Dimaras, born in Greece, studied at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and London's Royal College of Music, and has performed as a pianist in festivals such as the Holland Music Sessions, Italy's Gubbio Festival and Juilliard's Focus Festival. He received the British Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Award and the International Richard Wagner Foundation Scholarship, and has recorded works by Bart‹k, Franck, D. Mitropoulos, Prokofiev, Y. Sicilianos and Stravinsky.
Currently an associate professor of piano and collaborative studies at Ithaca College, Dimaras has been on a sabbatical year to pursue a master of fine arts degree in conducting at Bard. His new orchestral work, Bardicle II: Reminiscence of Verdi's Boccanegra, fulfills part of the degree's requirements.
Bardicle II is based on two prominent melodic motives in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, and stems from Dimara's interest in Liszt's famous piano transcription of that work.
"I have always wondered if Liszt didn't ultimately wish that he had an orchestra at his disposal [in composing the transcription] after all," writes Dimaras in a statement, adding that the work is his attempt "at reinterpreting both some of Verdi's original colors and moods (much like Liszt, but in different formats), but, also (contrary to Liszt's treatment), some of his original harmonies too."
He hopes his own treatment will "illuminate the greatness of [Verdi's] ideas.
From California, Lawrence Skaggs was the principal cellist of the Victoria Symphony in Victoria, British Columbia for several years. His work, Fanfare and Canon on a Thomas Tallis Theme, originates from a melody he utilized as a canon to teach part-singing to a local choir.
"[It's] composed of three-note motives taken from the canon melody, and the piece developed into a type of theme and variations mixing the fanfare material with various settings of the canon," writes Skaggs.
Both Dimaras and Skaggs study with the Institute's founder and artistic director, Harold Farberman.
Bard's 2007 Gala Graduation Concert presented by The Conductors Institute will also feature Bart‹k's Divertimento; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Piano Concerto No. 1 (with Dimaras as soloist); Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story; Brahms's Symphony No. 1; Mahler's Symphony No. 4 and "Ich bin der Welt Abhanden gekommen" from his R‹ckert Lieder, with mezzo-soprano Leah Summers; excerpts from Mozart's Symphony No. 40; Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole and the overture of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet. Admission is free.