Bard College Receives Grant for First Orchestral Master’s Degree Program

All Things Strings

By Stephanie Powell

August 17, 2015

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Bard College a $2 million grant to go toward the launch of an orchestral music program complete with a training orchestra.

The program, Master of Music Degree Program in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies, is the college’s inaugural orchestral program at the graduate level, and will be complete with a fully functioning ensemble, made up of select conservatory students, the Orchestra Now (TON).

The program will offer students a chance to train in an orchestra that is of professional caliber while earning their master’s degree. The mission, a press release reads, is to “prepare select conservatory graduates for the challenges facing the modern symphony orchestra and to produce scholars and advocates of classical and contemporary music as well as practiced members of a top grade orchestra.” TON students were selected by an audition and academic review process.

Graduate students will study three years in the program, where rehearsals will be held four to five days a week while maintaining courses two to three days a week. Courses will be taught by a combination of Bard College faculty, guest scholars, and performing artists.

 “I would like to thank the Mellon Foundation for this generous grant to our new graduate program in orchestral studies, which is modeled after the successful program of our Center for Curatorial Studies,” Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, said in a statement. “We appreciate the Mellon Foundation’s support of innovative programs such as this one, which binds together the arts and the humanities. This new program extends the same contextual approach we value in the visual arts to practitioners of music in an orchestral setting.”

TON, which will offer students the opportunity to engage in community outreach through regional concert series and community music education programs, will be in residence at Bard College.

All TON students receive a full-tuition scholarship with an additional annual fellowship stipend of $24,000 and health benefits. For more information, visit

Original full story here.