November 19, 2015
Jamie Bernstein: Host/Narrator Extraordinaire
This weekend’s Encounters concerts “Copland and Ives: Homespun Threads in the American Musical Quilt” feature the welcome return of classical music go-to person Jamie Bernstein. She brings her expert contextualization back to New World Symphony for her eleventh visit as concert narrator.
Ms. Bernstein’s NWS debut was in the Family concerts of March 2004 where she led her own presentation of “The Bernstein Beat” featuring the music of her father Leonard Bernstein. Since the introduction of our Encounters series during the 2010-11 season (then called “Symphony With A Splash”), Ms. Bernstein has served as the de facto ‘queen of the Encounters concerts’ at NWS. She has hosted them biannually every season (but one) since. She has explained the works of such composers as Ravel, De Falla, Stravinsky, R. Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich, including her revelatory narration of Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 last year.
The November 20/21 concerts feature works of American composers Aaron Copland (1900-1990) and Charles Ives (1874-1954).
Copland created many iconic works that are part of the New World Symphony repertoire. His work debuted with NWS in its Inaugural Season. In the 2nd concert on February 11, 1988, NWS performed El Salón México. His Clarinet Concerto was played by guest soloist Richard Stoltzman in the 4th concert 3 weeks later. Another NWS Copland highlight was the first New York performance of the complete ballet score from Appalachian Spring at NWS’ Carnegie Hall debut on December 14, 1989.
This weekend’s featured works are Copland’s "Hoe-Down" from Rodeo and selections from Billy the Kid. Performed many times over the years by NWS, these works experienced a marathon on NWS tours during the 1990s. Billy the Kid was played in 15 concerts on 4 tours in 1991 and 1992 alone - Japan and the United Kingdom, Midwestern universities, and around Florida. "Hoe-Down" was played on tours in Japan and the UK, Northeastern universities, Argentina, New York City, and Paris. The centennial of Copland’s birth was celebrated by NWS with an Aaron Copland In-Context™ Festival held in November 2000.
Charles Ives’ work debuted with New World in its second season. His Largo was performed at the Colony Theatre on Miami Beach, December 18, 1988. While NWS has performed many of his works, they were mainly concentrated in two special events devoted to Ives. The New Music concert of October 19, 1996 featured a dozen orchestral pieces and songs, led by renowned Ives scholar and conductor James Sinclair. February 2009 saw “Charles Ives, Pioneer Modernist: An NWS In-Context™ Festival” - and returning to guest conduct alongside MTT was James Sinclair; also NWS alumni Kazem Abdullah and Steven Jarvi, plus Conducting Fellow Teddy Abrams. With concerts, panel discussions, lectures, and a film, the festival presented all-Ives programs with performances of some ten of his works.
Images courtesy of the New World Symphony Archives
Photo of Leonard Bernstein & Aaron Copland from Library of Congress
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