Bard SummerScape 2017 Is One of “New York’s 20 Coolest Out-of-Town Spots”; Seven-Week Arts Festival Explores Life and Times of Romantic Composer Fryderyk Chopin Through Music, Opera, Theater, Dance, Film, Cabaret, and More in New York’s Idyllic Hudson Valley (June 30–Aug 20)

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Bard SummerScape 2017 Is One of
“New York’s 20 Coolest Out-of-Town Spots”

Seven-Week Arts Festival Explores Life and Times of Romantic Composer Fryderyk Chopin Through Music, Opera, Theater, Dance, Film, Cabaret, and More in New York’s Idyllic Hudson Valley (June 30–Aug 20)

Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.Bard SummerScape has secured its place on the list of America’s “must-attend” cultural destinations. Nestled in New York’s idyllic Hudson River Valley on the pastoral campus of Bard College, SummerScape 2017 celebrates Chopin and His World,” exploring Parisian culture, Polish politics, and the piano through seven weeks of music, opera, theater, dance, film, cabaret, and more (June 30–Aug 20). Offering an ideal day trip for metro-area New Yorkers and a perfect weekend destination for travelers seeking cultural offerings beyond the nearby Berkshires, SummerScape has been hailed by the International Herald Tribune as “seven weeks of cultural delight.” At SummerScape’s thematic core is the Bard Music Festival, which the Los Angeles Times calls “the summer’s most stimulating music festival.” Time Out New York recognizes Bard as one of “New York’s 20 coolest out-of-town spots,” and the New York Post declares, It’s hard not to find something to like, and it’s even harder to beat the setting: the gleaming, Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Performing Arts Center in bucolic Annandale-on-Hudson.

It is in and around the striking Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center that SummerScape’s offerings take place. Time Out New York finds that “the experience of entering the Fisher Center and encountering something totally new is unforgettable and enriching.” Travel and Leisure calls the Fisher Center “a spectacular venue for innovative fare,” while Anne Midgette, naming it one of the “world’s best concert halls,” explains:

Its main theater is that rarest of birds, a mid-sized concert hall (900 seats), more appropriate for so many performances than the great 2,500-seat barns that we usually see. The acoustic is great … and the setting is gorgeous: the building sits on the green lawn like a lake or a piece of sky landed from above, captured in Gehry’s silvery curves.” (Dwell magazine)

As Bloomberg News realizes, Bard SummerScape offers “the smartest mix of events within driving distance of New York.”

The Fisher Center is located at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, on the east bank of the Hudson River in the picturesque Hudson Valley, about 90 miles north of New York City and 220 miles southwest of Boston. It is surrounded by numerous Hudson Valley estates, such as Montgomery Place, Clermont, Olana, Mills Mansion, the Vanderbilt Mansion, and the Roosevelt Home and Museum, all of which are open to the public. Among other nearby attractions are the Culinary Institute of America, Cary Arboretum, Innisfree Garden, country auctions, wineries, pick-your-own vegetable and fruit farms, nature sanctuaries, and historic river ports. Special events during the Bard Music Festival include daily riverboat excursions and tours of the Hudson River houses. Click here to see video highlights from Bard SummerScape 2016.

Highlights of Bard SummerScape 2017:

  • The 28th BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL presents “Chopin and His World,” an illuminating series of chamber, vocal, choral, and orchestral concerts – as well as pre-concert talks and panel discussions – devoted to examining the life and times of Fryderyk Chopin (1810–49). Featuring the composer’s own music alongside that of his predecessors, contemporaries, and successors, twelve concert programs address such themes as 19th-century piano music, the Romantic virtuoso cult, the influence of bel canto opera on instrumental writing, Poland’s neglected choral tradition, and the role of Jews in European musical culture. Shedding new light on the Romantic era by way of a composer variously pigeonholed as a salon pianist or Polish nationalist, yet whose originality has ensured his universal impact and appeal, the music festival provides the inspiration for SummerScape’s other key highlights (Aug 11–13; Aug 18–20).
  • OPERA: This year’s opera presentation at Bard is a rare, fully staged production of Dimitrij, a grand opera by Chopin’s fellow Slavic nationalist Antonín Dvořák. Conceived expressly for SummerScape 2017, Bard’s original staging is by Anne Bogart, a 1974 Bard alumna, whose many honors include two “Best Director” Obies and the Jesse L. Rosenberger Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Creative & Performing Arts. As in previous years, the performances will be anchored by Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra (July 28–Aug 6).
  • THEATER: Bard presents the world premiere of A PINK CHAIR (IN PLACE OF A FAKE ANTIQUE), an homage to visionary Polish artist and director Tadeusz Kantor (1915–90), by The Wooster Group. The winner of nine Obies and six Bessie Awards, the experimental New York theater company “has created a distinctive artistic vocabulary,” notes the New York Times, which declares: “Nobody beats the Wooster Group at the top of its game” (July 13–23).
  • DANCE: Bard presents the SummerScape debut of New York City Ballet MOVES. Tracing the NYCB’s outstanding choreographic lineage, the company’s all-live music program comprises Jerome Robbins’s Chopin-set Dances at a Gathering (1969), Balanchine’s Stravinsky-set Duo Concertant (1972), and In Creases by rising star Justin Peck, set to the music of Philip Glass (June 30–July 2).
  • FILM: This year’s series, “Chopin and the Image of Romanticism,” explores the rich and varied cinematic legacy of the Polish composer who has long represented a source of inspiration – as both subject and soundtrack contributorfor filmmakers (July 27­–August 20).
  • PLUS: Back for a twelfth magnificent summer, Bard’s one-of-a-kind Belgian Spiegeltent offers an intimate venue for food, beverages, cutting-edge cabaret, live jazz, and the chance to relax with festival artists. This season’s festivities will be hosted by returning Spiegeltent favorite and Tony nominee Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, hailed as “the greatest cabaret artist of this generation” (New Yorker).

Bard SummerScape ticket information

Tickets for all Bard SummerScape events are now on sale. For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit


SummerScape opera, theater, and dance performances and most Bard Music Festival programs are held in the Sosnoff Theater or LUMA Theater in Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and celebrated since its opening as a major architectural landmark in the region. Some chamber programs and other BMF events are in Olin Hall, and the Spiegeltent has its own schedule of events, in addition to serving as a restaurant, café, and bar before and after performances. Film Series screenings are at the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center in the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Center.

New York City Round-Trip Coach Transportation:

To make a reservation on the round-trip SummerScape coach provided exclusively to ticket holders for certain specific performances, call the box office at 845-758-7900 or select this option when purchasing tickets. The round-trip fare is $40 and reservations are required. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Find additional details at:

Full Schedule:

For a complete schedule of SummerScape and Bard Music Festival events (subject to change), follow the links given below. Updates are posted at the festival web site

Fisher Center members receive priority access to the best seats in advance, and those who join the Center’s email list receive advance booking opportunities as well as regular news and updates.

Bard SummerScape:

Bard Music Festival:

Tickets and Subscriptions:; or by phone at 845-758-7900. Tickets to all mainstage events start at $25.

Special offers:

Create Your Own Series: save 25% and enjoy maximum flexibility, by choosing four or more events.

SummerScape Mainstage Series: save 30% and guarantee seats for dance, theater, and opera events.

Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.

Updates: Bard’s “e-subscribers” get all the news in regular updates. Click here to sign up, or send an e-mail to [email protected].

All programs are subject to change.

The 2017 SummerScape season is made possible in part through the generous support of Jeanne Donovan Fisher, the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation, the Board of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, the Board of the Bard Music Festival, and Fisher Center members, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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© 21C Media Group, February 2017

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