TŌN (The Orchestra Now) is Back for Live Performances at The Fisher Center, Carnegie Hall, The Met and more

The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is not only a visionary orchestra but also a master’s degree program. Founder Leon Botstein’s rich history includes being a Bard College president, conductor, educator, and music historian. Starting this September 11th,  this will mark Botstein’s seventh returning season. From world renowned repertoire to exciting new 21st century pieces, this orchestra will perform four different series and three free concerts. A total of 21 programs and 38 performances will be heard through May 22, 2022.

The Orchestra Now has used this pandemic as a way to grow and better their sound where this season will feature 16 new members. If you’re keeping count, that will be a total of 65 musicians from 13 countries. All in all TŌN has performed 489 works by 234 composers in 35 venues since their beginning in 2015. 

The ability to perform for a live audience is uncanny. While the Orchestra worked on perfecting digital programs,  Nothing can replace the exhilaration of live performance,” said Music Director Leon Botstein. The pent up excitement of these young performers will be sure to produce exhilarating concerts where after more than 66,000 live and virtual concertgoers, with 237 soloists and 22 conductors, they are more than qualified to perform their best season yet.

We are truly thrilled to resume a direct connection with our audiences

– Music Director Leon Botstein

This season will start with the world premiere of Brahmsiana by debut conductor and composer Leonard Slatkin (Sept. 18-19 at the Fisher Center). There is also new work from Scott Wheeler written for violinist Gil Shaham, who will perform at the world renowned Carnegie Hall (Nov. 18) and the Fisher Center (Nov. 13-14). We’ll also hear Dismal Swamp from William Grant Still and Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s Symphony No. 1. This piece was written to describe the treacherous conditions under the Nazi regime and will be performed this May 7th at the Fisher Center and May 12th at Carnegie Hall. Ravel’s Pictures at an Exhibition has been revived as Slatkin created a new arrangement noting its original composition for piano. Award-winning composer Cindy McTee who is conveniently Slatkin’s wife will perform Circuits this September 18-19 at the Fisher Center. 

Lutosławski, Perry, and Bristow in addition to Wheeler’s world premiere will be included in the Carnegie Hall series. Musical America’s 2019 Conductor of the Year, Carlos Miguel Prieto will be a guest conductor at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The Sight & Sound series will return to The Metropolitan Museum of Art which focuses on Beethoven and Cristofori, Stravinsky and Picasso, and Dvořák and Delacroix to illuminate their interrelations between both music and art. Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ German Requiem will be performed at The Fisher Center series at Bard College along with another 18 concerts along with Brahmsiana’s debut. To gain a larger audience, TŌN offers three free concerts to help attract those who normally wouldn’t find themselves listening to classical music at Peter Norton Symphony Space in Manhattan with resident conductor Zachary Schwartzman. They hope that this will influence the future generations that will carry their love for classical music through the decades. To dazzle new concert goers repertoire from Mozart, Schumann, and Dohnányi will be played at Hudson Hall in Hudson, NY.

Now if you will be missing TŌN’s Orchestra’s Fisher Center series you can always tune in. Don’t forget that TŌN can be heard on WMHT-FM, the classical music radio station of New York’s Capital Region and WWFM, the Classical Network station catering to New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. TŌN’s performances are also heard regularly on American Public Media’s Performance Today.

CARNEGIE HALL SERIES, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage 

Gil Shaham & Julia Perry Thu, Nov 18, 2021 at 7 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

Gil Shaham, violin

Scott Wheeler: New work (World Premiere)

Julia Perry: Stabat Mater

George Frederick Bristow: Symphony No. 4, Arcadian

Renowned violinist and Bard Conservatory of Music faculty member Gil Shaham joins the Orchestra for the world premiere of a new piece written for him by multi-award-winning composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher Scott Wheeler. Currently Senior Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Boston’s Emerson College, Wheeler’s works have been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and performed by such artists as Renée Fleming and Kent Nagano. Black American composer Julia Perry’s dramatic Stabat Mater, a setting of the 13th-century medieval poem “Stabat Mater Dolorosa,” describes the crucifixion of Christ from the viewpoint of the Virgin Mother and is dedicated to Perry’s mother. Also on the program is George Frederick Bristow’s rarely-heard Arcadian Symphony. A Brooklyn native and noted choral composer, Bristow frequently wrote music with American themes—his Symphony No. 4 was originally titled The Pioneer. It will be the first Carnegie Hall performances of Perry’s Stabat Mater and Bristow’s complete Symphony No. 4.

