NEW YORK – The Orchestra Now performs Debussy, Howard, and Rachmaninoff

The Orchestra Now of the esteemed Bard College delivered a spellbinding performance under the baton of the gifted guest conductor Chloé Van Soeterstède in her premiere New York appearance on a memorable evening. The program featured Claude Debussy’s Prelude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Dani Howard’s Trombone Concerto featuring trombonist Peter Moore in his premiere New York performance, and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances.

Trombonist Peter Moore performs with conductor Chloé Van Soeterstède and The Orchestra Now at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater. Photo by Patrick Arias

Trombonist Peter Moore performs with conductor Chloé Van Soeterstède and The Orchestra Now at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater. Photo by Patrick Arias

Ethereal Splendor

The concert opened with Debussy’s Prelude à l’après-midi d’un faune, a work renowned for its impressionistic, ethereal splendor. Van Soeterstède masterfully guided the orchestra through Debussy’s subtle textures and flowing dynamics. The woodwinds shone brightly, capturing the distrait quintessence of the faun’s afternoon. The interplay between the flutes and harps was exquisite, creating an almost tangible sense of tranquility that transported the audience to a serene, pastoral landscape.

L-R Chloé Van Soeterstède, Conductor. Photo by Olivia da Costa. Peter Moore, Trombone, Courtesy peter.moore_, instagram.com. Dani Howard, Composer. Photo by Emma Fenton

L-R Chloé Van Soeterstède, Conductor. Photo by Olivia da Costa. Peter Moore, Trombone, Courtesy peter.moore_, instagram.com. Dani Howard, Composer. Photo by Emma Fenton

Electrifying

Next on the program was the highly anticipated New York premiere of Dani Howard’s Trombone Concerto, featuring soloist Peter Moore, whose virtuosic performance was nothing short of electrifying. Howard’s composition is a modern masterpiece, blending traditional concerto form with contemporary elements. At times, the sonic landscape was cinematic, evoking vivid imagery and painting scenes in the listener’s mind like landscapes, expressive moments, and vigorous sequences.

Gallant Themes

Moore’s technical prowess and emotive playing portrayed the full range of the trombone’s capabilities, from powerful, brassy statements to rich, vibrant sounds and lyrical passages. Van Soeterstède and the orchestra provided sensitive, dynamic accompaniment, ensuring that the concerto’s intricate features and gallant themes were effusively realized.

Conductor Chloé Van Soeterstède and The Orchestra Now at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater. Photo by Patrick Arias

Conductor Chloé Van Soeterstède and The Orchestra Now at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater. Photo by Patrick Arias

Virtuosic Clarity

The evening concluded with Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, a work demanding precision and passion from the performers. The expressive and precise Van Soeterstède led the orchestra through the three movements with virtuosic clarity and intensity. The first movement’s rhythmic drive and haunting melodies were performed with scrupulous attention to detail. The second movement, a waltz, was performed with sophistication and a hint of melancholy, highlighting Rachmaninoff’s capacity to convey profound sentiment through dance rhythms. The final movement, with its energetic and complex interplay of themes, was a thrilling conclusion to the concert. The orchestra’s performance was both powerful and nuanced, showcasing their technical skill and poignant strength.

L-R Sergei Rachmaninoff, by George Grantham Bain, Public Domain. Claude Debussy portrait (1908) by Otto Wegener. Public Domain.

L-R Sergei Rachmaninoff, by George Grantham Bain, Public Domain. Claude Debussy portrait (1908) by Otto Wegener. Public Domain.

Captivating Journey

Overall, the concert was a resounding success, thanks to the exceptional talents of Chloé Van Soeterstède and The Orchestra Now. The carefully curated program and the stunning performances left the audience in awe, reaffirming Bard College’s reputation as a hub of musical excellence. Moreover, this evening will be remembered for its artistry and the captivating journey through the diverse soundscapes of Debussy, Howard, and Rachmaninoff.

The Orchestra Now performs Debussy, Howard, and Rachmaninoff

Chloé Van Soeterstède, conductor

Peter Moore, Trombone

Claude Debussy: Prelude a l’après-midi d’un faune, L. 86 (1894)
Dani Howard: Trombone Concerto (2021)

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 (1940)

Frederick P. Rose Hall

Broadway at 60th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10019

The Orchestra Now

ton.bard.edu /@theorchnow
BARD COLLEGE bard.edu

P.O. Box 5000
30 Campus Road
Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson
NY 12504
845-752-2422
FIND MORE at bard.edu

Readers may also enjoy our reviews of The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony presents Romantic Reflections, The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony records TchaikovskyPeter and the WolfTranscendent Triumph and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2, and The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.