Leonard Bernstein: Man For All Music

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Jamie Bernstein, host
Isabel Leonard, soprano
Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano
Nils Nilsen, tenor
Ed Parks, baritone
Paulo Szot, baritone
Charles Yang violin
Ifetayo Ali-Landing, cello
Harmony Zhu, piano
Windy City Performing Arts

Saturday, July 27, 2019
4:30 PM
Donor Gates Open
5:00 PM
Public Gates Open
7:30 PM
Concert Starts

Tickets: $105 / $35
Lawn: $15

The annual DIY Ultimate Picnic Contest will take place prior to tonight's concert. Registration for the contest is required and limited to the first 50 applicants. The top prize is a season lawn pass for two for the 2020 Ravinia season, and several runner-up prizes will also be awarded. More Info.

Artist Update:

Pianist Andre Watts is recovering from surgery and it is with great regret that he will not be able to participate in the July 27 concert. Everyone at Ravinia wishes him well and looks forward to welcoming him back in a coming season.


All-Bernstein Program

Overture to Candide
Times Square: 1944 from On the Town
“A Simple Song” from Mass
Meditation No. 3 from Three Meditations from ‘Mass’
Lamentation from Symphony No. 1 (Jeremiah)
“The Best of All Possible Worlds” from Candide
The Masque and Epilogue from Symphony No. 2 (Age of Anxiety)
Socrates: Alcibiades from Serenade (after Plato’s ‘Symposium’)
Danzon and Galop from Fancy Free
“100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man” from Wonderful Town
Selections from West Side Story
Something’s Coming
Tonight (Balcony Scene)
A Boy Like That / I Have a Love
“So Pretty”
“Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide

About The Artist

Ifetayo Ali-Landing

Paulo Szot

Program Notes

  • Tonight’s program, jointly created by Marin Alsop (Bernstein’s final protégé) and Jamie Bernstein (his eldest child and author of the bestselling memoir Famous Father Girl), depicts the many facets of Leonard Bernstein’s cultural reach both in the United States and internationally through musical moments from the span of his career, personal stories, and film clips.
  • Leonard Bernstein’s reverence for literature both classic and contemporary is evidenced throughout tonight’s program. (His longtime friend and fellow multihyphenate Lukas Foss once called him “the most well-read composer I have ever met.”) Borrowed philosophies on love and care for the human condition are found in each of Candide (Voltaire), the Serenade (Plato), the symphonies Jeremiah (scripture) and Age of Anxiety (Auden), and, of course, West Side Story (Shakespeare).
  • Candide, in addition to featuring one of the best instrumental overtures in all music, is a comedic romp through the philosophy of Voltaire, from the naively idealistic “Best of All Possible Worlds” to the realization that humans must support themselves and “Make Our Garden Grow.”


  • Bernstein’s Serenade is an instrumental picture of Platonic philosophy in praise of love; three years later he would unveil his indelible take on Shakespeare’s “greatest love story ever told” with West Side Story, casting the action in contemporary New York.
  • Shortly after Auden’s verse The Age of Anxiety won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948, Bernstein set its themes of finding personal substance and identity in a rapidly changing modern world to instrumental music in his Second Symphony. That notion would return to Bernstein’s mind and music in the Vietnam War era with Mass, in which the Celebrant, after his statement of faith in “Simple Song,” attempts to maintain his faith in the midst of the unrest of his congregation with three Meditations. Personal faith was important to Bernstein, as revealed through the sung final movement of his First Symphony, which depicts the prophet Jeremiah mourning the destruction of Jerusalem. This was especially profound at the time of its 1944 premiere, as a metaphor for the depravities of the fascist regimes.
  • Leonard Bernstein didn’t write many songs that weren’t part of a larger work—either a song cycle or music theater—but he couldn’t ask for a better original voice for “So Pretty,” which was written for a 1968 “Broadway for Peace” benefit concert: Barbra Streisand.
  • Before they made it big with Singin’ in the Rain, writer/lyricists Adolph Green and Betty Comden broke into the musical theater business because of Leonard Bernstein’s insistence that they collaborate with him and Jerome Robbins on their first musical, On the Town. They reunited with Bernstein for his second musical, Wonderful Town, and again for the one-off antiwar song “So Pretty.”
  • Exactly one week ago, Paulo Szot sang “A Simple Song” on this same stage in Ravinia’s encore production of Bernstein’s Mass! Michelle DeYoung sang in the Jeremiah Symphony with Marin Alsop at Chichester Cathedral last fall, and this past spring Isabel Leonard toured the United States with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra performing an all-Bernstein program.
  • Through his Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein not only became “America’s Music Teacher,” but also gave a platform for young musicians to show their peers that performing and being surrounded by music can be a rewarding part of everyday life. Bernstein would most certainly have been a champion of two soloists on tonight’s program, pianist Harmony Zhu (who made her Ravinia debut last year on the New Young People’s Concert created by Jamie Bernstein) and cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing, a native Chicagoan who won the Sphinx Junior Competition in 2017.

Park Details

Jamie Bernstein, Leonard’s oldest child and author of the best-selling memoir Famous Father Girl, will be available to sign copies of her book before the concert in the Winnie and Bob Crawford Foyer of the new RaviniaMusicBox Experience Center from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Concert Information

Performance shown on lawn video screen

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