The Bard College Conservatory of Music in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, has announced a gift of $1.7 million from Bard alumnus László Z. Bitó. The gift will be used to help match a three-to-one challenge grant to Bard from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
In September 2008, the Mellon Foundation awarded the school a four-year three-to-one challenge grant of $2.5 million to establish an endowment for the undergraduate program at the conservatory. Combined with funds raised from other supporters, the gift brings the conservatory significantly closer to its goal of raising $7.5 million by 2012. Bitó and his wife, Olivia B. Carino, have been active in recruiting students from Hungary for the conservatory and, in recognition of their success, have had a scholarship program created in their name.
Founded in 2005, the conservatory enrolls ninety-five students and boasts a roster of forty-two faculty, most of whom are renowned performing artists. In a departure from the traditional conservatory model, the program has been designed to bring together a music curriculum with a liberal arts education and offers a unique double-degree program that requires students to explore studies in music and an academic subject other than music, culminating in both bachelor of music and bachelor of arts degrees.
"The conservatory's mission is to provide the best possible preparation for a person dedicated to a life immersed in the creation and performance of music," says Bard College Conservatory director Robert Martin. "The college and the conservatory are committed to fostering a unified learning environment where the serious study of music is part of the education of the whole person."