Photo: Robin Lindenbaum Sills / Contributed Photo
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The Connecticut Choral Society, under the direction of Eric Dale Knapp, is honoring the late Leonard Bernstein with two concerts which are part of a worldwide centennial celebration. The celebration began on his 99th birthday and runs through Aug. 25.
The first of these two “Bernstein @100” concerts will take place at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown on Saturday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. The second will be at the North Congregational Church in Woodbury on Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m.
Bernstein was the longtime director of the New York Philharmonic and is known for his musical contributions to “West Side Story,” “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” and “Candide,” just to name a few. More than half of his 400-plus recordings were made with the New York Philharmonic, according to LeonardBernstein.com.
“The Best of All Possible Worlds” is among the songs from “Candide” that will be performed by the Connecticut Choral Society. There will also be music from “West Side Story” and “Wonderful Town,” among other memorable selections.
Bernstein traveled the world as a conductor. Immediately after World War II, in 1946, he conducted in London and at the International Music Festival in Prague. In 1947 he conducted in Tel Aviv, beginning a relationship with Israel that lasted until his death, his website says.
One of the 20th century’s greatest composers, he also was an educator, musician, cultural ambassador and humanitarian.
Knapp, artistic director and conductor of the Connecticut Choral Society, has conducted at concert venues throughout the world, everywhere from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
“Bernstein’s iconic American sound possesses the power to inspire @100,” Knapp said via email. “His authentic compositional style remains relevant to anyone who listens to what he has to say. CCS is honored to present the humanitarian qualities of Leonard Bernstein in our upcoming concerts.”
Trinity Episcopal Church, 36 Main St., Newtown. Saturday, May 4, 7:30 p.m. $25, $20 senior/youth, $10 veteran, free for age 12 and under. 888-927-2933
North Congregational Church, 11 Main St. N., Woodbury. Sunday, May 5, 3 p.m. $25, $20 senior/youth, $10 veteran, free for age 12 and under. 888-927-2933