“The audience filled the room with lusty laughs and applause.” - The New York Times
A well-known insomniac for whom night was a time for creativity and friendship, deep introspection, and revelry, the iconic Leonard Bernstein loved to work at all hours, often entertaining friends and guests late into the night and dazzling them with charismatic performances across a wide range of musical styles. Late Night with Leonard Bernstein―hosted and narrated by his daughter Jamie and featuring acclaimed soprano Amy Burton and celebrated pianists John Musto and Michael Boriskin―is an affectionate, multi-media portrait of the personal side of this singularly public figure. This vibrant evening captivated sold-out audiences at Lincoln Center and Copland House when it first opened, and is enchanting concertgoers at the Ravinia, Boca Raton, and La Jolla Festivals, and in Boston, Cleveland, Charleston, Buffalo, and many other cities.
The program traces Bernstein's journey back to his years as a prodigiously-gifted undergraduate who loved jazz, classics, and thorny modernists with equal passion, and his early efforts as an aspiring composer and arranger of musicals, dance, and pop novelties. Several of his most intimate works are performed, along with some of his favorite compositions by Copland, Schubert, Grieg, Zez Confrey, Noel Coward, Ernesto Lecuona, and others. Brief audio and video excerpts of the Maestro himself are among the program's many highlights. The entire evening is woven together through Jamie Bernstein's personal, affecting script, and a slide show of rare photographs of the legendary artist and his family, friends, and colleagues. As The New York Times noted, "here were lots of little surprises ... early bits of aborted projects that later surfaced, re-imagined, in famous works like West Side Story and Mass; a tongue-twisting parody [of Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony] by Bernstein's buddy Adolph Green; a film clip of Bernstein at the piano, singing a Marc Blitzstein novelty number."
Part of a DC-citywide centennial celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday.
Jamie Bernstein is a narrator, writer, and broadcaster who has transformed a lifetime of loving music into a career of sharing her knowledge and excitement with others.
Jamie grew up in an atmosphere bursting with music, theatre and literature. Her father, composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein, together with her mother, the pianist and actress Felicia Montealegre, created a spontaneous, ebullient household that turned Jamie into a lifelong cultural enthusiast.
Replicating her father’s compulsion to share and teach, Jamie has devised several ways of communicating her own excitement about classical music. In addition to “The Bernstein Beat,” a family concert about her father modeled after his own groundbreaking Young People’s Concerts, Jamie has also written and narrated concerts about Mozart and Aaron Copland, among others.
Jamie travels the world as a concert narrator, appearing everywhere from Beijing to Caracas to Vancouver. In addition to her own scripted narrations, Jamie also performs standard concert narrations, such as Walton’s Facade, Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait and her father’s Symphony No. 3, Kaddish. She is a frequent speaker on musical topics, including in-depth discussions of her father’s works.
In her role as a broadcaster, Jamie has produced and hosted numerous shows for radio stations in the US as well as for BBC Radio 3 in Great Britain. In addition to hosting several seasons of the New York Philharmonic’s live national radio broadcasts, Jamie has presented various series for New York’s classical station, 96.3 WQXR FM, including annual live broadcasts from Tanglewood.
In addition to writing her own scripts and narrations, Jamie writes articles and poetry, which have appeared in such publications as Symphony, DoubleTake, Town & Country, and Gourmet.
Michael Boriskin has become recognized on five continents as one of the most imaginative and versatile American pianists of his generation. Whether the composer is Mozart or Beethoven, Brahms or Ravel, Copland or Gershwin, Perle or Lutoslawski, Boriskin offers "an adventure for the audience" (The New York Times). Each performance and recording attests to a vivid communicativeness, natural expressivity, and deeply musical virtuosity that have made him one of the most highly-regarded exponents of both old and new works.
Boriskin has performed throughout the US and in over 30 countries. His extensive international itinerary includes the San Francisco, Seattle, and Utah Symphonies, New York Chamber Symphony, Polish National and Munich Radio Orchestras, American Composers Orchestra, and UNAM Philharmonic of Mexico City, among others. He has performed at many of the world's foremost concert venues, including Lincoln Center (on its Great Performers Series), the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, BBC in London, South West German Radio, Theatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Vienna's Arnold Schoenberg Center, Athens Festival of Music and Dance, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Library of Congress, and Istanbul International Festival. His performances, recordings, and commentary figure regularly on NPR, where his innovative broadcast series CENTURYVIEW, celebrating piano works of the past hundred years, was enjoyed for three seasons by over one-million listeners on 200 stations coast-to-coast. Boriskin is also a much sought-after guest with chamber ensembles worldwide, and has worked with the Borromeo, St. Petersburg, St. Lawrence, Penderecki, Ludwig, and Lark String Quartets, Dorian and Arioso Wind Quintets, and the New York Philharmonic Ensembles.
A prolific recording artist, Boriskin's impressive discography on BMG/Conifer, New World, Koch International, Albany, and many other labels ranges widely from Brahms and Tchaikovsky through the present, and continues to grow in depth and breadth. His BMG recording of Gershwin's complete works for piano and orchestra with the Eos Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Scheffer was awarded a coveted Rosette from Britain’s Penguin Guide to Recordings. He recorded five concerti for Newport Classic, including the rarely-heard Tchaikovsky Second and the Prokofiev First. He has four highly-acclaimed discs of postwar American piano works on New World Records, which have often appeared on Best Recordings lists of The New York Times and many other publications. On Bridge and Albany, he has recorded both of George Perle's towering piano concerti (the second of which was written for Boriskin). Other solo recordings have been devoted to Brahms (Music & Arts), Poulenc (Musical Heritage Society), Joplin (BMG, appearing on Crossover Charts in the U.K.), and Lou Harrison (Newport Classic), as well as concerti by Richard Danielpour and Edward Smaldone (Bridge and CRI, respectively).
