Press Releases

The Orchestra Now Presents Haydn, Brahms & The Manufactured Classical Ideal at the Metropolitan Museum of Art February 19, 2023

Program Offers Music from Haydn’s Symphony No. 38
and Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn

New York, NY, January 12, 2023 — Music Director Leon Botstein conducts The Orchestra Now (TŌN) in Haydn, Brahms & The Manufactured Classical Ideal, the second installment of the Orchestra’s popular Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sunday, February 19 at 2 PM.  The program compares theories of classical music structure and 18th-century sculpture, featuring Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Haydn and Haydn’s Symphony No. 38, alongside projected images from the Museum’s concurrent Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color exhibition. 

As with all presentations in the Sight & Sounds series, a discussion investigating the links between fine art and music is complemented by on-screen artworks and musical excerpts performed by the Orchestra, followed by a full performance and audience Q&A.

TŌN’s next Sight & Sounds performance will be Art & Music in 19th-Century Denmark featuring Niels Gade’s Symphony No. 1 and artwork from the Danish Golden Age on Sunday, April 16, 2023 at 2 PM.

Haydn, Brahms & The Manufactured Classical Ideal
Sunday, February 19, 2023 at 2 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 38, Prague
Johannes Brahms: Variations on a Theme of Haydn
Artwork from the exhibition Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color
When 18th-century scholars exhumed ancient Greek and Roman sculptures that had spent more than a millennium underground, they assumed that the pieces had been created without color. Based on their observations of those newfound objects, art scholars built an imaginary picture of the classical past; with it came a set, “classical” idea of musical structure and form, cemented by its originator, “Papa” Franz Josef Haydn. A century later, as late romanticism jettisoned fixed forms for passionate expressionism, Johannes Brahms fought to retain classicism as the aesthetic standard—and though musical classicism eventually ran its course, Brahms’s Variations provide a unique look back to its origins.

Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through March 26, 2023.

Tickets priced at $30, $40, and $50; all tickets include same-day museum admission. Tickets may be purchased online here, by calling The Met at 212.570.3949, or at The Great Hall box office at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ticket holders will need to comply with the venue’s health and safety requirements, which can be found here.

The Orchestra Now
The Orchestra Now (TŌN) currently comprises 58 vibrant young musicians from 12 different countries across the globe: Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States. All share a mission to make orchestral music relevant to 21st-century audiences by sharing their unique personal insights in a welcoming environment. Hand-picked from the world’s leading conservatories—including the Yale School of Music, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Royal Academy of Music, and the New England Conservatory of Music—the members of TŌN are enlightening curious minds by giving on-stage introductions and demonstrations, writing concert notes from the musicians’ perspective, and having one-on-one discussions with patrons during intermissions.

Conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, whom The New York Times said “draws rich, expressive playing from the orchestra,” founded TŌN in 2015 as a graduate program at Bard College, where he is also president. TŌN offers both a three-year master’s degree in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies and a two-year advanced certificate in Orchestra Studies. The Orchestra’s home base is the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center at Bard, where it performs multiple concerts each season and takes part in the annual Bard Music Festival. It also performs regularly at the finest venues in New York, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and others across NYC and beyond. HuffPost, who has called TŌN’s performances “dramatic and intense,” praises these concerts as “an opportunity to see talented musicians early in their careers.”

The Orchestra has performed with many distinguished guest conductors and soloists, including Leonard Slatkin, Neeme Järvi, Gil Shaham, Fabio Luisi, Vadim Repin, Hans Graf, Peter Serkin, Gerard Schwarz, Tan Dun, and JoAnn Falletta. Recordings featuring The Orchestra Now include two albums of piano concertos with Piers Lane on Hyperion Records, and a Sorel Classics concert recording of pianist Anna Shelest performing works by Anton Rubinstein with TŌN and conductor Neeme Järvi. Buried Alive with baritone Michael Nagy, released on Bridge Records in August 2020, includes the first recording in almost 60 years—and only the second recording ever—of Othmar Schoeck’s song-cycle Lebendig begraben. Recent releases include Classics of American Romanticism—featuring the first-ever complete recording of Bristow’s Arcadian Symphony—and an album of piano concertos with Orion Weiss, both on Bridge Records, and the soundtrack to the motion picture Forte. Recordings of TŌN’s live concerts from the Fisher Center can be heard on Classical WMHT-FM and WWFM The Classical Network, and are featured regularly on Performance Today, broadcast nationwide.

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein is founder and music director of The Orchestra Now (TŌN), music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO), artistic codirector of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, and conductor laureate and principal guest conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO), where he served as music director from 2003 to 2011. He has been guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre, Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Taipei Symphony, Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, and Sinfónica Juvenil de Caracas in Venezuela, among others. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria.

Recordings include acclaimed recordings of Othmar Schoeck’s Lebendig begraben with TŌN, Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner with the ASO, a Grammy-nominated recording of Popov’s First Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra, and other various recordings with TŌN, ASO, the London Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra Hamburg, and JSO, among others. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and author of numerous articles and books, including The Compleat Brahms (Norton), Jefferson’s Children (Doubleday), Judentum und Modernität (Bölau), and Von Beethoven zu Berg (Zsolnay). Honors include Harvard University’s prestigious Centennial Award; the American Academy of Arts and Letters award; and Cross of Honor, First Class, from the government of Austria, for his contributions to music. Other distinctions include the Bruckner Society’s Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor for his interpretations of that composer’s music, the Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society, and Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.

For upcoming activities and more detailed information about the musicians, visit

Press Contacts
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: [email protected]

Mark Primoff
Associate Vice President of Communications
Bard College
Phone: 845.758.7412
Email: [email protected]

# # #