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The Columbus Symphony Will Hold a Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration Including ON THE TOWN, WEST SIDE STORY, and More


The Columbus Symphony Will Hold a Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration Including ON THE TOWN, WEST SIDE STORY, and More CSO Music Director Rossen Milanov leads the Columbus Symphony, guest violinist Daniel Rowland, guest soprano Jennifer Lynn Cherest, and the Columbus Symphony Chorus in a unique concert celebrating legendary composer, conductor, and educator Leonard Bernstein. This kaleidoscope of Bernstein's most popular Broadway works includes On the Town: Three Dance Episodes, West Side Story: Suite for Violin and Orchestra, and Candide: Overture, "Glitter and Be Gay," and Suite.

The Columbus Symphony presents the Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.) on Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13, at 8pm. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. The CAPA Ticket Center will also be open two hours prior to each performance.

Prelude - Patrons are invited to join Christopher Purdy in the theatre at 7pm for a 30-minute, pre-concert discussion about the works to be performed.

Postlude - Directly following the performance, patrons are invited to stay in the auditorium and enjoy a talk back with Maestro Milanov and guest violinist Daniel Rowland.

Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Rossen Milanov is currently the music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO), Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias (OSPA) in Spain.

In 2017, Milanov received an Arts Prize from The Columbus Foundation for presenting Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as part of CSO's 2017 Picnic with the Pops summer series. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its reach by connecting original programming with community-wide initiatives, such as focusing on women composers and nature conservancy, presenting original festivals, and supporting and commissioning new music.

Milanov has established himself as a conductor with considerable national and international presence, appearing with the Colorado, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Seattle, and Fort Worth symphonies, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center and Link Up education projects with Carnegie Hall featuring the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Civic Orchestra in Chicago.

Internationally, he has collaborated with BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra de la Suisse Romand, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Aalborg, Latvian, and Hungarian National Symphony Orchestras, Slovenain Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the orchestras in Toronto, Vancouver, KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic (South Africa), Mexico, Colombia, Sao Paolo, Belo Horizonte, and New Zealand. In the Far East, he has appeared with NHK, Sapporo, Tokyo, and Singapore Symphonies, and the Malaysian and Hong Kong Philharmonics.

Milanov has collaborated with some of the world's preeminent artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Christian Tetzlaff, and André Watts. During his 11-year tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra, he conducted more than 200 performances. In 2015, he completed a 15-year tenure as music director of nationally recognized training orchestra Symphony in C in New Jersey. In 2013, he wrapped up a 17-year tenure with the New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria. His passion for new music has resulted in numerous world premieres of works by composers such as Derek Bermel, Mason Bates, Caroline Shaw, Phillip Glass, Richard Danielpour, Nicolas Maw, and Gabriel Prokofiev, among others.

Noted for his versatility, Milanov is also a welcomed presence in the worlds of opera and ballet. He has collaborated with Komische Oper Berlin for Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtzensk), Opera Oviedo for the Spanish premiere of Tchaikovsky's Mazzepa and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle (awarded best Spanish production for 2015), and Opera Columbus for Verdi's La Traviata.

An experienced ballet conductor, he has been seen at New York City Ballet and collaborated with some of the best-known choreographers of our time, such Mats Ek, Benjamin Millepied, and most recently, Alexei Ratmansky in the critically acclaimed revival of Swan Lake in Zurich with the Zurich Ballet, and in Paris with La Scala Ballet.

Milanov studied conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, where he received the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship.

A passionate chef, he often dedicates his culinary talents to various charities.

Daniel Rowland has established himself on the international scene as a highly versatile, charismatic, and adventurous performer, with a broad repertoire from Vivaldi to Ferneyhough. In recent seasons, he has performed concertos such as those of Mozart, Elgar, Korngold, Berg, Prokoffief, Schnittke, Glass, Saariaho, and Ferneyhough with orchestras from Tromso to Cape Town. Recent solo performances include the Korngold Concerto with HET Symfonieorkest (Enschede), The Vivaldi/Piazzolla Eight Seasons with both the Ulster Orchestra and the Arcos Orchestra (New York), and the Philip Glass Concerto with the Joensuu Symphony Orchestra (Finland).

Soprano Jennifer Cherest has been praised as "beautifully expressive and technically polished" by the San Francisco Chronicle in the title role of Mozart's La Finta Giardiniera with the Merola Opera Program and has begun to quickly make her mark in the opera world. Since finishing her prestigious Adler fellowship with the San Francisco Opera in 2013, Cherest has debuted with such companies as the Washington National Opera, Cincinnati Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera Delaware, and the Aspen Music Festival. Additionally, she is very honored to have sung on the Metropolitan Opera Stage in the national semifinals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council (MONC) auditions. Being a native Washingtonian, Cherest was thrilled to make her company debut with Washington National Opera in The Dialogues of the Carmelites in 2015, and since then, has returned for five different shows including her role debut as Gretel in Hansel & Gretel.

American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist Leonard Bernstein was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. His fame can be attributed to his long tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic, conducting concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, and his compositions for West Side Story, Peter Pan, Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town, On the Waterfront, his Mass, and a range of other works, including three symphonies and many shorter chamber and solo works.

Set in wartime 1944, On the Town is a musical that tells the story of three American sailors in New York City on 24-hour shore leave and the three women they connect with. The first episode of Bernstein's Three Dance Episodes is Dance of the Great Lover, in which the romantic Sailor Gabey falls asleep on the subway and dreams of sweeping Miss Turnstiles off her feet. In the second episode, Pas de Deux, Gabey watches a scene in Central Park in which a sensitive high school girl is lured and then cast off by a worldly sailor. The finale, Times Square Ballet, is a sequence in which all the sailors congregate in Times Square for a night of fun.

Inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story is a musical set in a blue-collar, Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid-1950s and chronicles the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the gang's leader, falls in love with Maria, the sister of the leader of the Sharks. The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre. Published in 2000, West Side Story: Suite for Violin and Orchestra is an arrangement by William David Brohn that demonstrates the tremendous vitality of this remarkable production, and that even nearly 50 years later, it still offers plenty to be discovered.

Based on the Voltaire's 1759 novella of the same name, Candide is a witty and wacky satire of an operetta that takes the audience on a round-the-world romp of idealistic optimism as it clashes with a series of absurdly unfortunate events. The young and naïve Candide and his betrothed Cunegonde, firmly subscribe to the doctrine that everything that occurs is for the best, no matter what. However, throughout the course of the show, this is constantly called into question.

The Overture to Candide has become one of the most frequently performed orchestral compositions by a 20th century American composer, and in 1987, became the most often performed piece of concert music by Bernstein. The Overture incorporates tunes from "The Best of All Possible Worlds," "Battle Music," "Oh, Happy We," "Glitter and Be Gay," and melodies composed specifically for the overture.

"Glitter and Be Gay" is a show-stopping coloratura solo in which the character describes how she has been "forced to bend my soul to a sordid role" of being the caged slave of the Grand Inquisitor and Don Issachar. The character switches back and forth between her disgust at her situation and her temptation at the jewelry, furs, and champagne that come with her new status.

Charlie Harmon's Candide: Suite enables audiences to discover some of the production's lesser-known music in a program-friendly instrumental. Selections include "You Were Dead You Know," "Paris Waltz," "Bon Voyage," Drowning Music/The King's Barcarolle, Ballad of Eldorado, I Am Easily Assimilated, The Best of All Possible Worlds, and the touching finale, Make Our Garden Grow.

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