Leonard Bernstein, conductor, composer, songwriter, pianist, theatrical to the core, was the ultimate Renaissance man and musical chameleon. Our speakers showcase three different aspects of the man and his music.
October 11: Larry Rachleff | A Total Embrace: Leonard Bernstein the Conductor
Leonard Bernstein is a powerful influence on the current generation of symphonic conductors. From his first concert with the New York Philharmonic in 1943, he captured the hearts of America and of the world. He once said, “I’m not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself. I want it to sound like the composer.” From his own perspective as a conductor, Larry Rachleff will discuss Leonard Bernstein, the conductor, and his dedication to uncovering the composer’s true intent.
Larry Rachleff is the Walter Kris Hubert Professor of Orchestral Conducting and Music Director of the Shepherd School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. He also serves as music director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic. The Chicago Tribune has described him as “a take-charge maestro who invests everything he conducts with deep musical understanding.” He has conducted and presented master classes all over the world, and is an enthusiastic advocate of public school music education.
October 18: Susan Lorette Dunn and Brian Connelly | Dream With Me: Leonard Bernstein the Songwriter
Leonard Bernstein’s extraordinary compositional output included opera, song, symphonic repertoire, musical theatre, chamber music, and ballet, all influenced by a variety of musical styles. As Susan Lorette Dunn and Brian Connelly perform a smorgasbord of Bernstein’s songs and piano music, the audience will hear from a colorful and diverse set of characters from opera, the concert hall, the recital hall, and most especially, the theatre.
Susan Lorette Dunn is artist teacher of opera studies in the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. She studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane, Australia, graduating with a Bachelor of Music, and a Graduate Diploma in opera. She has performed and recorded as soloist with ABC Australia and with many of Australia’s major musical performing arts companies. Since moving to the U.S. in 2002, Miss Dunn has maintained a teaching career and a full-time performing career.
Brian Connelly teaches piano performance and chamber music in the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and is the artistic director of the renowned chamber ensemble Context, now in its twenty-third season. His career embraces a broad range of historical and modern repertoires and styles, and he has premiered works by contemporary composers. Mr. Connelly is widely respected as a scholar and performer of period instruments.
October 25: Howard Pollack | In the American Grain: Leonard Bernstein the Composer
As a composer, Leonard Bernstein remains best known for his musical theater pieces for Broadway, such as On the Town, Candide, and West Side Story. He also wrote piano, chamber, choral, and orchestral works as well as two operas. Howard Pollack will discuss Bernstein in the context of several American composers who preceded him, in particular, Aaron Copland and Marc Blitzstein.
Howard Pollack is the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Music and Division Chair of Musicology at the University of Houston, where he has taught since 1987. He has published widely in the field of American music, and one of his seven books is described by the New York Times as “the definitive study of Aaron Copland’s life and work.” His most recent book, The Ballad of John Latouche, explores the life of the brilliant lyricist and librettist who collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on Candide. Professor Pollack holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University.