A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein: Opening Night at Carnegie Hall 2008

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Opera stars Dawn Upshaw and Thomas Hampson, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Broadway’s Christine Ebersole join Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony in Carnegie Hall Opening Night 2008: A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein.

Featuring selections ranging from the 1944 ballet Fancy Free through West Side Story (1957) to his final opera A Quiet Place (1983), the telecast offers a virtual sound portrait of Leonard Bernstein’s life. “His music is intensely biographical,” says Tilson Thomas, a close friend and colleague of Bernstein, who first met the maestro in 1968 and, in 1971, succeeded him as conductor of the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts on national TV. “The pieces do reflect his early, middle and late years,” Tilson Thomas says, “optimistic, reflective and then the concern that somehow all the disparate themes will come out in the end, that there will be some kind of resolution and peace.”