Two decades after his death, Bernstein remains the second-most-performed American classical composer, after Copland. But young folks coming up today don’t have his works embedded in their consciousness the way that previous generations did. So maybe it’s a good time for a refresher course of concerts, both for young people and their parents. Maverick Concerts have taken up that challenge this summer, with a series of performances called “Bernstein and Friends.”
The series kicked off last Sunday with a concert by Trio Solisti, which included a lecture/demonstration by one of Bernstein’s last and most accomplished students, composer Bright Sheng. It continues this Saturday evening, July 23 at 8 p.m. with a program focusing on the pop side of Bernstein, called “The Leonard Bernstein Songbook.” Vocalists Bar Scott and Terry Blaine, pianist Peter Tomlinson, guitarist/vocalist Perry Beekman and bassist Lou Pappas will transform the rustic, historic Maverick Concert Hall into a cabaret as they render selections from the maestro’s compositions for musical theater. The program will include both familiar favorites and lesser-known numbers from such shows as West Side Story, On the Town, Wonderful Town and Candide, set within a context of other 20th-century standards from the “Great American Songbook.” Ticket prices are $40 for reserved seating, $25 general admission and $5 for students.
The following weekend, “Bernstein and Friends” will revive the spirit of the Young People’s Concerts with a Saturday matinee show tailored to kids. Piano duo Andrew Russo and Frederic Chiu will perform “Bernstein Magic: Highlights from West Side Story” starting at 11 a.m. on July 30. Children are admitted free; adults pay $5 and receive a coupon worth $5 off a regular concert ticket.
Russo and Chiu return on Sunday afternoon, July 31 at 4 p.m. with “Bernstein and Friends III.” The program includes Mahler’s “Nachtmusik I and II” from Symphony No.7, “The Song of the Night,” in addition to Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 based on the poetry of W. H. Auden, “The Age Of Anxiety,” and the “Symphonic Dances” from West Side Story. Again, ticket prices are $40 for reserved seating, $25 general admission and $5 for students.
The Maverick Theater is located on Maverick Road, off Route 375 a bit south of downtown Woodstock. For more information visit the website at www.maverickconcerts.org/schedule.html.