One hundred years after his birth and 28 years after his death, Leonard Bernstein’s legacy still shines bright. A multitude of events will celebrate his 100th birthday on August 25, 2018.
A summer-long Bernstein Centennial Celebration at the Tanglewood Music Festival will climax with a gala concert on August 25 featuring major artists from the worlds of classical music, film, and Broadway. The star-studded concert will be recorded live by Great Performances and broadcast on PBS on December 28; the broadcast will also be distributed to major television outlets throughout Europe and Asia. The event will spotlight Bernstein’s wide-ranging talents as a composer; his gifts as an interpreter and champion of other composers; and his indelible role as an inspiration to new generations of musicians and music lovers around the world.
This summer in London, the BBC Proms have featured eight major Bernstein works, including two of his symphonies and a concert performance of West Side Story. The Proms’ celebration will culminate on Bernstein’s birthday with the London Symphony Orchestra’s concert performance of his first Broadway hit, On the Town.
Also on the birthdate, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform Bernstein works at the Edinburgh International Festival, while the Graffenegg Music Festival in Austria will present the Tonkünstler Orchestra in an all-Bernstein gala concert.
Bernstein’s daughter Jamie said, “My brother Alexander, sister Nina, and I have been traveling our heads off for nearly a year now, attempting to attend, or participate in, as many of the centennial-related events around the world as we can manage. But there are over 3,500 of them! No matter how much we ‘trifurcate,’ we’ll never catch them all, and no matter how many events we attend, we’re always missing something else fantastic. This is a truly wonderful problem to be having. We’re so touched by the worldwide outpouring of celebrations of our father’s life.”
In addition to celebratory performances, Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story is in pre-production, and two biographical films are in preparation: one with Bradley Cooper starring and directing, and one starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
The GRAMMY Museum’s exhibition “Leonard Bernstein at 100″, currently on view at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, will travel to Boston’s New England Conservatory this fall will continue on to Boston, Tulsa, Portland, and Chicago. Additionally, the Philadelphia-based National Museum of American Jewish History’s exhibition “Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music” will tour to Brandeis University in Waltham, MA and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood, OH. This fall, the Jewish Museum in Vienna will mount an exhibit: “Bernstein: A New Yorker in Vienna,” while concurrently the Haus der Musik (Vienna) will feature an exhibition about Bernstein.
Sony, Deutsche Grammophon, and Warner Classics will be releasing new recordings surrounding the birthday, and Apple Music will be featuring Bernstein’s recordings on their Classical Radio through the end of the year. Additionally, Classical.org, the official digital partner of the Centennial, will continue their exploration of the “Leonard Bernstein Experience” with new exclusive content through the end of the year, including a focus on Bernstein’s poetry.
Leonard Bernstein At 100 is a two-year global celebration of the life and career of the 20th century cultural icon, featuring over 3,500 events on six continents. The festivities were kicked off last September at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and will continue worldwide through August 2019.
For more information and a complete list of events surrounding the centennial birthday, visit leonardbernstein.com/news/calendar.