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The Legacy of Leonard Bernstein Will Be Celebrated This Summer at Tanglewood

Tanglewood 2018

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, June 5, 2018

New York City has been enjoying a season bursting with Leonard Bernstein, as befitting his hundredth birthday, with everything from rare performances of art songs to various interpretations of the great “Kaddish” Symphony. Now consider Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood.

But Bernstein had a significant presence at Tanglewood for half the twentieth century, and it is natural that the 2018 Tanglewood season would devote this centennial year to his legacy, with what could only be described as a veritable Bernstein Festival, entitled the Bernstein Centennial Summer—Celebrating Lenny at Tanglewood!

The 2018 season, which extends from June 15 through September 2, will celebrate Bernstein as a composer, conductor, and an educator. The season’s programming centers around Bernstein’s classical output, as well as his music for Broadway and film. But there will also be works by other composers that were central to his life as a conductor and pianist. It looks like a terrific summer of programming, which will be enhanced by the resonance of Bernstein’s significance on the place, and the place’s significance on this great musical figure.

A giant swath of Bernstein’s oeuvre is being performed. Andris Nilsons is conducting such works as the always proud pleasing Chichester Psalms (7/15), the overlooked but delightful Divertimento, the Serenade for Violin and Orchestra, and the ballet Fancy Free (with choreography from Boston Ballet) (8/18). There will be a Boston Pops staged production of On The Town conducted by Keith Lockhart (7/7), a film-with-live-orchestra presentation of West Side Story (7/28), a performance of Trouble In Tahiti (7/12), a performance of Songfest (8/4) and most interestingly (and badly needed), a performance of his 1980’s opera, A Quiet Place by the Tanglewood Music Center Fellows (8/9), as well as a performance of Candide with The Knights (8/22 & 23).

His legacy as a legendary, charismatic conductor is being remembered with performances of great music such as Sibelius’s Fifth with Thomas Adès (7/22), Prokofiev’s Fifth with Charles Dutoit (8/5), and Britten’s Sea Interludes (7/27), and Beethoven’s Ninth with Christoph Eschenbach (8/26), and Copland’s Third, the last piece LB conducted with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (on a program with his Facsimile, 7/23).

In celebrating Bernstein the educator, there will be a concert for “young audiences and their families,” inspired by Bernstein ‘s Young People’s Concerts. There will also be a Colloquium moderated by Michael Tilson Thomas on the subject of Bernstein (8/10-12).

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is currently in discussions about a television broadcast opportunity that would bring the August 25 concert to a worldwide audience, with further details to be announced at a later date. In addition, throughout the summer the Boston Symphony Orchestra will share highlights of its Bernstein celebration through special features posted on its social media platforms and at

There is more. It is a rich season, and fans of twentieth century American music, and of Leonard Bernstein, are in for a treat this summer at Tanglewood!

The Legacy of Leonard Bernstein Will Be Celebrated This Summer at Tanglewood

Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood in 1981; photo: Walter H. Scott.


For information about upcoming performances and to purchase tickets click here.


Editor’s Note: This feature contains previously published material.

Click here for ZEALnyc’s complete list of New York City classical music concerts.

Click here for the latest news in New York City classical music.

Cover: Leonard Bernstein conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra; photo: Walter H, Scott.


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