Bard Music West


Bard Music West

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April 6-7, 2018

Noe Valley Ministry
1021 Sanchez St. (at 23rd)
San Francisco


“Music is my weapon. I believe in music, in its spirituality, its exaltation, its ecstatic nobility, its humor, its power to penetrate to the basic fineness of every human being.”

                   —Henry Cowell

Following its critically acclaimed first season, The World of György Ligeti, Bard Music West returns to Noe Valley Ministry in April with a deep dive into the world of Bay Area visionary Henry Cowell. Join us in discovering how Cowell’s inventive ideas and daring new techniques shocked the music world and how his guileless nature and inquisitive mind inspired countless artists, including students John Cage and Lou Harrison and collaborator Martha Graham.

With three performances, a talk, and composer/choreographer interviews, delve into Cowell’s fascinating life and influences and trace the evolution of American music.


Bard Music West Quartet. PC: Kevin Fryer


Through one mind, a universe of music


At Bard Music West, we seek to understand our world through music. We're an annual festival that explores the mind of a 20th-century or contemporary composer, delving into the ideas, obsessions, movements, and people that captured his or her imagination. Our events range backwards and forwards in time, across musical genres and creative media.

A rich inaugural season
— San Francisco Classical Voice







About Bard Music Festival

About Bard Music Festival

“Part boot camp for the brain, part spa for the spirit”

—The New York Times

Bard Music West is a new generation of the Bard Music Festival. Founded in 1990, the annual Bard Music Festival presents a series of thematic programs that explore the music, life, and times of a featured composer. Performances, informal talks, special events, and a book of essays, all designed to appeal to a broad audience, serve to place the work of the composer in historical, cultural, and social context. The Festival is committed to bringing to life rarely heard works, investigating the influences of popular and folk music on classical compositions, and broadening and diversifying the audience for classical music. 


Our Team

Our Team

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Allegra Chapman
Artistic Codirector
Executive Director

Described as "brilliant" by the San Francisco Classical Voice, San Francisco-based pianist Allegra Chapman is dedicated to engaging with new audiences as performer, presenter, and educator. She has performed at prestigious venues throughout the United States, Europe, and China, including Alice Tully Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, the Bard Music Festival, the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum in Budapest, and Xi'an Concert Hall in Xi'an, China. Her performances have been broadcast on WQXR New York, WFMT Chicago, and KALW San Francisco. 

An avid chamber musician and passionate advocate for contemporary music, Allegra performs regularly with San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and UC Berkeley's Eco Ensemble, and has worked with many composers including Joan Tower and Charles Wuorinen. She has collaborated with members of International Contemporary Ensemble and the Telegraph and Orion String Quartets. As an educator, Allegra enjoys a thriving teaching studio and has coached chamber music ensembles at many institutions, including San Francisco State University. She is a faculty member at California Music Preparatory Academy and the Xi’an International Music Festival. 

Allegra studied with Jeremy Denk and Peter Serkin at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, graduating in the inaugural class with degrees in Piano Performance and History. She continued her studies as a scholarship student at The Juilliard School where she earned her Master of Music degree with Seymour Lipkin and Julian Martin. Allegra previously studied with John McCarthy and has also worked with Dr. Sharon Mann at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

To learn more, please visit allegrachapman.com.


Laura Gaynon
Artistic Codirector
Associate Director


As a frequent performer, educator, and presenter of cello and chamber music, cellist Laura Gaynon has performed in concert halls across the United States, Europe, Canada, and China. Currently based in the Bay Area, Laura performs with the American Bach Soloists, the Pacific Crest Chamber Players, the Magik*Magik Orchestra, and the baroque chamber ensemble Musa. As a chamber musician, she has collaborated with luminaries including Kim Kashkashian, Geoff Nuttall, Bonnie Hampton, Paul Hersh, and Ian Swensen. Laura is cofounder and coartistic director of Bard Music West in San Francisco. She is dedicated to promoting the music of today, and spearheaded Musa’s “Art Inspiring Art” commissioning project, now in its third year.

As an educator, Laura has a private cello studio in San Francisco and directs the String Quartet Program at Thomas Hart Middle School in Pleasanton, CA. She is faculty at Chamber Music by the Bay, California Music Preparatory Academy and the Pacific Crest Music Festival. Laura holds degrees from Yale University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she graduated with a master of music in cello performance, an artist certificate in chamber music, and an emphasis in historical performance practice as a student of Jennifer Culp and Elisabeth Reed.

To learn more about Laura, visit her website: www.lauragaynon.com


Bard Music Festival, New York


Leon Botstein and
Christopher H. Gibbs

Artistic Directors, Bard Music Festival

Irene Zedlacher

Executive Director, Bard Music Festival

Debra Pemstein

Vice President for Development
and Alumni/ae Affairs, Bard College

Laura Austrian 

Senior Grant Writer and Grant Writer/Program Development Associate, Bard College