Make Headline: Distinguished Academic Institution Chooses Yamaha C7 Piano

7/4/2008 [Pianos & Keyboards]

Burgeoning Relationship Between Bard College & Yamaha is Multi-Faceted

BUENA PARK, Calif. — As relationships take root, opportunities often arise naturally to further develop the connection. In summer 2007, a Yamaha C7 conservatory grand piano was placed at Bard Hall, the first building constructed in 1860 when Bard College—now one of the nation's leading liberal arts colleges—was founded as an Episcopal Seminary. Today, Bard Hall is a 75-seat performance venue frequently used for senior recitals, rehearsals and concerts. Nathan Madsen, coordinator of Conservatory admissions and music director of The Bard Orchestra, says the intimacy of the former one-room schoolhouse is "better for morale and it's in keeping with our rural area. Students feel like they're playing to a packed house."

Bard College
The Richard B. Fisher Center for Performing Arts at Bard College
Building on its distinguished history in arts and education, The Bard College Conservatory of Music, established in 2005, offers four programs—the undergraduate double degree, the master's in vocal arts, the Conductors Institute, and the post-graduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship—and unparalleled musical opportunities for its students. Concerto competition winners perform twice in concerts with the American Symphony Orchestra, students perform alongside faculty in chamber music concerts, and students perform at the Bard Music Festival.

President of Bard College Leon Botstein directs the Conservatory's Orchestral Studies Program and is music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Conservatory faculty include pianists Melvin Chen (Associate Director of the Conservatory) and Peter Serkin, soprano Dawn Upshaw, violinist Eugene Drucker, cellist Peter Wiley, and three-time 2008 GRAMMY® Award winner Joan Tower, among others.

"One of our goals is to make our program into one of the top five music conservatories in the country," says Madsen. During the 2008 spring break, auditions for the Bard Conservatory of Music were held at Yamaha Artist Services, Inc. (YASI) in New York City. From a pool of 130 undergraduate applicants, 25 were invited to audition. Though a few auditions were held on Bard's campus, Madsen says, "We prefer a place like YASI. It's an excellent location, excellent ambience, and it has a 'red carpet' feel. It makes a more explicit statement about how serious we are about music. Given that a number of our key faculty have existing relationships with Yamaha, including pianist Blair McMillen (Da Capo Chamber Players), trumpeter Mark Gould and trombonist John Rojak, it naturally made perfect sense to hold auditions at YASI to give people a certain impression about who we are as a school."

"We were quite grateful to Yamaha for providing their Salon—it was well equipped and we are very happy with the relationship. The students were a little star-struck," he adds. "It just so happened that Catherine Zeta-Jones was opening her new salon in the same building that week so, in addition to Peter Wiley, the students were excited by the prospect of seeing an actual superstar."

Bard students and faculty had another opportunity to see a superstar, this time on campus. Yamaha artist Olga Kern recorded part of her new CD for Harmonia Mundi on a Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand piano at the Frank Gehrey-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for Performing Arts. The May recording date captured Kern's stunning performance of Chopin's Sonata No. 3.

For more information, write Yamaha Corporation of America, Piano Division, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; or e-mail infostation@yamaha.com.

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