Great Performances: The Bernstein Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood, filmed August 25 at the Massachusetts music center, debuts on PBS stations around the country December 28 at 9 PM ET; check local listings.
The summer concert spotlighted Bernstein’s talents as a composer, his gifts as a great interpreter and champion of other composers, his role as an inspiration to a new generation of musicians, and his presence as a driving musical force at Tanglewood from 1940–1990.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra was joined by members of the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Pacific Music Festival, and Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival—all ensembles that were important to Bernstein and his career.
The orchestra was conducted by BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, Boston Pops Conductor Laureate John Williams, San Francisco Symphony Music Director and one of Bernstein’s close associates and friends Michael Tilson Thomas, and National Symphony Orchestra Conductor Laureate Christoph Eschenbach, who won the Leonard Bernstein Award from the Pacific Music Festival.
Host and six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald was joined onstage at Tanglewood by guest artists Midori, Yo-Yo Ma, Kian Soltani, Nadine Sierra, Susan Graham, Isabel Leonard, Thomas Hampson, Jessica Vosk (Wicked), and Tony Yazbeck (On the Town), with James Darrah serving as director and Joshua Bergasse serving as choreographer.
This multi-media event also includes video montages about Bernstein’s life and messages from people around the world who have been inspired by his legacy as a musician and as a dominant cultural figure of his time.