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The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Frank Corliss

Location: New York, USA
Bard College Conservatory of Music - Graduate Conducting Program
Director of Admissions
The Orchestral and Choral Conducting Program of The Bard College Conservatory of Music is a two-year graduate curriculum that culminates in the master of music (M.M.) degree. The program equips its graduates with the broad-based skills and experience necessary to meet the special opportunities and challenges of a conducting or conducting-related career in the 21st century.

Program Background

The program’s two tracks (concentrations)—orchestral conducting and choral conducting—have significant overlap. The program is designed and directed by Harold Farberman, founder and director of the Conductors Institute at Bard; James Bagwell, director of Bard’s undergraduate Music Program and music director of the Collegiate Chorale and Concert Chorale of New York; and Leon Botstein, president of Bard College and music director of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

Unique Resources

Unique to the program is its access to the resources of the Concert Chorale of New York and the Collegiate Chorale, and to the Bard Music Festival and other Bard-related musical institutions. The program is new but built on years of experience. It admits relatively few students each year—approximately 12—to ensure individual attention. Applications are welcome from all who wish to place their love of music at the service of those they conduct, the works they perform, and their audiences.

A Balanced Curriculum

The program balances a respect for established traditions with the flexibility and curiosity needed to keep abreast of evolving musical ideas. In addition to instruction in conducting, the curriculum includes an innovative, four-semester music history sequence (shared by the two tracks); voice lessons and diction for choral conductors; instrument lessons for orchestral conductors; and foreign language study, ear training, and composition for all students.


James Bagwell

Choral Conducting

James Bagwell James Bagwell maintains an active schedule as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music throughout the United States. In 2009 he was appointed music director of the Collegiate Chorale, which appeared in New York City concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall during the 2009–2010 season, and principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. Since 2003 he has been director of choruses for the Bard Music Festival, conducting and preparing choral works during the summer festival at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. He has also prepared the Concert Chorale of New York for performances with the American Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Mostly Mozart Festival (broadcast nationally in 2006 on Live from Lincoln Center), all in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Since 2005 he has been music director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York, which under his leadership have made numerous appearances at Carnegie Hall, in addition to their regular season performances in various locations throughout New York City. In 2009 the Dessoff Symphonic Choir appeared with the New York Philharmonic, performing Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and Britten’s War Requiem for Lorin Maazel’s final concerts as music director.

James Bagwell has trained choruses for a number of major American and international orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, NHK Symphony (Japan), St. Petersburg Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with such noted conductors as Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Louis Langrée, Leon Botstein, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Raymond Leppard, James Conlon, Jesús López-Cobos, Erich Kunzel, Leon Fleisher, and Robert Shaw.

For 11 seasons he has been music director of the May Festival Youth Chorus in Cincinnati, which was featured on the NPR program From the Top. He has conducted some 25 productions as music director of Light Opera Oklahoma, including Candide, Sweeney Todd, and The Merry Widow. At Bard SummerScape, he has led various theatrical works, most notably The Tender Land, which received glowing praise from the New York Times, New Yorker, and Opera News. He frequently appears as guest conductor for orchestras around the country and abroad, including the Jerusalem Symphony, Tulsa Symphony, and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. For three seasons he was artistic director of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. He holds degrees from Birmingham-Southern College, Florida State University, and Indiana University. Since 2000 he has taught at Bard College, where he is professor of music and director of the Music Program.


Harold Farberman

Orchestral Conducting

Harold Farberman Harold Farberman has conducted many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, Stockholm Philharmonic, Danish Radio Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Hessischer Rundfunk, BRT Orchestra (Brussels), Orchestre National de Lille, RAI in Rome, Mozarteum Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, KBS (Korea), Sydney and Melbourne Symphonies in Australia, and the Puerto Rico Symphony.

Upon graduating from The Juilliard School of Music, Farberman was invited to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a percussionist/timpanist. At the time, he was the youngest player ever to become a full-time member of the orchestra. He resigned in 1963 to devote his energy to conducting and composing. In 1966 he was appointed principal guest conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra; subsequently, he became music director and conductor of the Colorado Springs Symphony and the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, and principal guest conductor of the Bournemouth Sinfonietta in Great Britain.

Harold Farberman has recorded more of Charles Ives’s works than any other conductor and has recorded all four of that composer’s symphonies. As a result, he was honored with the Ives Award from the Charles Ives Society. The December 1993 issue of the American Record Guide listed his recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra of Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 2, 5, and 6 as among the best ever recorded. His complete symphonies of Michael Haydn, recorded with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta for MMG Records, received acclaim from the New York Times and High Fidelity magazine. His recording of Glière’s Ilya Murometz with the Royal Philharmonic, on the Unicorn label, received the Saint Cecilia Award, Belgium’s highest recording award.

A prolific composer, Farberman counts orchestral works, chamber music, concertos, ballet music, film scores, song cycles, and three operas among his compositions. His opera The Losers was commissioned by The Juilliard School of Music and premiered at Lincoln Center. His chamber opera Diamond Street premiered at the Hudson Opera House in the fall of 2009; it was commissioned by the City of Hudson, New York, for the Hudson Fulton Champlain Quadricentennial.

Farberman is also a tireless advocate on behalf of conductors. In the 1970s, while serving as a board member of the American Symphony Orchestra League, he established countrywide workshops for young conductors. At the 1975 American Symphony Orchestra League conference, he proposed the creation of an association of conductors; the following year the Conductors Guild became a reality, and Farberman served two terms as its first president. He is the founder and director of the acclaimed Conductors Institute, a summer conducting program at Bard College.

Leon Botstein

Orchestral Conducting Leon Botstein Leon Botstein is music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO), the radio orchestra of Israel. He is also the founder and coartistic director of the Bard Music Festival. Since 1975 he has been president of Bard College, where he is also Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities.

In June 2009, Botstein and the JSO opened the Leipzig Bach Festival with a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah; in the fall of 2008, they toured the United States. In the fall of 2007, he appeared with the BBC Symphony at Royal Albert Hall to conduct John Foulds’s A World Requiem, recorded live and released by Chandos. Other recent releases include Paul Dukas’s opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue with the BBC Symphony (Telarc), and Bruno Walter’s Symphony No. 1 with NDR–Hamburg (CPO). Botstein has made a number of recordings of works by Chausson, Liszt, Bruckner, Bartók, Hartmann, Reger, Glière, and Szymanowski for such labels as Telarc, New World Records, Bridge, Koch, and Arabesque. With the ASO he has recorded Richard Strauss’s Die ägyptische Helena with Deborah Voigt and Die Liebe der Danae with Lauren Flanigan; music by Copland, Sessions, Perle, and Rands; and discs of Dohnányi, Brahms, and Joachim, among others. His recording with the London Symphony Orchestra of Popov’s Symphony No. 1 received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Orchestral Performance. Among the orchestras he has conducted are the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, NDR–Hannover, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and Budapest Festival Orchestra.

Botstein is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and the author of numerous articles and books. For his contributions to music and the arts, he received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Austrian Cross of Honour, First Class, for Science and Art, as well as Harvard University’s Centennial Award.

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