Bernstein Conducting

In 2018 Ravinia will launch a two-season centennial tribute to one of the all-time legends of American music, conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein, and in 2019 will open the Ravinia Music Box experience center with an exhibit of important mementos from Bernstein’s life and storied career, including his personal piano.

Ravinia’s celebration intends to comment on each aspect of the multi-hyphenate’s career with performances of the compositions he penned, films he scored, composers he championed, and artists he influenced.

Central to Ravinia’s celebration will be the two-year appointment of Marin Alsop—one of Bernstein’s final protégés—as the first musical “curator” in the festival’s 113-year history.

Bernstein’s own history with Ravinia began on July 4, 1944, with his CSO debut—just eight months after his astonishing New York Philharmonic debut at Carnegie Hall. He conducted 10 more CSO programs at the festival through July 28, 1956.

Read Ravinia's Full Press Release

Read Bernstein Biography

Read Full National Celebration Press Release

2018 Season

Thursday, July 12—Pavilion Joshua Bell

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Joshua Bell, violin

Bernstein:   Overture to Candide
Bernstein:   Serenade (after Plato's Symposium)
Tchaikovsky:   Symphony No. 6

Saturday, July 14—PavilionChicago Childrens Choir

Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Marin Alsop, conductor
Chicago Children's Choir
Vocal soloists TBD

Bernstein:   Chichester Psalms
Beethoven:   Symphony No. 9

Wednesday, July 25—PavilionCopeland Gershwin Stravinsky

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Pianist TBD

Copland:   Appalachian Spring
Gershwin:   Rhapsody in Blue
Stravinsky:   The Rite of Spring

Friday, July 27—Martin Theatre or Bennett Gordon HallLeonard Bernstein

Jamie Bernstein, host
Amy Burton, soprano
John Musto, piano
Michael Boriskin, piano
Late Night with Leonard Bernstein
An evening of music, anecdotes, and remembrances

Saturday, July 28—PavilionConcert

Youth Orchestra TBD
Conductor TBD
Jamie Bernstein, narrator, developer, and producer
New Young People's Concert
Program to include Bernstein’s works for soloist and orchestra; a tribute to Lenny the educator, in celebration of his Young People’s Concerts and in Ravinia’s Reach*Teach*Play® education programs throughout Chicago Public Schools

Saturday, July 28—PavilionMass

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Chicago Children's Choir
Vocal Soloists TBD

Bernstein:   MASS (CSO premiere)

The centerpiece of Ravinia’s celebration will be Alsop’s performance of Bernstein’s MASS, a work never performed at Ravinia or by the CSO, and a work Alsop has performed all over the world and has also recorded to critical acclaim; she was one of the conductors to put this neglected masterwork back on the map. To make this week even more special, Ravinia has invited Humphrey Burton, Bernstein’s biographer and video director/producer, to join us for talks and chats with Alsop, illuminating the personal side of Bernstein.

Saturday, August 18—PavilionSlava!

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Pianist TBD

Bernstein:   Slava! (CSO Premiere)
Ravel:   Piano Concerto in G Major
Shostakovich:   Symphony No. 5

Sunday, August 19—PavilionFrederica Von Stade

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano

Bernstein:   Symphony No. 1 ("Jeremiah")
Mahler:   Symphony No. 1


Bernstein:   Songfest
Bernstein:   Candide
Bernstein:   Trouble in Tahiti
Bernstein’s 45-minute chamber opera that delves deeply into suburban American angst and the misery of its inhabitants, even mentioning Highland Park in the opening lines
Bernstein:   Score to West Side Story (film with orchestra)
Bernstein:   Score to On the Waterfront (film with orchestra)

Ravinia's Steans Music Institute Vocalists and Pianists
A Complete Survey of the Songs

Marta Aznavoorian, piano
Christopher O'Riley, piano
Complete Piano Music

Also under consideration
Bernstein:   On the Town


Ravinia will open a new “experience center,” created by BRC, in 2019 with a touring exhibition on Leonard Bernstein that includes such artifacts as the composer’s piano. The new building, which will include a small theater and two galleries, will be open free of charge to Ravinia audiences.