Leon Botstein to visit as Kovler FellowAmerican Symphony music director; college president since age 23 Leon Botstein (A.B.'67) -- president of Bard College, music director of the American Symphony Orchestra, professor, historian, critic and conductor -- will visit the University on Monday, April 4, and Tuesday, April 5, as a Marjorie Kovler Fellow.
While at the University, Botstein will attend classes and meet informally with students and faculty. He will also deliver a lecture, "Thoughts on Music and Culture," at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, in Goodspeed Recital Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.
A musician and historian by training, Botstein became president of Bard College in 1975 at the age of 28. He was first named a college president -- at Franconia College in New Hampshire -- when he was just 23, making him at that time the youngest college president in America.
Botstein was named music director of the American Symphony Orchestra in New York City in 1992. He also serves as conductor of its chamber orchestra series.
In his first season as director, Botstein presented thematically organized programs that avoided standard repertory in favor of rarely heard 19th- and 20th-century works. The programs related the music to trends in the visual arts as well as broader historical issues. The New York Times said Botstein presented "an innovative, risky program, melding significant but unappreciated works with lectures and synchronized exhibits at major museums, an approach unlike any New York had seen."
Botstein is artistic director of the Bard Music Festival and has been a frequent guest conductor with such orchestras as the London Philharmonic and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston. His fifth recording, of two versions of the Brahms Serenade No. 1 in D Major with the American Symphony Orchestra, was released this year.
Botstein is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and has published more than 100 articles and reviews. He is also the author of the book "Music and Its Public: Habits of Listening and the Crisis of Musical Modernism in Vienna, 1870-1914," to be published by the University of Chicago Press.
After graduating at age 16 from the High School of Music and Art in New York, Botstein received his A.B. in 1967 from Chicago. He received his A.M. in 1968 and his Ph.D. in 1985, both in European history, from Harvard.
The Marjorie Kovler Visiting Fellows program is designed to encourage interaction between students at the University and prominent individuals in the arts and public affairs. Marjorie Kovler was founder and president of Kovler Galleries and a prominent figure in the Chicago art world.