'Late Night with Bernstein' is a festival highlight

Composer's daughter will host and Music from Copland House will perform

Leonard Bernstein at a rehearsal in Ullman Amphitheater for the first Festival of the Arts, in 1952.

Brandeis will remember the namesake of its annual Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts with a special performance of “Late Night with Leonard Bernstein,” a program of Bernstein’s favorite music meshed with stories of his life.

Hosted by his daughter, Jamie Bernstein, and performed by the renowned music ensemble Music From Copland House, the intimate evening will feature works by some of Bernstein’s favorite composers, including Copland, Confrey, Coward, Schubert and Chopin, along with personal stories and film clips of the maestro himself.

The event will be held in the Slosberg Music Center on April 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets are free; there is a limit of four per person.

“We feel like this is Bernstein coming home,” says Ingrid Schorr, associate director of the Office of the Arts and producer of the festival. “We want people to see not just his music but his life force – what a funny, charismatic person he was.”

The affectionate and informal recital, which invites audiences into his famous late-night soirees at the Dakota, also offers a glimpse of Bernstein at home – silly and gregarious, and both an eternal teacher and student of music. It debuted in 2011 at Lincoln Center and features performances by soprano Amy Burton and pianists John Musto and Michael Boriskin.

“One thing I always loved about my father was how unafraid he was to be silly,” Jamie Bernstein writes on her father’s official site. “In our family, goofiness was next to godliness. I wish you all could have seen him and his sister singing a song called 'Toujours Glamour,' with different gestures for each of the letters in 'glamour.' I wish you could have seen him playing the Pharaoh of Egypt, in a beach towel and lampshade crown, in my parents' epic home movie, 'Call Me Moses.' I wish you could have heard him tell the classic Jewish jokes, or describe his favorite Vaudeville routines.”

A renowned composer, conductor and teacher, Bernstein was on Brandeis’ Department of Music faculty from 1951 to 1956. He served as a university fellow from 1958 to 1976, and on the university’s board of trustees from 1976 to 1981. For the university’s first commencement, in 1952, he directed the inaugural Festival of the Creative Arts, which included the world premiere of his opera, “Trouble in Tahiti.” 

He is best known as the longtime conductor of the New York Philharmonic, music director for the New York Symphony Orchestra, and as composer of such popular scores as “West Side Story,” “Candide,” “On the Waterfront” and “On the Town.”

Bernstein was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, received a Kennedy Center Honor, a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, and eleven Emmy Awards to name just a few of his honors. 

His daughter is a narrator, writer and broadcaster who has expressed her own passion for classical musical in a variety of ways including The Bernstein Beat, a family concert modeled after her father’s famous Young People’s Concert, and this tribute to her father.

Burton has performed internationally in opera, chamber music, recitals, orchestral concerts and cabaret. In addition to her appearances with the Metropolitan Opera, she sang at a nationally broadcast White House performance in 2002, has recorded for Bridge, Angel/EMI, Albany and other labels and is on faculty at Mannes College of Music, and Songfest in California.

Boriskin, the Copland House artistic and executive director, has performed in leading concert halls around the world, including Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, BBC and Wigmore Hall. He served as musical director for Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project and his NPR series CENTURYVIEW was heard nationwide for several years.

Musto, a frequent guest lecturer at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, has recorded for the Bridge, Harmonia Mundi, Nonesuch, Milken Archives, Naxos and EMI labels. His compositions have garnered two Emmy Awards, two CINE Awards and a Rockefeller fellowship, and he was a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize.

The event is just one of the music, dance, theater, and art events happening over the four days of the festival. Tickets are available at Brandeis Tickets in the Shapiro Campus Center or by phone at (781) 736-3400. A service fee will be applied to phone orders.

Categories: Arts

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