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Let the festivities begin! Leonard Bernstein at 100

Posted September 25, 2017

The Leonard Bernstein at 100 Centennial celebrations kicked off this weekend! Highlights include:

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

The opening of the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live exhibition "Leonard Bernstein at 100". Open now through November 5, 2017.

"Bernstein on Broadway" in the Eisenhower Theater. Three-time Tony Award-winning director Kathleen Marshall and music director Rob Fisher will lead Mikaela Bennett (The Golden Apple at Encores!), Santino Fontana (Cinderella, Act One), Matthew Hydzik (the Kennedy Center production of Side Show), Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess), Beth Malone (Fun Home), and Laura Osnes (Bandstand, Cinderella) in an extraordinary evening of Bernstein's music for the theater.

The opening night Gala of the National Symphony Orchestra with new music director Gianandrea Noseda, cellist Yo-yo Ma, and soprano Cynthia Erivo.

Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Maestro Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra opened their season with an all-Bernstein program featuring mezzo-soprano (and host) Frederica von Stade, soprano Julia Bullock, and BSO principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe. They performed Divertimento for Orchestra, Ḥalil, for flute and orchestra, Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and various vocal selections.

Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Symphony Orchestra enjoyed a historic 50-year relationship. From 1940 to 1990, Bernstein conducted the orchestra in 31 seasons - and the Berkshire (Tanglewood) Music Center Orchestra in 26 seasons. He worked with conductors and the student orchestra to influence a generation of professional musicians.

In 1949, the BSO premiered two of Bernstein’s works, "Symphony No. 2: The Age of Anxiety" under the baton Serge Koussevitzky with Bernstein as solo pianist. In 1980, Bernstein premiered his “Divertimento For Orchestra”. Divertimento was dedicated “with affection to the Boston Symphony Orchestra in celebration in its First Centenary”. In 1976, Bernstein conducted members of the BSO to provide musical examples in his Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard.

Bernstein performed with the BSO over 133 times in total, 60 times in Boston. He had conducted the orchestra in 85 performances before his 35th birthday. Overall, he conducted the BSO and student orchestra in nearly 250 performances.

Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA

Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas and San Francisco Symphony began their celebrations of the Leonard Bernstein at 100 Centennial by performing Prelude, Fugue & Riffs, Chichester Psalms, Arias and Barcarolles, and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. The orchestra was joined by clarinetist Carey Bell, mezzo Isabel Leonard, bass-baritone Ryan McKinny, boy soprano Nicholas Hu, actors Matt Herrero and Kack O'Reilly, writer Humphrey Burton, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus (directed by Ragnar Bohlin).

Bernstein conducted the San Francisco Symphony over three concert seasons, the first in 1945. He premiered his "Three Dance Episodes from On the Town" with the orchestra in 1946. In 1988, Michael Tilson Thomas and Leonard Bernstein premiered the original two-piano version of Arias and Barcarolles in New York City.

Google Cultural Institute

Google Arts & Culture, in conjunction with the archives of Carnegie Hall, Museum of the City of New York, NYPL The New York Public Library, and National Museum of American Jewish History, launched a West Side Story project on their website. The experience will also be on display at the GRAMMY Museum exhibition "Leonard Bernstein at 100" at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through Nov 5th.