Symphony Space Celebrates 40 Years With Wall To Wall Leonard Bernstein

By: May. 10, 2018
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Forty years ago, two visionary leaders - Isaiah Sheffer and Allan Miller- took over an abandoned Upper West Side theater for an all-day free marathon concert called Wall to Wall Bach. This event founded Symphony Space, and every year since 1978, Symphony Space has been presenting free marathon Wall to Wall events, hailed by The New York Times as "an annual gift to the city of New York." In its 40th anniversary year, Symphony Space's signature concert event celebrates the centennial of a cherished American composer: Leonard Bernstein. This FREE marathon concert will honor Bernstein's legacy with music, dance, conversation, film clips, and more, exploring the many facets of his creative life (May 19th, 3pm-11pm, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 95th and Broadway).

Wall to Wall Leonard Bernstein also welcomes members of the Bernstein family to the stage, including his daughter Nina Bernstein Simmons and son Alexander Bernstein in conversation with The New Yorker's film critic and Bernstein expert, David Denby.

Additional highlights include: Keigwin + Company performing original choreography to Bernstein's "Three Dance Episodes" from On the Town; Joshua Rosenblum and the Pit Stop Players performing a new chamber music arrangement by Sam Davis of "Three Dance Variations" from Fancy Free with original choreography by Sara Brians; Chichester Psalms performed by MasterVoices under Music Director Ted Sperling; and a grand finale of Broadway stars including Rebecca Luker, Ryan Silverman, Megan McGinnis, Nathaniel Stampley, Adam Halpin, and Britney Coleman performing songs from West Side Story, Candide, On the Town, Trouble in Tahiti, and more!

PART I: 3pm - 5:30pm

Focusing on Bernstein's music from the 1940s to the 1950s.

  • Prologue from West Side Story (arr. for piano and percussion) performed by Synchronicity
  • "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story (arr. for piano and percussion) performed by Synchronicity
  • Prelude, Fugue and Riffs (arr. for clarinet, piano, percussion, and bass) performed by Synchronicity with Chad Smith (clarinet) and Randy Landau (bass)
  • Anniversaries (early years) featuring Nina Bernstein Simmons (narrator) and Simon Mulligan (piano)
  • The Lark: French and Latin Choruses performed by Cantori New York with Mark Shapiro (Music Director)
  • El Salón México (Copland, arr. for two pianos by Bernstein) performed by DUO Stephanie & Saar
  • "Scherzo" & "Mambo," Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (arr. for two pianos by John Musto) performed by DUO Stephanie & Saar
  • "Three Dance Episodes" (featuring orchestral music from On the Town) performed by KEIGWIN + COMPANY dancers
  • La Bonne Cuisine performed by Annie Chester (mezzo-soprano), Makoto Winkler (baritone), and Grant Wenaus (piano)
  • "Conquering New York" from Wonderful Town performed by the Pit Stop Players
  • "Three Dance Variations" from Fancy Free with choreography by Sara Brians
  • Overture from Candide performed by the Pit Stop Players

PART II: 5:30pm - 8:30pm

Focusing on Bernstein's music from the 1960s to the 1980s.

  • "So Pretty" performed by Harolyn Blackwell (soprano) and Grant Wenaus (piano)
  • Chichester Psalms (arr. for choir, piano, harp, percussion, and double bass) performed by MasterVoices with Ted Sperling (Music Director)
  • "Simple Song" from MASS performed by John Brancy (baritone), Janet Axelrod (flute), Summer Boggess (cello), and Peter Dugan (piano)
  • Halil: Nocturne for Flute, Percussion, and Piano performed by Mindy Kaufman (flute), Eric Huebner (piano), Daniel Druckman (percussion), Sae Hashimoto (percussion), and Pablo Rieppi (percussion)
  • "Three Meditations" from MASS performed by Nick Canellakis (cello) and Michael Brown (piano)
  • Anniversaries (later years) featuring Nina Bernstein Simmons (narrator) and Simon Mulligan (piano)
  • "To What You Said" from Songfest performed by John Brancy (baritone), Summer Boggess (cello), and Peter Dugan (piano)
  • Dance Suite performed by Calliope Brass

Part II also includes:

  • Two Love Songs on Poems by Rilke performed by Tesia Kwarteng (mezzo-soprano) and Grant Wenaus (piano)
  • Waterfront (featuring orchestral music from On the Waterfront) performed by KEIGWIN + COMPANY dancers
  • Music for Two Pianos performed by DUO Stephanie & Saar

PART III: 8:30pm - 10:30pm

Bernstein & Broadway is a starry celebration of Bernstein's classic songs from his musical theater career including West Side Story, Wonderful Town, Candide, On the Town, Peter Pan, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and more performed by leading lights of the Broadway stage including Mikaela Bennett (The Golden Apple), Adam Halpin (Dogfight), Larisa Martinez (West Side Story), Megan McGinnis (Les Misérables), Ryan Silverman (Side Show), Rebecca Luker (Fun Home), Rebecca Faulkenberry (Groundhog Day), Nathaniel Stampley (The Color Purple), Britney Coleman (Beautiful), and more.

Wall to Wall Leonard Bernstein is part of Leonard Bernstein at 100, a world-wide celebration of his 100th birthday.

*Bernstein & Broadway section curated and produced by Joel Fram and Annette Jolles.

ABOUT Symphony Space

Symphony Space traces its beginnings to a winter's day in 1978 when our two visionary co-founders, Isaiah Sheffer and Allan Miller, threw open the doors of a dilapidated theater for a free marathon concert, Wall to Wall Bach. Wall to Wall, Symphony Space's annual gift to the city, has since become one of our signature events. Today, Symphony Space presents more than 600 events each season, including literature in performance, music, film, theater, dance, and performance in HD. Our original programming focuses on bringing art, artists, and audiences together in an intimate setting, creating a sense of mutual access that is unique to Symphony Space. Some of our best known programs include Selected Shorts, a reading of short stories by stars of stage and screen, and one of the most popular series on public radio; and our music series, which this season alone is bringing everyone from Sweet Honey In The Rock to The Hot Sardines, Wye Oak, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo to our stages. Symphony Space's original comedy debate series, Uptown Showdown, has been called "New York's best comedy series" by New York Magazine, and our Thalia Book Club series brings authors ranging from George Saunders to Trevor Noah to Jennifer Egan to Symphony Space to discuss their writing, with celebrated actors reading excerpts from their works.

For more information, visit Symphony Space is located at 2537 Broadway at 95th Street. Box office hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 1pm - 6pm, open two hours prior to performances and events. Tickets can also be purchased through, or by calling 212-864-5400.