Leon Botstein

Leon Botstein

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Leon Botstein in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

 and the President of Bard College
Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...

 (since 1975). Botstein is the music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra
American Symphony Orchestra
The American Symphony Orchestra is a New York-based American orchestra founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, then aged 80. Following Maestro Stokowski's departure, Kazuyoshi Akiyama was appointed Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra from 1973-1978. Music Directors during the early...

 and conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra of the Israel Broadcasting Authority is a major orchestra of Israel...

, where he served as music director and principal conductor from 2003-2010. He is also the founder and co-Artistic Director of the Bard Music Festival
Bard Music Festival
The Bard Music Festival is an annual classical music festival held during the month of August on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Founded in 1990, the festival was created with the intention of finding ways to present the history of music in innovative ways to...

. He is a member of the Board of Directors of The After-School Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding educational opportunities for all students. He also serves as the Board Chairman of the Central European University
Central European University
For other uses, see European University Central European University is a graduate-level, English-language university offering degrees in the social sciences, humanities, law, public policy, business management, environmental science, and mathematics...

.

Botstein is a leading advocate of progressive education. He is the author of Jefferson’s Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture and Judentum und Modernitaet and has published widely on music, education, history, and culture. He graduated at age 16 from the High School of Music and Art in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, and earned a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 from the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 in music history. He credits David Landes
David Landes
David S. Landes is a professor emeritus of economics at Harvard University and retired professor of history at George Washington University. He is the author of Revolution in Time, The Unbound Prometheus, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, and Dynasties...

 and Harold Farberman
Harold Farberman
Harold Farberman is an American conductor, composer, and percussionist.-Biography:Farberman studied percussion at Juilliard and composition at the New England Conservatory and at Tanglewood with Aaron Copland...

 as his mentors.

Botstein became the youngest college president in U.S. history at age 23, serving from 1970 to 1975 at the now-defunct Franconia College
Franconia College
Franconia College was a small experimental liberal arts college in Franconia, New Hampshire, United States. It opened in 1963 on the site of The Forest Hills Hotel on Agassiz Road, and closed in 1978, after years of declining enrollment and increasing financial difficulties.A small, eclectic...

.

As music director of the American Symphony Orchestra, Botstein emerged as a significant proponent of "thematic programming," which attempts to assemble concert programs having a common theme grounded in literature, music history, or art. He also focused the ASO's programming on the performance of infrequently-performed works by major composers and the best examples of works by lesser-known composers, with a particular emphasis on U.S. premiere performances. In addition to the orchestra's main concert series at Carnegie Hall, Botstein inaugurated the Bard Music Festival with the participation of the ASO, a summer series which focuses on one composer each summer for an intensive series of concerts, lectures, and panel discussions. He also presents a series called "Classics Declassified," devoting each program to a piece from the standard orchestral repertory. Botstein lectures about the piece for about an hour, using the orchestra to provide illustrations for his talk, then performs the entire piece, then opens the floor to questions from the audience directed at him and at members of the orchestra. This series, originally presented at Columbia University's Miller Theater, proved so popular that it was moved to Symphony Space for the 2007–2008 season. He also inaugurated an important series of recordings of neglected masterpieces with the Telarc label, using the ASO and a variety of European orchestras.

Botstein is the brother of biologist
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 David Botstein and husband of art historian Barbara Haskell
Barbara Haskell
Barbara Haskell is an American art historian.Barbara Haskell is currently a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she has worked since 1975. She has previously worked at the San Francisco Museum of Art and Pasadena Museum...

. Both of Botstein's parents were physicians.

Awards


In 2010 Botstein was elected to the American Philosophical Society
American Philosophical Society
The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743, and located in Philadelphia, Pa., is an eminent scholarly organization of international reputation, that promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications,...

, the oldest learned society in the United States.

In 2009, Botstein was awarded a Carnegie Academic Leadership Award. The Carnegie Corporation annually chooses exceptional leaders of American higher education who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the realms of curricular innovation, reform of K-12 education and the promotion of strong links between their institution and their local communities.

In 2006, Botstein's recording of Popov's Symphony No. 1 and Shostakovich's
Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century....

 Theme and Variations with the London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra is a major orchestra of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known orchestras in the world. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.-History:...

 was nominated for a Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

 in the category of Best Orchestral Performance
Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance
The Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance has been awarded since 1959. There have been several minor changes to the name of the award over this time:*From 1959 to 1964 it was awarded as Best Classical Performance - Orchestra...

.

In 2003, Botstein received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In 1996, he received the Harvard Centennial Medal
Harvard Centennial Medal
The Harvard Centennial Medal is an honor given by the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to recipients of graduate degrees from the School for their "contributions to society."...

, an honor given by the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to recipients of graduate degrees from the School for their "contributions to society".

