San Diego Symphony Celebrates LEONARD BERNSTEIN AT 100

As one of the most celebrated musicians of his time, Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990) dedicated his life and career to the joy of music and the development of humanity. In his centennial year, the San Diego Symphony is proud to host a special Bernstein Festival in association with "Leonard Bernstein at 100", a world-wide celebration of his 100th birthday. Throughout the month of May, the San Diego Symphony will perform four special programs honoring Leonard Bernstein's life as a composer, conductor, educator, musician, cultural ambassador, and activist.

Bernstein's range of achievements is uniquely broad and in the new millennium, his legacy resonates more than ever. As a conductor, he was a champion for great American composition. His scores combined diverse musical elements at a time when it was frowned upon to do so, paving the way for future composers to take similar risks. As an educator, he had a raging thirst for knowledge and an undeniable excitement to share his learnings with the world. In life, he was an innovator and a courageous advocate for civil rights and social change.

The San Diego Symphony's month-long salute to Leonard Bernstein's Centennial kicks off on May 4 and 6 with one of his great early successes, music to the ballet Fancy Free led by Maestro Fabien Gabel. The celebration continues on May 8 with a Chamber Concert featuring Pianist Orli Shaham, then May 11-13 it's San Diego's update of the famous "BBB" classical formula featuring Leonard Bernstein's Jeremiah Symphony, written in 1944 when the composer was 24 years old and desperate to call out Fascism's destructive ascendency in Europe. The festival concludes May 25-27 with "Lenny's" quintessential curtain-raiser, the overture to Candide led by Maestro Edo de Waart.

"Leonard Bernstein has always been such an inspiration to the musical community and we are honored to celebrate his legacy," said Martha Gilmer, San Diego Symphony CEO. "I had the great fortune to work with him once while in Chicago and he was amazing. We look forward to sharing his work with our audiences throughout May."

Tickets are currently on sale for all Bernstein Festival performances. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at 619.235.0804. Guests may also visit the San Diego Symphony Jacobs Music Center Copley Symphony Hall box office at 750 B Street, San Diego, CA 92101.




Jacobs Masterworks: Music of Bernstein, Richard Strauss and Offenbach

Fabien Gabel, conductor

Simone Lamsma, violin

Our month-long salute to Leonard Bernstein's Centennial kicks off with one of Bernstein's great early successes, his music to the ballet Fancy Free. One of the leading young violinists in the world, Simone Lamsma, performs Bernstein's unusually scored Serenade, a work inspired by Plato's famous Symposium on the subject of love. The concert closes with a couple of richly textured suites from the lively opera/operetta worlds of Richard Strauss and Jacques Offenbach.



Chamber Music Series: Our Chamber Series finale with the graceful pianist Orli Shaham

Special Guest: Orli Shaham, piano

Pianist Orli Shaham, who has been acclaimed for her flawless technique, reflective grace and subtlety of touch, returns to the Chamber Music Series for our season finale, part of our month-long Bernstein Centennial celebration.

FRI MAY 11 | SAT MAY 12 | SUN MAY 13


Jacobs Masterworks: Music of Barber, Bernstein and Beethoven

Jahja Ling, conductor

Kelley O'Connor, mezzo-soprano

Martin Helmchen, piano

Our update of the famous "BBB" classical formula opens with Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, a work of great power ripe for rediscovery in the concert hall setting. Next is Leonard Bernstein's Jeremiah Symphony, written in 1944 when the composer was 24 years old and desperate to call out Fascism's destructive ascendency in Europe. Ludwig van Beethoven, too, had escape from military oppression on his mind as he wrote his glorious Emperor piano concerto while his former hero, Napoleon, laid siege to Beethoven's Vienna. The Emperor concludes our program.

FRI MAY 25 | SAT MAY 26 | SUN MAY 27


Jacobs Masterworks: Music of Bernstein, Poulenc and Brahms

Edo de Waart, conductor?Christina and Michelle Naughton, duo piano

Our Leonard Bernstein Centennial celebration concludes with "Lenny's" quintessential curtain-raiser, the overture to Candide. Maestro de Waart welcomes the Naughton sisters, the most acclaimed piano duo on today's classical circuit, for Francis Poulenc's famous Concerto for Two Pianos, a charming and agreeable work with a strong suggestion of Mozart at its sparkling heart. Finally, the season closes with Johannes Brahms' Second Symphony, a work of supreme control that grows from a focused, serious beginning to a wonderfully bright and brassy finale.

About the San Diego Symphony

Founded in 1910, the San Diego Symphony is the oldest orchestra in California and one of the largest and most significant cultural organizations in San Diego. The Orchestra performs for over 250,000 people each season, offering a wide variety of programming at its two much loved venues, Copley Symphony Hall in downtown San Diego and the Embarcadero Marina Park South on San Diego Bay. The orchestra's 82 full-time musicians, graduates of the finest and most celebrated music schools in the United States and abroad, also serve as the orchestra for the San Diego Opera each season, as well as performing at several regional performing arts centers. For over 30 years, the San Diego Symphony has provided comprehensive music education and community engagement programs reaching more than 65,000 students annually and bringing innovative programming to San Diego's diverse neighborhoods and schools. For more information, visit

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