New Voices from the 1930s

Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 7 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

Gilles Vonsattel, piano

Frank Corliss, piano

William Grant StillDismal Swamp

Carlos Chávez: Piano Concerto

Witold Lutosławski: Symphonic Variations

Karl Amadeus Hartmann: Symphony No. 1, Essay for a Requiem

The rarely-heard masterpieces in this concert spotlight works from the late 1930s, including William Grant Still’s evocative portrait of enslaved people taking refuge while seeking freedom, and Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s commentary on conditions under the Nazi regime. The program also features Mexican Symphonic Music Director and composer Carlos Chávez’s virtuosic Piano Concerto, called “imaginatively scored” and praised for its “elemental strength” and the “originality of its orchestral coloring” by The New York Times at its 1942 premiere. Leading progressive Polish music composer Witold Lutosławski’s adventurous Symphonic Variations was written while he was still a student at Warsaw University. His first substantial orchestral work, the Variations contain many folk-like themes.


The Orchestra Now returns to Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall for the fifth season.

Prieto, Falla & Debussy

Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 3 PM

Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor

Solange Merdinian, mezzo-soprano

Messiaen: Le tombeau resplendissant (The Resplendent Tomb)

Debussy: La Mer (The Sea)

Falla: El Sombrero de Tres Picos (The Three-Cornered Hat)

José Pablo Moncayo: Huapango

Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, Musical America’s 2019 Conductor of the Year and music director of the Orchestra of the Americas, leads TŌN in a diverse program that includes Manuel de Falla’s vivid and eloquent ballet score Sombrero de Tres Picos, Debussy’s powerful La Mer, and a work by Spanish composer María Teresa Prieto.


The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

Conductor and music historian Leon Botstein surveys the parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts with three concerts in TŌN’s popular Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This season explores the connections between Beethoven’s fascination with the emergence of the first piano; an interest in unconventional artistic and musical forms shared by Stravinsky and Picasso; and the European fascination with the peoples of the New World as expressed by MacDowell, Dvořák, and Delacroix. In each program, a discussion is accompanied by on-screen artworks and musical excerpts performed by the Orchestra, followed by a full performance and audience Q&A.

Beethoven, Cristofori & the Piano’s First Century

Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 2 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

Shai Wosner, piano

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, and Cristofori’s 1720 Grand Piano

At the dawn of the 18th century, Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori created what would come to be known as the piano. A century later, it was clear that the instrument would become the defining instrument of Western musical culture. Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto reveals the composer’s obsession with the musical possibilities emerging from the rapidly evolving technology of piano construction. 

Stravinsky, Picasso & Cubism

Sunday, February 20, 2022 at 2 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

Blair McMillen, piano

Stravinsky: Concerto for Piano and Winds and Picasso’s Man with a Guitar

Upon settling in Paris in the 1920s, Igor Stravinsky formed close friendships with artists like Pablo Picasso, a founder of Cubism, which sought to deconstruct the familiar and reassemble reality through a disciplined, formal approach. The movement inspired Stravinsky to develop a new approach to the construction of musical forms. He loved to perform his Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments, one of his earliest “neo-classic” masterpieces.

Dvořák, MacDowell & Delacroix: The New World

Sunday, April 10, 2022 at 2 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

Edward MacDowell: Suite No. 2, IndianDvořákNew World Symphony, second movement, and Eugène Delacroix’s The Natchez

From their earliest encounters in the New World, Europeans were mesmerized by the indigenous peoples of North America. French artist Eugène Delacroix painted a Natchez family as they fled the massacre of their tribe up the Mississippi River. Edward MacDowell’s Indian Suite incorporated native melodies and rhythms, and the second movement of Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony was inspired by Longfellow’s poem on Hiawatha.


The Orchestra Now’s residency at Bard College’s Fisher Center renews with 18 concerts and nine different programs including special performances of Handel’s Messiah and the Brahms Requiem, and the debut of conductor Leonard Slatkin with TŌN.

Shostakovich & Dawson

Saturday September 11, 2021 at 8 PM

Sunday September 12, 2021 at 2 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

William L. Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7, Leningrad

William L. Dawson said of his emotionally charged Negro Folk Symphony that he wanted listeners to know it was “unmistakably not the work of a white man.” The work is paired with Shostakovich’s enormous and patriotic Seventh Symphony, Leningrad, written largely after he had fled the city following the German invasion during WWII.

Slatkin Conducts Brahmsiana

Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 8 PM

Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 2 PM

Leonard Slatkin, conductor

Cindy McTeeCircuits

BrahmsBrahmsiana arr. Leonard Slatkin (World Premiere)

MussorgskyPictures at an Exhibition, Leonard Slatkin’s new arr. of Ravel’s orchestration

Internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin makes his debut with TŌN, leading the world premiere of his own arrangement of Brahms melodies, Brahmsiana, and his new arrangement of Pictures at an Exhibition, which takes Ravel’s famous orchestration and reinstates portions of Mussorgsky’s original. The concert opens with Circuits, written by award-winning composer Cindy McTee.

