Founded in 1990, the Bard Music Festival focuses on the life and work of a single composer, presenting that work in the cultural and social context of his or her time. Recent festivals have explored the worlds of Puccini, Carlos Chávez, Sibelius, Berg, Wagner, Prokofiev, Elgar, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Stravinsky, and Schubert. The Bard Music Festival is part of the seven-week SummerScape series, which the Wall Street Journal called “one of the most intellectually stimulating of all American summer festivals.“
The John Cage Trust, created to oversee the use of the published and unpublished work of one of the 20th century’s most important composers, has permanent residence at Bard College. The trust’s holdings—which include scores, recordings, texts, artworks, Cage’s personal library, and ephemera—are accessible to scholars, students, faculty, and the general public. The John Cage Trust also generates courses, workshops, and concerts, as well as other educational activities and programs.
The Old Gym is a multipurpose, student-run arts space with the technical capabilities of a small black-box theater. It is open to any student who wants to explore performance or alternative installation projects. The space is managed by a committee of students representing every artistic discipline—theater and performance, film and electronic arts, dance, studio arts, photography, and music.