Press Releases

The Orchestra Now Gives First Carnegie Hall Concert This Season Thursday, November 18, 2021

World Premiere of Scott Wheeler’s Birds of America Written for Guest Violinist Gil Shaham

First Carnegie Hall Performances of Julia Perry’s Stabat Mater and George Bristow’s Complete Arcadian Symphony

New York, New York, October 29, 2021The Orchestra Now (TŌN) will give its first Carnegie Hall concert of the season on Thursday, November 18 at 7 pm. The concert features the world premiere of award-winning composer Scott Wheeler’s Birds of America performed by renowned violinist Gil Shaham, as well as the first full Carnegie Hall performances of Julia Perry’s Stabat Mater with mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter, praised by Opera News as “a mesmerizing mezzo-soprano with a fiery theatrical presence and dynamic vocalism,” in addition to George Bristow’s Arcadian Symphony.

TŌN performs on October 31 at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center a program of works by José Pablo Moncayo, Falla, Messiaen, and Debussy conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto. The next concerts in New York City offer Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, performed by Shai Wosner at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on December 5; and a free performance featuring pieces by Berlioz, Britten, Tan Dun, and Sibelius at Peter Norton Symphony Space on December 19.

CARNEGIE HALL SERIES, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage

Gil Shaham & Julia Perry
Thu, Nov 18, 2021 at 7 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Gil Shaham, violin
Briana Hunter, mezzo-soprano
Julia Perry: Stabat Mater
Scott Wheeler: Birds of America (World Premiere)
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 Birds of America 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 featuring mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter 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.

Tickets priced at $25–$60 are available online at, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800, or at the Carnegie Hall box office at 57th & Seventh Avenue. 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) is a group of 65 vibrant young musicians from 13 different countries across the globe: Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Mongolia, Peru, 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 Eastman School 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 an album of piano concertos with Orion Weiss 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.

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

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein brings a renowned career as both a conductor and educator to his role as music director of The Orchestra Now. He has been music director of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992, artistic co-director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival since their creation, and president of Bard College since 1975. He was the music director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 2003–11 and is now conductor laureate. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria. Mr. Botstein is also a frequent guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, has made numerous recordings, and is a prolific author and music historian. He is editor of the prestigious The Musical Quarterly and has received many honors for his contributions to music. More info online at

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]

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