Among the musicians who have agreed to join the faculty of the new conservatory are pianists Richard Goode and Peter Serkin, violinists Ani Kavafian and Arnold Steinhardt, and composer Joan Tower, as well as the Colorado String Quartet. Rover Martin, Bard's vice president of academic affairs, will serve as director; pianist Melvin Chen, who currently teaches both music and science, will be associate director.
"We believe deeply in the value of an education in the liberal arts and sciences, not as a luxury but as the best preparation for functioning competitively and creatively," Martin said in a statement.
"The education of the mind is therefore as important as the education of the fingers or voice," Chen added. "The greatest musicians not only have the technical mastery to communicate effectively, but also are deeply curious and equally adept at analytical and emotional modes of thought."
Bard already boasts an impressive musical pedigree for a small liberal arts college. The college's president, Leon Botstein, is a music scholar and the music director of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony. Each summer, Bard hosts a performing arts festival, called Summerscape, that includes the Bard Music Festival, focusing on a single composer. In the spring of 2003, the Richard B. Fisher Center, a concert hall designed by Frank Gehry, opened on the campus in Annandale-on-Hudson.
The Bard Conservatory will accept about 30 students for the 2005-06 academic year, adding a class of 30 each year. For the first year the conservatory will include instruction in piano, violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn. Other instruments, voice, and composition will be added in the fall of 2006.