Leonard Bernstein In The Spotlight For The Next Two Years

Aug 28, 2017

The centennial anniversary of Leonard Bernstein is coming up on August 25, 2018, and for the next two years there will be tributes galore—in Philadelphia and throughout the world. WRTI will remember this American icon with special programming, features, and more. Orchestras and museums will commemorate Bernstein with over 1000 events on six continents.

The Philadelphia Orchestra will present a raft of Bernstein programs this fall and next year. Among them, on October 4th the orchestra opens Carnegie Hall with his Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and the Symphonic Suite from his film score On The Waterfront.  The next night, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will bring these two classics back to Philadelphia for the Orchestra's opening night in Verizon Hall. Violinist Hillary Hahn will perform his Serenade with The Philadelphians this December.

In March 2018, The National Museum of American Jewish History launches a new exhibition about Bernstein's life, including his advocacy for various political causes: Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music. Also next March, Curtis Institute of Music will present its famous alumnus' opera, A Quiet Place.

The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles is spearheading a special traveling exhibition of photos, personal items, and correspondence: Bernstein at 100, opening at the Kennedy Center in September. The London Symphony, The Vienna Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic will join other orchestras around the globe with focused attention on Bernstein's compositions.

Bernstein's creative enthusiasm, grounded in classical music, touched jazz, pop and Broadway. His full and fascinating life included Philadelphia connections, starting with his study of conducting under Fritz Reiner at Curtis Institute of Music. Bernstein often led orchestras from the keyboard, a feat he first performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1949. Among his 22 honorary degrees, Bernstein received an honorary law degree from Temple University in 1959. He brought concerts for children to a new level.

Check out the Leonard Bernstein at 100 website for more information about the two-year worldwide celebration of the life and career of the 20th-century cultural giant.

Radio feature includes excerpts from Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue" with Bernstein at the piano, and Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic in Rossini’s William Tell Overture.