Prelude, Fugue & Riffs

The 90th Worldwide

by Craig Urquhart

New York City is certainly not the only place in the world that is celebrating Leonard Bernstein in 2008. Earlier this year, the Philadelphia Orchestra presented a Bernstein Festival. The Dallas Symphony also paid tribute to Bernstein with three all-Bernstein concerts conducted by Andrew Litton. February saw the Toronto Philharmonic present a 90th Birthday celebration under the baton of Kerry Stratton. Jamie Bernstein and Michael Barrett accompanied by members of the Israel Philharmonic and four vocal soloists on a five-city tour presenting Bernstein's Broadway music. In March, the Sydney Symphony joined in with a Bernstein Tribute conducted by Wayne Marshall.

On March 31 in New York City, the Collegiate Chorale and the Orchestra of St. Luke's gave the New York premiere of A White House Cantata. In celebration of both Jerome Robbins's and Leonard Bernstein's 90th birthdays, the New York City Ballet presented four programs in May featuring several of their collaborations: Fancy Free, Dybbuk and West Side Story Suite.

Also in May, the Boston Pops presented multiple Bernstein tribute concerts with performances of Suite from Fancy Free, Suite from On The Waterfront, Overture to Candide and selections from Broadway shows featuring the Boston Conservatory's Theater Division. Keith Lockhart conducted with special guest, John Williams.

June marks the inauguration of the Gettysburg Festival, a highlight of which will be a performance of Songfest conducted by Charly Prince.

On July 18, the Pacific Music Festival will join in the celebrations with a concert featuring the PMF Orchestra, members of the Sapporo Symphony, Anne Akiko Meyers, violin; Peter Schmidl, clarinet; Makoto Ozone, piano and three conductors – Tadaaki Otaka, Luis Biava and Kentaro Kawase. Japan will also see a flurry of Bernstein concerts presented by conductor Yutaka Sado with the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra that will take place in the Grand Hall of the Center.

July also features a seven-concert Bernstein Series presented by the Singapore Symphony as well as a concert by the Shanghai Symphony in memory of Bernstein. August will bring more grand celebrations. Tanglewood Music Center will repeat the Boston Pops Bernstein tribute, while the Blossom Music Center will present the Blossom Festival Orchestra in a special concert featuring Jamie Bernstein as narrator, with Loras John Schissel conducting. On August 24 the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival will present Viva Lenny! The Great Bernstein Gala Concert.

In September, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra will honor Bernstein in concert; Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct the all-star program which will be repeated at the Gala Opening of Carnegie Hall. Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will also pay tribute to Bernstein in performances of Symphony No. 1: Jeremiah and multiple performances of MASS in Baltimore, New York and Washington, DC.

Many other celebrations are planned throughout the world in the coming months, to be reported in our next edition. In the meantime, to find out more please visit

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