Brevard Music Center celebrates composer Leonard Bernstein with season-long festival

Press release from Brevard Music Center: 

Over the course of its 82nd season, the Brevard Music Center (BMC) will host a myriad of performances and special events saluting the centennial of celebrated American composer Leonard Bernstein. BMC’s third “Festival Within a Festival” pays tribute to one of the most iconic composers of the 21st century whose in-depth creative output included music for Broadway, orchestra, ballet, chamber, and opera. Brevard Music Center’s Leonard Bernstein Festival is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Leonard Bernstein was a composer whose mastery reached across multiple musical genres,” said Brevard Music Center President & CEO Mark Weinstein. “BMC is thrilled to celebrate Bernstein’s legacy and 100th birthday with a rich and varied series of inspired performances and events that showcase his important roles as musician, educator, cultural ambassador, and humanitarian.”

As part of its 2018 Leonard Bernstein Festival, BMC will join arts organizations across the nation focusing on Bernstein’s life. Joseph Horowitz—a former New York Times music critic, pioneer in thematic interdisciplinary classical music programming, and one of the most prominent and widely published authorities on American music—will return to Brevard to participate in a series of free lectures providing rich context around the influential composer’s music.

“Brevard Music Center is presenting some of Bernstein’s greatest output and showing a wonderful variety of his music that is at the core of the American classical music experience,” added Brevard Music Center Artistic Director Keith Lockhart. “We spend so much time celebrating the works of European masters like Beethoven, Mozart, Mahler, and Dvôrak. And those works all deserve to be celebrated. But they must stand alongside Bernstein, Copland, and Gershwin—these masters gave American classical music its voice.”

Brevard Music Center’s Bernstein Festival officially kicks-off Opening Weekend with a matinee performance of Beloved Bernstein on Sunday, June 24 at 3:00 PM at Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium. Artistic Director Keith Lockhart will conduct five of the composer’s most vibrant, jazz-tinged scores for Broadway, orchestra, and ballet on a single bill.

On Monday, July 9 at 7:30 PM in Ingram Auditorium at Brevard College, a full week celebrating Bernstein begins with Bernstein & Friends, a concert featuring some of his best-loved chamber music. This special program will also include works by many of Bernstein’s close friends and colleagues, who helped influence American music in the second half of the 20th century. A post-concert discussion with Joseph Horowitz and Jason Posnock, BMC’s Director of Artistic Planning & Educational Programs, concludes the evening.

On Thursday, July 12 at 12:00 PM in the Rogow Room at Transylvania County Library, Joseph Horowitz will offer a free lecture exploring Bernstein’s triumphs and tragedies as an American icon.

On Friday, July 13 at 7:30 PM at Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium, two Bernstein’s tone poems—Chichester Psalms and Symphony No. 2 (‘Age of Anxiety’)—co-mingle in one unforgettable evening when BMC presents A Bernstein Celebration. Artistic Director Keith Lockhart returns to Brevard to lead pianist and BMC faculty member Norman Krieger and the exquisite voices of the Greenville Chorale.

On Saturday, July 14 at 8:30 PM, the classic American musical West Side Story comes to the big screen at Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium accompanied by a full symphony orchestra. Leading the Brevard Sinfonia in Bernstein’s reverent and iconic score will be BMC alumnus Jayce Ogren. Patrons can enjoy a pre-concert discussion, Bernstein & Justice, held in conjunction with Transylvania’s Project Empathy and presented by Joseph Horowitz.

Bernstein the Educator, a multi-media program revisiting the conductor’s fabled Young People’s Concerts will be presented on Sunday, July 15 at 3:00 PM at Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium. Gershwin’s An American in Paris and works by great American composers including Copland, Chadwick, and Harris will be featured. A post-concert discussion by Joseph Horowitz will conclude the evening.

BMC’s Janiec Opera Company will present Bernstein’s exuberant American Broadway musical comedy opera Candide on Thursday, July 26 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, July 28 at 2:00 PM in the Porter Center at Brevard College. Based on Voltaire’s satirical story, this opera (with English supertitles) features the arias “Glitter and Be Gay” and “Make Our Garden Grow.”

The 2018 Leonard Bernstein Festival and the BMC 2018 Summer Music Festival will both conclude with Bernstein’s Mass, a multi-faceted dramatic pageant, featuring the Brevard Music Center Orchestra with tenor John McVeigh conducted by Keith Lockhart at Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium on Sunday, August 5 at 3:00 PM.


For additional 2018 Leonard Bernstein Festival details, please visit

June 24: Beloved Bernstein – scores from Broadway orchestra and ballet
July 9: Bernstein & Friends – chamber music and works by American composers
July 12: Leonard Bernstein/An American Icon—free lecture at Transylvania County Library
July 13: A Bernstein Celebration – two tone poems featuring Greenville Chorale
July 14: West Side Story in Concert – film with full symphony orchestra performing Bernstein’s score
July 15: Bernstein the Educator – multi-media program revisiting fabled Young People’s Concerts
July 26 & 28: Candide – an opera filled with fun and frolic
August 5: Bernstein’s Mass – multi-faceted theatre piece for musicians, singers, and dancers

The 2018 Brevard Summer Music Festival also features a full schedule of unforgettable performances throughout the season, including Opening Night with pianist Olga Kern; Steep Canyon Rangers with Orchestra; pianist Conrad Tao performing Beethoven; Concerto with Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra from R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and violinist Robert McDuffie; the July 4th family favorite, Patriotic Pops; a Klezmer Concerto with Berlin Philharmonic Concertmaster and Asheville-native Noah Bendix-Balgley; WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase; and GRAMMY-winning artist Béla Fleck, who will bring his inaugural Blue Ridge Banjo Camp and a special finale concert to BMC in August.

Tickets to the 2018 Summer Music Festival start at only $20 and almost 50% of all performances are free. Seating at Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium—BMC’s 1800-seat, open-air auditorium—is free for children under 17* with a paying adult, and students 18 and older* with a valid ID (*some exclusions apply, including Opening Night, Season Finale, and BMC Presents performances).

For tickets to Brevard Music Center’s 2018 Summer Music Festival, visit BREVARDMUSIC.ORG, call (828) 862-2105, or visit the Brevard Music Center Box Office at 349 Andante Lane.

Founded 82 years ago, the Brevard Music Center stands as one of this country’s premier summer classical music training programs and festivals. Each year, 500 gifted students (ages 14 through post college) come to the Music Center from across the United States and around the world to study with a distinguished faculty and renowned guest artists.

Each summer, students participate in a vigorous program of instruction and performance led by BMC Artistic Director and alumnus Keith Lockhart, the Principal Conductor of the Boston Pops and Chief Guest Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in London. Brevard’s hallmark is the powerful sense of community that re-emerges every June through August as faculty and students present more than 80 remarkable concerts to summer audiences totaling over 40,000.

For more information on BMC, visit, call (828) 862-2100, “like” the Brevard Music Center on Facebook, follow @brevardmusic on Twitter, stream season highlights via SoundCloud, and visit the Brevard Music Center YouTube channel for performance videos from previous festival seasons.

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