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The American Symphony Orchestra is a New Yorkmarker-based American orchestra founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, then aged 80. Following Maestro Stokowski's departure, Kazuyoshi Akiyama was appointed Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra from 1973-1978. Music Directors during the early 1980s included as principal conductors, Moshe Atzmon and Giuseppe Patanè. In 1985, John Mauceri assumed the post as musical director of American Symphony Orchestra. In 1991, Catherine Comet left her post at the end of her tenure with the orchestra and was succeeded by Bard College president Leon Botstein. Its concertmaster is Erica Kiesewetter.


Stokowski served as music director for the orchestra until May 1972 when, at the age of 90, he returned to Englandmarker. Leon Botstein is the current music director and principal conductor. In addition to its main subscription series at Lincoln Centermarker, the orchestra also performs a lecture/concert series with audience interaction at Symphony spacemarker called Classics Declassified. It is also the resident orchestra of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard Collegemarker, Annandale-on-Hudsonmarker, where it performs a winter concert series as well as during the summer Bard Music Festival. The American Symphony Orchestra has toured the world, and made numerous recordings and broadcasts.

Under Botstein's leadership, the ASO has become a pioneer of thematic programming, in which an attempt is made to compose programs having common themes from literature, art, history, or other sources. Botstein has also emphasized the presentation of works not commonly performed by the principal resident of Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, the NY Philharmonic, such as rarely-performed works by major composers and the best works by lesser-known composers.

In addition to presentation, the American Symphony Orchestra seeks to preserve these works from disappearing from the repertoire. While some rare works are available with complete parts and a score in usable condition, others required extensive restoration and even creation to render them performable. No orchestral parts existed for Johann Strauss Sr.’s Four Temperaments Waltz, for example; the ASO’s extensive efforts to create these parts mean that the work is now available for performance by other orchestras.


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