Artistic genius Leonard Berstein — the creative force behind iconic works like West Side Story and On the Town — would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2018. To mark the centennial birthday of the great 20th-century musical Renaissance man, festivities spanning six continents officially begin Friday, August 25, 2017, Bernstein’s 99th birthday.
- Leonard Bernstein at 100 is a two-year worldwide celebration of Bernstein’s 100th birthday.
- The National Museum of American Jewish History marks the centennial with the 2018 exhibition Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music.
- A half-dozen additional Philadelphia arts organizations to participate in Leonard Bernstein at 100.
Organized by the Leonard Bernstein Office, Leonard Bernstein at 100 is a two-year worldwide celebration of Bernstein’s legacy as a composer, conductor, educator, activist and humanitarian.
Continuing through what would have been his 100th year until August 25, 2019, Leonard Bernstein at 100 will see more than 1,000 events, exhibitions and performances in such cities as New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Paris, Vienna, Rome, and Budapest, as well as in China, India, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and Israel. (For more info on the worldwide events, visit the calendar.)
Of course, Philadelphia — home of the Curtis Institute of Music, where Bernstein studied conducting with Fritz Reiner — will host its own share of Bernstein festivities.
Leonard Bernstein at 100 in Philadelphia
Anchoring the local centennial observance, the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) will mount the first large-scale museum exhibition to address Bernstein’s life, Jewish identity and social activism.
Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music, opening March 16, 2018 at NMAJH, will feature sound installations, interactive media and more than 100 historic artifacts, all exploring how Bernstein used his passions and position to inspire social change. The exhibition will take a dive into Bernstein’s perspective as a champion of diversity and an American Jew who lived through World War II and the Holocaust, Vietnam and an era of heavy social change.
Incredibly prolific and highly regarded in artistic fields including symphonic music, Broadway musicals, ballet, films and television, Bernstein’s canon of work will be further celebrated in Philadelphia with the participation of half a dozen cultural institutions.
This fall, The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will perform West Side Story in Concert October 12-15, 2017, accompanied by a cast of Broadway vocalists. In February 2018, the Philly POPS and conductor David Charles Abell will take on Lenny’s Revolution, a show of popular Bernstein repertoire.
On view through December 31, 2017, the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music hosts Bernstein, the Conductor, an exhibition featuring sheet music, programs, photos and more.
As the celebration of this master continues, check back for more on upcoming events.
For more, follow along with #BernsteinAt100 to be a part of this global birthday party.