Strauss’ Merry Pranks & Bruckner’s Fifth

Friday, October 1, 2021 at 8 PM

Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 5 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

R. StraussTill Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

Bruckner: Symphony No. 5

Richard Strauss’ audience favorite Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, which chronicles the misadventures of the practical jokester and German peasant folk hero, is presented in contrast to Anton Bruckner’s massive Fifth Symphony, which was performed only once during the composer’s lifetime. He died having never heard it.

Gil Shaham & Julia Perry

Saturday,November 13, 2021 at 8 PM

Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 2 PM (see program description for Nov 18 Carnegie Hall performance)

Leon Botstein, conductor

Gil Shaham,violin

Scott Wheeler: New Work (World Premiere)

Julia Perry: Stabat Mater

George Frederick Bristow: Symphony No. 4, Arcadian

Handel’s Messiah

Saturday December 11, 2021 at 8 PM

Sunday, December 12, 2021 at 2 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

Vocal soloists from Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program to be announced

Bard Festival Chorale, Bard College Chamber Singers


Leon Botstein leads The Orchestra Now, soloists from Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, the Bard Festival Chorale, and the Bard College Chamber Singers in a performance of one of the most popular oratorios of all time.

Tchaikovsky, William Tell & The Little Mermaid

Saturday, February 5, 2022 at 8 PM

Sunday, February 6, 2022 at 2 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

RossiniWilliam Tell Overture

Alexander ZemlinskyThe Little Mermaid

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

The spring 2022 season unfolds with a concert of such audience favorites as Rossini’s iconic William Tell Overture and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid, richly orchestrated by Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky. The program closes with Tchaikovsky’s final completed symphony, the Pathétique, which the composer called his “Passionate Symphony.”

Clara Schumann & Brahms’ German Requiem

Saturday April 2, 2022 at 8 PM

Sunday, April 3, 2022 at 2 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

Anna Polonsky, piano

Vocal soloists from Bard’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program to be announced

Bard Festival Chorale, Bard College Chamber Singers

Clara Schumann: Piano Concerto

BrahmsA German Requiem

Clara Schumann began writing her memorable Piano Concerto when she was just 14 years old, already a prodigy on the instrument. This virtuoso work will be performed by acclaimed pianist Anna Polonsky. Later in life, Schumann was close friends with Johannes Brahms. She said his German Requiem “is an immense piece that takes hold of one’s whole being like very little else.”

Joseph Young & Rachmaninoff

Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 8 PM

Sunday, April 24, 2022 at 2 PM

Joseph Young, conductor

Julia Perry: A Short Piece for Orchestra

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3

Julia Perry’s riotous Short Work for Orchestra was recorded by the New York Philharmonic in 1965. While much of her work has been neglected, she was a winner of the Boulanger Grand Prix for her Viola Sonata. Rachmaninoff’s rhythmically expressive Symphony No. 3 concludes the program. Guest conductor Joseph Young, Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony and Resident Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra–USA at Carnegie Hall, leads the Orchestra.

New Voices from the 1930s

Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 8 PM

Sunday, May 8, 2022 at 2 PM (See program description for May 12 Carnegie Hall performance)

Leon Botstein, conductor

Gilles Vonsattel, piano

Frank Corliss, piano

William Grant StillDismal Swamp

Carlos Chávez: Piano Concerto

Witold Lutosławski: Symphonic Variations

Karl Amadeus Hartmann: Symphony No. 1


TŌN continues its series of free concerts at venues in New York City and beyond, providing families with an opportunity to attend their first orchestral performance and introduce a new generation to classical music.

Britten, Sibelius & Tan Dun

Sunday, Dec 19, 2021 at 4 PM, at Peter Norton Symphony Space, New York City

Zachary Schwartzman, conductor

BerliozRoman Carnival Overture

Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes

Tan Dun: Symphonic Poem of Three Notes

Sibelius: Symphony No. 5

Mozart & Schumann’s Spring Symphony

Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 7 PM, at Hudson Hall, Hudson, NY

Andrés Rivas, conductor

Soloists to be announced

Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds

Ernő Dohnányi: Concertino for Harp and Chamber Orchestra

Schumann: Symphony No. 1, Spring

Liszt & Bartók

Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 4 PM, at Peter Norton Symphony Space, New York City

Zachary Schwartzman, conductor

Emmerich Kálmán:Gräfin Mariza Overture

LisztLes Préludes

Zoltán KodályDances of Galánta

Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra 

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