Bard Music Festival spotlights Rimsky-Korsakov

Portrait of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov by Valentin Serov

Bard SummerScape’s sprawling and overstuffed summer of musical programming has reached its annual apex, the Bard Music Festival: a series of concerts, talks and performances in related arts, all orbiting the work and cultural milieu of a single great composer. This year’s subject is the pivotal Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the late-19th-century composer of Scheherazade and an influence on countless other composers via his nationalistic voice and his technical works on orchestration.

Weekend One of the Festival (August 10 through 12) focuses on the small group of composers to which Rimsky-Korsakov belonged, “Inventing Russian Music: The Mighty Five.” The weekend features an opening- night dinner (Saturday, August 10 at 5 p.m. in the Spiegeltent), five programs of music and several panel talks. Concerts include “Fashioning the Russian Sound” (Friday ,August 10, 7:30 p.m., Sosnoff Theater), “Amateurs and Professionals” (Saturday, August 11, 1:30 p.m., Olin Hall); “Music under Tsarist Autocracy” (Saturday, August 11, 8 p.m., Sosnoff Theater); “The Legacy of Pushkin” (Sunday, August 12, 10 a.m., Olin Hall); “Moscow/St. Petersburg” (Sunday, August 12, 1:30 p.m., Olin Hall); and “The Piano in Russia” (Sunday, August 12, 4:30 p.m., Sosnoff Theater.)

Running alongside the thematic connected concerts is a summerlong series of film screenings at the Fisher Center, “Rimsky-Korsakov and the Poetry of Cinema,” beginning on Thursday, August 9 at 7 p.m. Russian films will be shown throughout the month, with another trio of music-related ones on Friday, August 17. See for more information.


In the meantime, the Spiegeltent continues its densely packed calendar of live music, cabaret, festival dining and after-hours salon hosted by Mx. Justin Vivian Bond. Events run throughout August 18 and include a Russian-themed performance by Czech avant-garde violinist, singer and composer Iva Bittová and Russian folk and jazz performer and composer Sergey Starostin on Thursday, August 16 at 8 p.m.

The Bard Music Festival’s second weekend addresses “Rimsky-Korsakov and His Followers” with a full spate of concerts and talks on the weekend of August 17 through 19. For a full schedule of events, venue, times and prices, visit