Dr. Leon Botstein, President and Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Bard College, and Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra, received the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, at HUC-JIR’s Graduation Ceremonies in New York. The convocation took place at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 4 pm. Dr. Botstein presented the Graduation Address.
“We are honored to recognize the distinguished achievement of Leon Botstein, whose vision and energy has promoted innovations in higher education and advanced the growth and vitality of Bard College,” said Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President. “As a consummate musician, he has created a new paradigm as an internationally respected music director whle providing singular leadership to his university.”
Leon Botstein has been President of Bard College since 1975. He received M.A. and Ph.D. Degrees in European History from Harvard. Before coming to Bard, Dr. Botstein was President of Franconia College, a lecturer in history at Boston University, and a special assistant to the President of the New York City Board of Education. He is a Past Chairman of the Harper’s Magazine Foundation and of the New York Council for the Humanities. Dr. Botstein is currently Chairman of the Board of the Central European University and a Board member of the Open Society Institute.
Dr. Botstein has been Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. In 2003, he was appointed the Music Director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra of the Israel Broadcast Authority. He is also co-artistic Director of the Bard Music Festival.
Dr. Botstein has recorded major classical and contemporary works with the leading orchestras of the world. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and The Compleat Brahms (1999), and co-editor of Jews and the City of Vienna, 1870-1938 (2004). He is author of Jefferson’s Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture (1997) and Judentum und Modernität: Essays zur Rolle der Juden in der Deutschen und Österreichischen Kultur, 1848-1938 (1991), which was translated into Russian. He has published widely on the subjects of music, education, history, and culture.