Bard College


Botstein became Bard College's 14th and current president in 1975. Botstein, who is also Bard's Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities, has been a pioneer in linking the liberal arts and higher education to public secondary schools. In 1979, Botstein oversaw Bard's acquisition of Bard College at Simon's Rock, the oldest early college entrance program
Early college entrance program
Early college entrance programs, sometimes called early admission or early enrollment programs are educational programs that allow high school students to be accelerated into college, together with other such students, one or more years before the traditional age of college entrance, and without...

 and the only accredited four-year
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 early college to date. Along with administrators from Simon's Rock, he was instrumental in the founding of New York City's Bard High School Early College
Bard High School Early College
Bard High School Early College , is an alternative public secondary school in New York City that allows highly motivated and scholastically strong students to begin their college studies two years early. Upon entering, these students embark on a writing intensive journey and engage in far more...

 in 2001. During Botstein’s 35-year tenure, Bard has established eight graduate schools, the Bard College Conservatory of Music
Bard College Conservatory of Music
The Bard College Conservatory of Music is a program of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Founded in 2005, the program is unique among music conservatories in the United States in that all undergraduate students are required to participate in a five-year dual-degree program, in which...

, and the Levy Economics Institute
Levy Economics Institute
The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College is located on the campus of Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. The Institute is housed in Blithewood, a mansion originally designed by an alumnus of the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White for Andrew Zabriskie in 1899...

 of Bard College.

Botstein has greatly extended Bard’s reach internationally, leading the creation of new programs on several continents. In partnership with Saint Petersburg State University
Saint Petersburg State University
Saint Petersburg State University is a Russian federal state-owned higher education institution based in Saint Petersburg and one of the oldest and largest universities in Russia....

, Bard established in 1997 the first liberal arts college program in Russia, Smolny College
Smolny College
Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is a liberal arts college located in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is the product of a collaboration between Bard College and Saint Petersburg State University. It has the distinction of being the first liberal arts college in Russia.Smolny opened in...

, which offers dual degrees from Saint Petersburg State University and Bard. In 1998, the Institute for International Liberal Education (IILE) was formed at Bard to advance the theory and practice of international liberal arts education. Bard’s other international programs include the Al-Quds Bard Partnership, a collaboration in Jerusalem between Bard College and Al-Quds University
Al-Quds University
Al-Quds University is a Palestinian university with campuses in Jerusalem, Abu Dis, and al-Bireh. It was founded in 1984, but its official constitution was written in 1993 when Mohammed Nusseibeh, its first Chancellor and Chancellor of the College of Science and Technology, announced its...

 that was established in 2008 to improve the Palestinian education system; the International Human Rights Exchange (IHRE); the Program in International Education (PIE); and joint programs with American University of Central Asia
American University of Central Asia
The , formerly the Kyrgyz-American University, is a liberal arts University located in Bishkek, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan....

 and Central European University
Central European University
For other uses, see European University Central European University is a graduate-level, English-language university offering degrees in the social sciences, humanities, law, public policy, business management, environmental science, and mathematics...

.

Botstein has also led Bard to become a regional and national leader in art and culture. In 1990, Bard opened the Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture
Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture
The Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture is an exhibition and research center dedicated to the study of art and exhibition practices from the 1960s to the present day. Co-founded in 1990 by Marieluise Hessel and Richard Black, the Center initiated its graduate program in...

, which now includes the Hessel Museum of Art. In 2003, the college opened the Frank Gehry
Frank Gehry
Frank Owen Gehry, is a Canadian American Pritzker Prize-winning architect based in Los Angeles, California.His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions...

-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College is a performance hall located in New York's Hudson Valley. The center provides audiences with performances and programs in orchestral, chamber, and jazz music and theater, dance, and opera by American and international artists...

 at Bard College, which houses two theaters, as well as dance and theater studios that provide rehearsal space for undergraduates. The Fisher Center is the home of the Bard Music Festival
Bard Music Festival
The Bard Music Festival is an annual classical music festival held during the month of August on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Founded in 1990, the festival was created with the intention of finding ways to present the history of music in innovative ways to...

 as well as Bard SummerScape
Bard SummerScape
Bard SummerScape is an annual seven week long arts festival held during the months of July and August at Bard College. Founded in 2002, the festival is held in tandem with the Bard Music Festival and features performances of opera, dance, theater, music, film, and cabaret. The festival attracts...

, an annual festival of music, film, dance, and drama.

In February 2009, Botstein was accused by Joel Kovel
Joel Kovel
Joel Kovel is an American politician, academic, writer, and eco-socialist. A practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst until the mid-1980s, he has lectured in psychiatry, anthropology, political science and communication studies. He has published many books on his work in psychiatry,...

 of terminating Kovel from his position as professor at Bard in retaliation for the latter's political views, an accusation which Botstein denied.

Works


Botstein's written work includes Jefferson's Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture, in which he argues that high school-level education after the tenth grade should be abolished in favor of a national early college system, as well as several other books in the fields of musicology
Musicology
Musicology is the scholarly study of music. The word is used in narrow, broad and intermediate senses. In the narrow sense, musicology is confined to the music history of Western culture...

 and education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly
The Musical Quarterly
The Musical Quarterly is the oldest academic journal on music in America. Originally established in 1915 by Oscar Sonneck, the journal was edited by Sonneck until his death in 1928...

 and a frequent contributor to periodicals focusing on music and education.

