Asheville Symphony Chorus’ Leonard Bernstein tribute concert, Nov. 3

Press release from Asheville Symphony Chorus:

The Asheville Symphony Chorus presents a 100th Birthday Tribute to Leonard Bernstein. Leonard Bernstein, world-renowned author, educator, composer, pianist and conductor, and arguably the foremost American musician of the twentieth century, was born on August 25, 1918. How could we fail to pay tribute to this icon during this centennial year of his birth?

As a composer, he composed in a wide variety of genres, including symphonies, art songs, incidental music for plays, operettas, choral works with and without orchestra, musicals, and works for the stage that defy classification, such as his monumental Mass. We will be singing the complete Chichester Psalms and selections from Mass, Candide and West Side Story.

The Dean of Chichester Cathedral, in Sussex, England, commissioned Bernstein to compose a choral/orchestral work for the cathedral’s annual summer music festival in 1965. The result was Chichester Psalms, a three-movement piece in Hebrew that fulfilled the Dean’s request that it have “a hint of West Side Story about the music.”

Mass, subtitled “A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers,” was commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy for the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. in 1971. The music is broadly eclectic, with blues, rock, gospel, folk, Broadway and jazz idioms appearing side by side with classical genres, such as solemn hymns, Middle Eastern dances and lush chorales.

Candide, a comic operetta based on Voltaire’s 1759 novella of the same name, captures the author’s social commentary. This is accomplished through a dizzyingly complex plot, the lyrics of which Bernstein sets to European dance forms such as the gavotte, waltz and polka which are interwoven with bel canto arias, Gilbert and Sullivan-style comedy, grand opera and Bernstein’s own “Jewish tango.” It debuted in 1956.
West Side Story, the musical inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, was set in Manhattan’s blue-collar upper west side in the 1950’s with the two families of Shakespeare’s play transformed into two rival gangs. The music has proven to be among the most popular of any Broadway musical in history. The first performance was in 1957. Please join us for this historic event

Tickets for the concert are $25 for adults and $15 for youth and may be purchased online at

The Asheville Symphony Chorus has a long history of performing choral classics from every century. With a love for choral art, the Chorus has presented hundreds of rich musical treasures with the intent of preserving them and introducing them to new lovers of classical music. Every season the Chorus performs with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra and presents its own independent concerts, often involving musicians from the Symphony Orchestra.

Happy 100th! A Leonard Bernstein Tribute
Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Arden Presbyterian Church, Arden, NC

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