Martha Graham Company Opens Bard's Salute to Copland

Classic Arts News   Martha Graham Company Opens Bard's Salute to Copland
Bard College's third SummerScape Festival opens tonight with a performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company.

The seven-week festival, which focuses this year on Aaron Copland and other American artists of the mid-20th century, runs through August 28 at the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on the college's Hudson Valley campus.

The Graham company will perform Appalachian Spring, set to music by Copland; Cave of the Heart, set to music by Samuel Barber; and H_rodiade, set to music by Paul Hindemith.

Also among the works on the festival program are The Tender Land, Copland's only opera; Marc Blitztein's opera Regina, starring Lauren Flanigan; and the Clifford Odets play Rocket to the Moon.

The 15-year-old Bard Music Festival, the multi-disciplinary event at the center of SummerScape, takes place over two weekends in August. Themed "Aaron Copland and His World" this year, it will include talks, panel discussions, and performances by Bard president Leon Botstein and his American Symphony Orchestra of music by a wide range of American and 20th-century composers, including Leonard Bernstein, Benjamin Britten, Elliott Carter, George Gershwin, Lou Harrison, Charles Ives, Jerome Kern, Ned Rorem, Roger Sessions, and Virgil Thomson.

"We thought at the beginning of the 21st century that we should consider the most important American composer of the 20th century, the composer who helped define how we think about America," Botstein said in an interview provided by his publicist. "Copland, who died 15 years ago, has become part of the pop cultural landscape. His music is used to sell everything from beef to cigarettes to patriotism; and these things are sold using Copland's 20th-century music vocabulary."

A series of film screenings includes William Wyler's The Heiress, which has a Copland score; other Wyler films; and other movies of the period with scores by Copland and Thomson.

Also on the schedule are SummerScape's first jazz mini-festival, with Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, and a performance of the musical The Golden Apple accompanied by the ASO.

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