This Saturday would have been the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is marking the occasion with a weekend-long blowout, Lenny at 100: A Bernstein Centennial Festival. It would be near impossible to imagine anyone in today’s classical music world occupying the sort of esteemed position in American culture as the conductor, composer, pianist, and public educator held in his heyday, but such was the power of Bernstein’s drive, charisma, and sheer talent.
Miguel Harth-Bedoya will play old favorites like the Candide Overture and selections from On the Town and West Side Story. However, you’ll also have a chance to discover rarities like Slava! A Political Overture, a high-energy concert work dedicated to cellist and Soviet dissident Mstislav Rostropovich, as well as Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs, a jazz work for a small band and a clarinet soloist. His music from the 1954 film On the Waterfront will make you wish that Bernstein had written more movie scores, while his arias from his opera Trouble in Tahiti send up the vapidities of commercial jazz music from the 1950s and the selections from his late suite Arias and Barcarolles showcase the range of his influences and his ability to conjure up slapstick humor or grand tragedy. All that’ll be missing is the departed maestro gyrating on the podium.
Lenny at 100: A Bernstein Centennial Festival runs Fri-Sun at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. Tickets are $5-90 for single tickets. Call 817-665-6000.