To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time. -Leonard Bernstein
Get ready for the big Bernstein Centennial! Aug. 25 marked the 99th anniversary of the birth in Lawrence, Mass. of the legendary pianist, composer, conductor and force of nature who was famously described early in his career as “hopelessly fated for success.” “His fast-burning energies, his bewildering versatility and his profuse gifts for both music and theater coalesced to make him a high-profile figure in a dozen fields, among them symphonic music, Broadway musicals, the ballet, films and television,” wrote critic Donal Henahan of the New York Times.
All those fields – and many more – are gearing up to mark the Bernstein Centennial in 2017-18. Expect to hear lots and lots of Lenny in the coming months, so let us be among the first!
We’ve got a pair of performances to share from the Francis Auditorium stage that feature Bernstein at his most beloved, as well as an early work that reflects Bernstein’s life-long penchant for puckish humor in his music.
We’ll start with this performance by the Tempest Trio (our 2016 Ensemble in Residence at the Heifetz Institute), of a piano trio written when Bernstein was a 19-year old undergraduate at Harvard. Trio (and Heifetz Faculty) members Ilya Kaler and Amit Peled, and even pianist Alon Goldstein embrace the Heifetz Institute performance with this straight-up stand-up encore of the 2nd movement Tempo di Marcia!
Next, Bernstein at his most familiar, with the durable melodies of West Side Story transformed into a brilliant showcase for violin and piano. The pyrotechnics some from violinist Rachell Wong and pianist Carlos Avila. Fasten your seat belts!