October 1, 2018 (updated October 26, 2018)

“Remembering Lenny: Leonard Bernstein at 100” concerts November 9-11

Madison, Wis. – Leonard Bernstein is remembered, honored, and celebrated by friend and Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) conductor John DeMain in an event that explores Bernstein’s music contributions as a American composer and conductor.

Originals from Bernstein’s repertoire will be performed by the MSO, beginning with Overture to Candide, Three Dance Episodes from On The Town, and his Age of Anxiety Symphony No. 2 featuring pianist Christopher Taylor. The program will conclude with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, the last work Leonard Bernstein presented as a conductor.

Performances will be held on Friday, November 9th at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, November 10th at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, November 11th at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, located at 201 State Street.

“To have my 25th anniversary coincide with the 100 year celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s birth is special for me personally, because of the unique opportunities I had to work with this great American musician,” said Music Director John DeMain. “The first half of the concert celebrates Lenny the composer, culminating in the first performance by the MSO of his second symphony, Age of Anxiety, which has a dazzling and at times jazzy part for the piano, and carries with it still, a timely social statement. Christopher Taylor, a Madison favorite with whom I have often enjoyed collaborating, will perform the challenging and exciting piano part.”

DeMain describes the final work in the program. “The second half of the concert pays tribute to Lenny the conductor, and his life-long love of Beethoven. Symphony No. 7 was the last piece Lenny conducted. I thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate Lenny and his great contribution to American musical life.”

Leonard Bernstein’s operetta Candide is based on Voltaire’s 1759 novella. The Overture is quick-paced, with a feverish excitement that begins from the first breath of sound. Many of the meters are in seven beats, or of other non-traditional types, and quickly change. Each player of the ensemble is required to perform with simultaneously the utmost virtuosity and togetherness.

On the Town is a dance-centric musical scored by Leonard Bernstein based on Jerome Robbins’ idea for the 1944 ballet Fancy Free. The story depicts three American sailors on a 24-hour shore leave in New York City during wartime, where each man meets and quickly connects with the woman of their dreams. The musical is the source of the ubiquitously popular showtune New York, New York.

Age of Anxiety was composed between 1948 and 1949, and is inspired by W. H. Auden’s poem of the same name. The 80-page poem follows four lonely strangers who meet in a wartime New York bar and spend the evening ruminating on their lives and the human condition. Subtitled “a baroque eclogue” (a pastoral poem in dialog form), the characters speak mostly in long soliloquies of alliterative tetrameter, with little distinction among the individual voices. The Age of Anxiety has a dazzling, and at times jazzy part for the piano, and carries with it still a timely social statement.

Composed from 1811–1812, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 premiered with Beethoven himself conducting in Vienna on December 8, 1813 at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau. The Symphony’s dance elements, vitality and sense of celebration are conveyed principally through rhythm. It is not the melodies that are so striking and memorable as the general sense of forward movement.

About Christopher Taylor

Pianist Christopher Taylor has performed across the globe. Lauded by critics for his “virtuosity, cerebral interpretations,” and a “tempered…aching tenderness,” he is a force of musical connectivity and technical mastery. At home in the US, he has appeared with numerous orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Houston Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Pops. As a soloist he has performed in New York’s Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as the Ravinia and Aspen festivals.

In 1990, Mr. Taylor took first prize in the William Kapell International Piano Competition and became one of the first recipients of the Irving Gilmore Young Artists’ Award. He received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1996 and the Bronze Medal in the 1993 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, where he was the first American to receive such high recognition in twelve years. In addition to his busy concert schedule, Mr. Taylor currently serves as Paul Collins Associate Professor of Piano Performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The lobby opens 90 minutes prior to each concert. One hour before each performance, Randal Swiggum will lead a 30-minute Prelude Discussion in Overture Hall to enhance concertgoers’ understanding and listening experience. It is free to ticketholders. The Symphony recommends concert attendees arrive early for each performance to make sure they have time to pass through Overture Center’s security stations, and so they can experience the Prelude Discussion. Program notes for the concerts are available online: http://bit.ly/nov2018programnotes

Tickets may be purchased in the following ways:

  • Single Tickets are $18-$93 each and are on sale now at: https://madisonsymphony.org/bernstein\ through the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street, or by calling the Box Office at (608) 258-4141. Fees apply to online/phone sales.
  • Groups of 10 or more can save 25% by calling the MSO office at (608) 257-3734. For more information, visit, https://www.madisonsymphony.org/groups.
  • Student rush tickets can be purchased in person on the day of the concert at the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street. Students must show a valid student ID and can receive up to two $15 or $20 tickets. More information is at: https://www.madisonsymphony.org/studentrush
  • Seniors age 62 and up receive 20% savings on advance and day-of-concert ticket purchases in select areas of the hall.
  • Subscribers to 5 or more symphony subscription concerts can save up to 50% off single ticket prices. More information is available about the season at: https://madisonsymphony.org/18-19
  • Flex-Ticket booklets of 10 vouchers for 18-19 symphony subscription concerts are available. Learn more at: https://madisonsymphony.org/flex

Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.

The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 93rd season in 2018–2019 and its 25th season under the leadership of Music Director John DeMain. The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south-central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world. Find more information at madisonsymphony.org

The Presenting Sponsor for the November concerts is Steinhauer Charitable Trust. Underwriting for Mr. Taylor is provided by Sharon Stark, “to Peter Livingston with love.” Major funding is provided by: Stephen D. Morton, The Gialamas Company, Inc., Myrna Larson, Madison Symphony Orchestra League, and Nancy Mohs. Additional funding is provided by Robert Benjamin and John Fields, Godfrey & Kahn, S.C., and Wisconsin Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Peter Rodgers, Director of Marketing
Phone: (608) 257-3734 x226
Email: prodgers@madisonsymphony.org
Web: madisonsymphony.org
Photos: http://bit.ly/msonov2018images

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