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KU School of Music opens spring semester with celebration of Bernstein

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


LAWRENCE – The KU School of Music will launch its spring season Jan. 19 with “A KU Lenny-Centennial: The Musical Theatre of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990),” in celebration of the legendary composer’s 100th birthday.

The celebration’s performance centerpiece will be KU Opera’s production of Bernstein’s “Candide” Friday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 20 at 12 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 21 at 2:30 p.m. in Crafton-Preyer Theatre on KU’s Lawrence campus. A coinciding scholarly symposium featuring noted Bernstein scholars will be held in Swarthout Recital Hall, beginning at 12 p.m., Jan. 19 and ending Saturday, Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. 

KU Opera will perform the 1973-74 Chelsea/Broadway version of “Candide, with book by Hugh Wheeler and famous selections from Bernstein’s score placed in one act and emphasizing the show’s satire and humor. Thirty minutes prior to each performance, Paul Laird, KU musicology professor and a leading Bernstein scholar, will give a pre-performance lecture in Crafton-Preyer Theatre.

Tickets for “Candide” are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors, students and children. They can be purchased at Murphy Hall Room 460, by calling (785) 864-3436 or emailing music@ku.edu. 

The symposium will feature presentations on Bernstein’s musical theater work by Elizabeth Wells, dean of arts and music professor at Mount Allison University, and Laird. Their presentations will be followed by KU Voice and Opera students performing excerpts from the composer. KU musicology and music theory faculty, graduate students and alumni will also give talks on their contributions to Bernstein or musical theater studies.

The symposium will end with a talk by KU Distinguished Professor of Voice Joyce Castle, who has performed Bernstein's work on four continents and worked with composer throughout her career, including the role of the Old Lady in “Candide” at the New York City Opera and on the Grammy-Award winning album. Castle also performed the premiere of Bernstein’s composition “Arias and Barcarolles.” Castle’s talk is at 2 p.m., Jan. 20 in Swarthout Recital Hall.   

The symposium is free and opened to the public. A full schedule of the events can be found at https://music.ku.edu/celebrating-100-years-bernstein. Learn more about Bernstein’s influence on the careers of Castle and Laird in an article in the latest issue of Serenade, a KU School of Music publication. 

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