From Boosey & Hawkes
London's leading performing organisations celebrate the centennial of Leonard Bernstein, with a symphonic cycle by the London Symphony Orchestra, a BBC Total Immersion day, a triple bill by The Royal Ballet, and performances of Mass at the Southbank Centre.
This season sees celebrations commence for the centennial of Leonard Bernstein in 2018, with London events this autumn focussed on Marin Alsop and Simon Rattle at the helm of the London Symphony Orchestra. Concerts at the Barbican include a cycle of Bernstein's three symphonies and concert performances of Wonderful Town.
Marin Alsop, mentored by Bernstein in her early conducting career, is on the podium for Symphony No.3 'Kaddish' on 5 November, launching the cycle of three symphonies by Bernstein, the orchestra's former President. Narrator Claire Bloom, soprano Laura Claycomb, the London Symphony Chorus and Tiffin Boys' Choir join the LSO in this dramatic work for voices and orchestra moving from a crisis of faith to a plea for peace. The symphony is paired with Halil, the haunting work for flute and orchestra dedicated to a young musician killed in the Yom Kippur War, and the Adagio from Symphony No.10 by Mahler, the composer whose works Bernstein championed throughout his career. On Saturday 4 November Alsop conducts a selection of Bernstein works at a Barbican family concert at 2.30 pm.
The LSO's symphonic cycle continues on 8 November with Symphony No.1 'Jeremiah' at the Barbican conducted by Marin Alsop with soprano Jamie Barton. The programme pairs Bernstein's first symphony, drawing on the biblical story of Jeremiah and the ruin of the temple in Jerusalem, with Mahler's first, the 'Titan'.
Simon Rattle's first season as Musical Director of the LSO continues on 16 December with an all-Bernstein programme. The symphonic cycle is completed with Bernstein's second, 'The Age of Anxiety', part symphony, part tone poem, part piano concerto, with Krystian Zimerman as soloist, one of the leading interpreters of the work. Inspired by W H Auden's epic poem of the same name, Bernstein's work is a set of variations following four strangers struggling to combat their loneliness and isolation in an increasingly industrialised world. The second half of the concert is a performance of Bernstein's musical Wonderful Town, telling of two sisters seeking success and bright lights from their basement apartment in New York City. The all-star cast includes Danielle de Niese and Nathan Gunn. A repeat performance of the musical is given at an early evening concert on 21 December.
The New Year launches the Bernstein centennial year of 2018 itself, with a BBC Total Immersion day at the Barbican devoted to the composer on 27 January, featuring three concerts, film and conversation. A chamber programme at 1.00 pm sees Guildhall Musicans in Arias and Barcarolles, Clarinet Sonata, Touches and Prelude, Fugue and Riffs. The BBC Singers' concert at 5.00 pm culminates in the chamber version of Chichester Psalms, together with Missa Brevis and choral works conducted by Ragnar Bohlin. The main evening concert brings a rare performance of Bernstein's Songfest with vocal soloists and the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Charles Abell. The programme is opened with the Candide Overture and includes the Plato-inspired Serenade for violin and orchestra.
The Royal Ballet stages a Bernstein triple bill at Covent Garden opening on 15 March with seven performances. At the centre is Liam Scarlett's 2014 choreography set to Bernstein's The Age of Anxiety, receiving its first revival. Two new Bernstein ballets by Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon complete the programme.
The Southbank Centre presents a production of Bernstein's stagework Mass at the Royal Festival Hall on 6 and 7 April directed by Jude Kelly. This major outreach project is conducted by Marin Alsop with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, baritone Paulo Szot in the central role of Celebrant, and amateur forces drawn from the local community for the rock band, brass band, choir, children's choir and street singers. Crossing boundaries between classical, jazz and rock, Bernstein's work asks questions about the American dream following the assassination of JF Kennedy. The Southbank Centre is planning a series of events around the Mass performances, and is now inviting performers to apply to take part in the staging.