Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra Premieres Walkway Over the Hudson on April 2

Hyde Park, NY – Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra highlights its 10th anniversary season with the premiere of Walkway Over the Hudson, an original symphonic work commissioned by NDSO and written by Ben Kutner, a 24 year-old New York-based composer.

Under the direction of Kathleen Beckmann, the orchestra will perform the complete work on Saturday, April 2 at 8 p.m. in The Culinary Institute of America’s Marriott Pavilion in Hyde Park, NY. Plus, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, NDSO will present Ferde Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite.

Both works are to be accompanied by images of the bridge and canyon projected on a screen behind the orchestra. Photos of the bridge have been selected from thousands taken over the span of 23 years by Poughkeepsie attorney Fred Schaeffer—a visionary and driving force behind the transformation of the bridge.

Mr. Kutner describes Walkway Over the Hudson as a three-movement symphony in which each movement corresponds loosely with a chapter in the bridge’s history: a vital rail link, a fire-damaged structure lying in disuse, and the grand footbridge that exists today.

“While the bridge’s function has evolved, its structure has remained largely untouched,” says Mr. Kutner. “The three movements of this piece all have threads of interconnectivity—a way to trace the changing function of the bridge while still maintaining its recognizable shape. I wanted the audience to hear the same bridge at every moment of the piece,” he explains.

To complement this evening of inspiring music and images, the CIA will open its Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici for a special $39 pre-performance dining experience. The menu will include family-style Caesar salad and antipasti, a selection of five pastas served tableside, and a set dessert. Reservations for this pre-performance dinner are available from 5–6:15 p.m. The $39 excludes beverages, service charge, and tax. To book your table, call 845-905-4533 or e-mail This special dining event will sell out, so please make reservations early.

Tickets for the concert are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $5 for students. To buy tickets and get more information about the concert, go to or call 845-635-0877.

The Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra was formed in 2006 to bring live orchestral music to northern Dutchess County and the surrounding Hudson Valley area. Now in its tenth season, the orchestra offers the best possible live performances of classical music at family-affordable prices.

Ben Kutner is a New York-based composer, conductor and multi-instrumentalist. His music has recently appeared at St. Mark’s Church in NYC, Brown University’s Granoff Center, the New York Fringe Festival, Brooklyn’s Redwood Studios, and on The Huffington Post. Since graduating from Brown University in 2014, Ben has composed for symphony orchestra, opera, dance, and film, and has collaborated with numerous organizations including the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra, Project 44 Dance, and Tributary Dance. He is the founder and music director of the Brooklyn-based ensemble, New Parnassus.

Fred Schaeffer has been a practicing attorney in Dutchess County for over 30 years and is a former president of the Dutchess County Bar Association.

After many years of community, civic, and political activities, his hobbies of bicycling, photography, and history led to an interest in the historic Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge. In January of 2004 he became chairman of the Walkway Over the Hudson organization, a nonprofit group, which owned the bridge. As chairman, he led the organization’s efforts to convert it into the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, which opened in October of 2009. The 38 million dollar project has become a leading tourist attraction in the Hudson Valley, with over two million visitors since its opening six years ago.

Kathleen Beckmann is the artistic director and conductor of the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra. She has been on the podium for the orchestra since its inception in 2006. During this time, guest conducting opportunities have led her to Eastern European orchestras in Bucharest, Romania; Kharkiv, Ukraine; and Ruse, Bulgaria. Locally, she has guest conducted performances with the Delaware Valley Opera Company. For the 2015–16 season, she will also be a guest conductor for the Broward Symphony Orchestra.

Kathleen Beckmann was selected for the Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Awards as “Individual Artist for 2013” by Arts Mid Hudson. Kathleen has a degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music and a Masters in Conducting Performance from SUNY Fredonia under David Rudge. She was selected for the National Orchestra Conducting Seminar at the University of Wisconsin with David Becker and for the London Conducting Workshop under John Farrer and Neil Thomson at the Royal College of Music. She also has studied The Celibidache Technique with Florin Totan, principal conductor of the Valcea Philharmonic.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra in concert at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. On April 2, 2016, at the CIA's Marriott Pavilion, the orchestra will debut a new symphonic work honoring the nearby Walkway Over the Hudson. (Photo credit: Guy Peifer)
View hi-res image >

Media Contact:

Guy Peifer
Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra

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