Public appearances

  • Botstein was interviewed as a guest on The Colbert Report on June 4, 2007 and again on October 5, 2010.
  • On August 12, 2009, Botstein appeared on the Charlie Rose Show on PBS to discuss the Al-Quds Bard Partnership, a groundbreaking collaboration in Jerusalem between Bard College
    Bard College
    Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...

     and Al-Quds University
    Al-Quds University
    Al-Quds University is a Palestinian university with campuses in Jerusalem, Abu Dis, and al-Bireh. It was founded in 1984, but its official constitution was written in 1993 when Mohammed Nusseibeh, its first Chancellor and Chancellor of the College of Science and Technology, announced its...

    .
  • Botstein is regularly featured on Albany, New York
    Albany, New York
    Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

    -area NPR
    NPR
    NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting...

     affiliate WAMC-FM.
  • Botstein was the Keynote Speaker at the Stuyvesant High School
    Stuyvesant High School
    Stuyvesant High School , commonly referred to as Stuy , is a New York City public high school that specializes in mathematics and science. The school opened in 1904 on Manhattan's East Side and moved to a new building in Battery Park City in 1992. Stuyvesant is noted for its strong academic...

     2007 Graduation on June 25, 2007
  • He conducted the revival of John Foulds
    John Foulds
    John Herbert Foulds was a British composer of classical music. Largely self-taught as a composer, he was one of the most remarkable and unjustly forgotten figures of the "British Musical Renaissance"....

    's World Requiem
    World Requiem
    A World Requiem, Op. 60 is a large-scale symphonic work with soloists and choirs by the British composer John Foulds. Written as a requiem and using forces similar in scale to Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony, the work calls for a full symphony orchestra, soloists, massed choirs including children's...

    at the Royal Albert Hall
    Royal Albert Hall
    The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall situated on the northern edge of the South Kensington area, in the City of Westminster, London, England, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941....

     in London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

     on 11 November 2007.
  • American premiere of the Herbstsymphonie (Autumn Symphony) by Austrian composer Joseph Marx
    Joseph Marx
    Joseph Rupert Rudolf Marx was an Austrian composer, teacher and critic.-Life and career:Marx pursued studies in philosophy, art history, German studies, and music at Graz University, earning several degrees including a doctorate in 1909. He began composing seriously in 1908 and over the next four...

     on December 7, 2008 with the American Symphony Orchestra
    American Symphony Orchestra
    The American Symphony Orchestra is a New York-based American orchestra founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, then aged 80. Following Maestro Stokowski's departure, Kazuyoshi Akiyama was appointed Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra from 1973-1978. Music Directors during the early...

     in Avery Fisher Hall, NY.

Literary works

  • "The Compleat Brahms" (New York, 1999), editor
  • The Musical Quarterly
    The Musical Quarterly
    The Musical Quarterly is the oldest academic journal on music in America. Originally established in 1915 by Oscar Sonneck, the journal was edited by Sonneck until his death in 1928...

    , editor
  • "quasi una fantasia: Juden und die Musikstadt Wien" (Timms, Edward
    Edward Timms
    Edward Timms is Research Professor and Director of the Centre of German Studies at University of Sussex. He is an internationally acknowledged eminent scholar, and his work is mostly focused on Karl Kraus and Freud.-Works:...

     / Hanak, Werner / Botstein, Leon / Jüdisches Museum Wien ) (with 2 CD
    Compact Disc
    The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

    s; contributors: Karl Albrecht-Weinberger, Otto Biba, Philip V. Bohlman, Leon Botstein, Elisabeth Derow-Turnauer, Wolfgang Dosch, Albrecht Dümling
    Albrecht Dümling
    -Biography:Born in Wuppertal, Dümling studied musicology in Essen, Vienna and Berlin and earned a Ph.D. with an interdisciplinary study on Arnold Schönberg and Stefan George, with Carl Dahlhaus as his mentor. In 1985 he published his comprehensive work on Bertolt Brecht’s collaboration with composers...

    , Tina Frühauf, Primavera Gruber, Michael Haas, Werner Hanak, Hartmut Krones, Elena Ostleitner, Michael Steinberg
    Michael Steinberg (music critic)
    Michael Steinberg was an American music critic, musicologist, and writer. Born in Breslau, Germany , Steinberg left Germany as one of the Kindertransport child refugees...

    , & Sara Trampuz)

Listing by the American Philosophical Society for Leon Botstein as a new member


President, Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities, Bard College; Coartistic Director, Bard Music Festival; Editor, The Musical Quarterly
The Musical Quarterly
The Musical Quarterly is the oldest academic journal on music in America. Originally established in 1915 by Oscar Sonneck, the journal was edited by Sonneck until his death in 1928...

; Music Director and Conductor, American Symphony Orchestra; Music Director and Conductor, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra/Israel Broadcasting Authority

Additional sources