As the Los Angeles Times noted, Boriskin's lively programming is "a paragon of enlightenment," and he actively seeks, through content and presentation, to refresh and broaden the concert experience. His vast repertoire reaches back to the works of Rameau, Scarlatti, Bach, and other Baroque masters, and he has also worked with virtually every major American composer of the past 30 years.
Long ago, Boriskin broke the constraints of a traditional performing career, with major institutions enlisting his many talents. As Artistic and Executive Director of Copland House, he has guided the national emergence of this unique creative center for American music based at Aaron Copland's restored, longtime New York home. He has served as an artistic advisor for programs and projects at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y, Columbia University's Kathryn Bache Miller Theatre, New Line Cinema, and the fabled Arnold Schoenberg Institute in Los Angeles, and has traveled as an emissary for the US Department of State and the US Information Agency. For the New York Philharmonic, he played a significant role as piano soloist, chamber music collaborator, pre-concert lecturer, moderator, and program consultant at the orchestra's Completely Copland Festival (1999). As Music Director for three seasons of the White Oak Dance Project, his collaborations with Mikhail Baryshnikov were celebrated throughout the dance and music worlds, and Boriskin oversaw the musical preparations and production of nearly 250 performances on 10 national and international tours. An accomplished writer, his articles have appeared in American Record Guide, Symphony, Chamber Music, Stagebill, Piano and Keyboard, Clavier, The Piano Quarterly, and he was a contributing author to the 1993 Schirmer book on Vladimir Horowitz.
He has had a long and extensive commitment to education, and has been affiliated over the years with the Mannes College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, City University of New York, University of California, and many other leading institutions. He has also brought music to life in master classes, residencies, workshops, and guest lectures at campuses around the world.
As The New York Observer noted, "Michael Boriskin is an American pianist who grew up in Long Beach, Long Island to become one of the world's most valuable piano virtuosos." He was born in New York City to a family long active in music and the visual arts. He attended public schools on Long Island, and pursued his musical studies at The Juilliard School and the City University of New York at Queens College.
With a voice the New York Times has called, “luminous” and “lustrous,” versatile soprano Amy Burton has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, at the White House, and with major opera companies and orchestras throughout the US, Europe, UK, Japan, and Israel, as well as on recital and cabaret stages from New York to Barcelona. A frequent interpreter of 20th and 21st-Century music, she has premiered pieces by John Musto, Paul Moravec, Lee Hoiby, John Harbison, Richard Festinger, and Richard Danielpour, to name a few. Also specializing in French vocal music of the 1920s and 30s, Burton has performed both mélodies and chansons populaires throughout the US and Europe, and recorded a critically acclaimed CD with conductor Yves Abel, Souvenir de Printemps.
Recent projects include the modern-day premiere of Cole Porter's rediscovered 1928 musical, The Ambassador Revue (La Revue des Ambassadeurs), in both Paris (2012) and New York (2014), the New York premiere of John Musto’s Scottish Songs, and the world premiere of Sarah’s Song for the AIDS Quilt Songbook and Summer Stars for the Opera America Songbook and recording, also by Musto. Burton also performed the world premiere and the recording of Michael Dellaira’s opera The Secret Agent.
Burton’s frequent collaborations with composer-pianist John Musto include recitals, cabaret evenings and residencies. Their recent recording for Bridge Records, Got a Little Rhythm, a collection of songs and duets from the Great American Songbook (with baritone Patrick Mason), has garnered rave reviews. Amy Burton has previously recorded for Bridge, Naxos, Harbinger, Albany, Angel/EMI, and CRI.
A sought-after teacher, Burton is Professor of Voice at the Mannes College of Music and the CUNY Graduate Center Doctoral program, and is on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music and SongFest: The Complete Recitalist at Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles. She maintains a private voice studio in New York City and is in demand for master classes and residencies throughout the US.
Burton has won awards from the Gerda Lissner, George London, and Sullivan Foundations, and was the Silver Medalist in the 1995 Marian Anderson International Vocal Competition. New York City Opera, with whom she was a soprano for twelve seasons, honored her with the Christopher Keene Award, the Kolosvar Award, and the Diva Award. She is proud to be an active member of the Glimmerglass Opera Artist Advisory Board, New York Festival of Song's Artist Council, and Opera America, which honored her with their first Artist Advocate Award.
Composer and pianist John Musto is regarded as one of the most versatile musicians before the public today. His activities encompass virtually every genre: orchestral, operatic, solo, chamber, vocal music, concerti, and music for film and television. His music embraces many strains of contemporary American concert music, enriched by sophisticated inspirations from jazz, ragtime, and the blues. These qualities lend a strong profile to his vocal music, which ranges from a series of operas – Volpone, Later the Same Evening, Bastianello, and The Inspector – to a catalogue of art songs that is among the finest of any living American composer.
As pianist he has performed repertoire from Galuppi sonatas to Bolcom Études, Bach keyboard concerti to Bernstein's Age of Anxiety, his own piano concerti, Schubert lieder to the Great American Songbook. He also performs frequently with his wife, soprano Amy Burton, in recital and cabaret.
Musto was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his orchestral song cycle Dove Sta Amore, and is a recipient of two Emmy awards, two CINE Awards, a Rockefeller Fellowship at Bellagio, an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, and a Distinguished Alumnus award from the Manhattan School of Music. He is currently the Coordinator of the D.M.A. Program in Music Performance at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York.
Musto's work has been recorded by Bridge, Harmonia Mundi, Nonesuch, Cedille, The Milken Archive, Naxos, Harbinger, CRI and EMI, Hyperion, MusicMasters, Innova, Channel Classics, Albany, and New World Records. He is published by Peermusic Classical.