earned a Master’s degree in Music from Indiana University and a doctorate in Piano Performance from the Juilliard School.
Denk and the Conservatory Orchestra will perform Charles Ives’s “Decoration Day” and “Fourth of July” from A Symphony: New England Holidays; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37; and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. For more information, visit fishercenter.bard.edu.