Musicians Playing

Faculty & Staff


Music Director

Leon Botstein is the president of Bard College, has been music director of the American Symphony Orchestra for over 20 years, and is the former music director of the Jerusalem Symphony. He has performed and recorded with major orchestras throughout the world, including the LA Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra, NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, among others. He is also Artistic Director of Bard SummerScape, which each year presents a fully-staged opera and celebrates the music world of a selected composer in the Bard Music Festival.

Academic Director and Associate Conductor

James Bagwell is a noted conductor of both orchestras and choruses. He has been choral director of the Bard Festival Chorale since 2003, and is principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. He has been director of The Collegiate Chorale and The Dessoff Choirs. He regularly performs in the Cincinnati May Festival and guest conducts regularly throughout the country. Since 2002 he has been on the music faculty of Bard College and has taught at Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Associate Conductor

Jindong Cai is the director of the US-China Music Institute and a professor of music at the Bard College Conservatory of Music. Prior to joining Bard he was a professor of performance at Stanford University. Over the 30 years of his career in the United States, Maestro Cai has established himself as an active and dynamic conductor, scholar of Western classical music in China, and leading advocate of music from across Asia. He is a three-time recipient of the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.

Resident Conductor

Zachary Schwartzman has conducted throughout the United States and in such countries as Brazil, England, and Bosnia. He is the music director of Blue Hill Troupe, and has been assistant conductor at the American Symphony Orchestra and the Bard Music Festival since 2012. He was formerly house conductor of The Gilmmerglass Festival, and was assistant conductor at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Opera Atelier, among others.

Guest Conductors

Guest Conductors have included Fabio Luisi, Leonard Slatkin, Gerard Schwarz, Tan Dun, JoAnn Falletta, Neeme Järvi, Hans Graf, Joseph Young, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Oleg Caetani, Federico Cortese, Jan Latham-Koenig, and Marcelo Lehninger.

Professor of Orchestral Practice

Erica Kiesewetter is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where she studied with Ivan Galamian. She has been Concertmaster of the American Symphony Orchestra, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Opera Orchestra of New York, New York Pops, Stamford Symphony, Long Island Philharmonic, and Amici New York. She has toured internationally and recorded with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She has been Visiting Associate Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Studies at Bard College since 2010.

Seminar Director

Karen Raizen is an Assistant Professor of Italian at Bard College. She is a recipient of the Yale Elizabethan Club prize for her dissertation, “Adaptations in Arcadia: Orlando furioso on the Eighteenth-Century Operatic Stage.” She also has extensive training as a classical violist and has played in a number of ensembles and participated in festivals both in the United States and abroad. BM, Rice University; MM, Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana; PhD, Yale University.

Artistic Staff

Leon Botstein Music Director 845.758.7423

James Bagwell Academic Director and Associate Conductor 845.758.7356

Jindong Cai Associate Conductor 845.758.7026

Zachary Schwartzman Resident Conductor

Andrés Rivas GCP ’17 Assistant Conductor 845.389.0855

Erica Kiesewetter Professor of Orchestral Practice 845.758.7196

Administrative Staff

Kristin Roca Executive Director 845.752.2403

Brian J. Heck Director of Marketing 646.258.3334

Nicole M. de Jesús ’94 Director of Development 845.758.7988

Leonardo Pineda ’15 TŌN ’19 Director of Youth Educational Performance and South American Music Curator

Sebastian Danila Music Preparer and Researcher 917.498.9121

Marielle Metivier Orchestra Manager 603.860.7936

Benjamin Oatmen Librarian 917.701.2613

Viktor Tóth ’16 TŌN ’21 Production Coordinator 845.532.8076

Matt Walley TŌN ’19 Program Coordinator, Admissions Counselor, and Guest Artist Relations

Pascal Nadon Public Relations 

Photo by Matt Dine