Kensho Watanabe, conductor
Celebrate the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein in our signature festival concert featuring his most treasured works. The program includes excerpts from On the Town, Peter Pan, Candide, and Gershwin's jazz-infused Rhapsody in Blue, a seminal composer in his own right who was a significant influence for Bernstein.
The Mann Center will present the world premiere of a newly commissioned work South Side, Symphonic Dances by acclaimed American composer Darin Atwater. An artistic force in the broadest and most creative sense of the word, Atwater's career has encompassed the roles of composer, conductor, pianist, record producer, film composer, entrepreneur, educator, and arts advocate. As Founder and Artistic Director of Soulful Symphony, Atwater has blended American music into many dazzling fusions, traversing genres and literally reinventing the symphony orchestra in America.
South Side, Symphonic Dances is based on the eternal tale in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Bernstein's romantic musical update West Side Story. South Side, Symphonic Dances represents the tragedy and triumph of African-American youth who navigate the complexity of urban living. The war between rival teenage gangs in Bernstein's West Side Story is replaced with the metaphoric rival "gang" of oppressive forces and structures of subordination, including racism, economic/educational disparities, injustice, media bias, etc. South Side, Symphonic Dances attempts to storyboard our collective struggles and the power of story, music, and culture, transcending boundaries of geography, class, and race - all of the universal concepts that are present in all cultures.
These objectives are stylized and coded within the music. From spirituals to hip-hop/rap, there is a connection between coded musical communication and resistance. African-American music is a form of political, economic, and ideological empowerment. South Side, Symphonic Dances will advance this tradition by transmitting sonic perspectives on important social issues - a model of freedom through sounds, words and movements in the body coded by the black community, all speaking to the "figurative nature in black culture" (Henry Louis Gates). "With Bernstein as a springboard, South Side, Symphonic Dances is an attempt to extend his themes of 20th-century integration and multiculturalism," Atwater says. "I hope to create an exciting score wrapped around contemporary social and racial tensions. When you commit to such heroic ambitions, you create inspirational works, transform communities and ultimately bring people together."
Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.com, (800) 745-3000, or the Mann Box Office.
PROGRAM (subject to update)
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Kensho Watanabe, conductor
Joseph Lattanzi, baritone
Alexandra Schoeny, soprano
Stewart Goodyear, piano
Darin Atwater, composer
Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Atwater: World Premiere of South Side, Symphonic Dances - newly commissioned work
Bernstein: "Simple Song," from MASS
Bernstein: Dance Episode No. 1, from On the Town
Bernstein: "Lonely Town," from On the Town
Bernstein: Dance Episode No. 2, from On the Town
Bernstein: "Who Am I?" from Peter Pan
Bernstein: "Glitter and Be Gay," from Candide
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Brilliantly Bernstein: Beyond the Baton is curated in partnership with Nolan Williams, Jr. the Mann’s Festival Artistic Director CEO of NEWorks Productions, Collaborative Artistic Partner.
Picnics are permitted for this performance as a part of the Mann's Summer Picnic Series
If you are 21 years of age or older and plan to consume alcohol at the concert, please be prepared to present proper I.D.
Lawn chairs are permitted for this performance. The Mann recommends reasonably sized chairs; be a good neighbor!
Small blankets are permitted for all shows, but we do ask that you be mindful of your neighbors on the lawn.
No photography is permitted at this performance.