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Concerts celebrate Leonard Bernstein and The Four Seasons

YouTube star Morgan James and virtuoso violinist Angelo Xiang Yu celebrate Leonard Bernstein and The Four Seasons in two special NZSO concerts

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra celebrates a giant of 20th century music and one of the most popular works ever written for violin in two back-to-back concerts in Wellington and Auckland in May.

Bernstein at 100 marks the centenary of legendary American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, best known for the musical West Side Story. The Four Seasons will feature Vivaldi’s intoxicating concerti for violin, performed by acclaimed violinist Angelo Xiang Yu.

Both concerts will be conducted by American Brett Mitchell, Music Director of the Colorado Symphony, who has been hailed for his compelling performances of innovative and eclectic programmes.

Bernstein at 100 features American singer Morgan James, a talented Broadway star who is at home across genres. Her jazz and soul interpretations of popular songs include several with US viral video ensemble Postmodern Jukebox, including a cover of All About That Bass viewed more than 37 million times on YouTube.

The concert will include the Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront, dances from the musicals On the Town and West Side Story, alongside Dream with Me from Peter Pan and Glitter and Be Gay from Candide.

“When you think about American music in the 20th century, it’s impossible not to think of Leonard Bernstein,” Mitchell has said.

“It’s amazing to me to think Bernstein was music director of the New York Philharmonic from 1958 to 1969. It was literally the year before he started that they released West Side Story, which is one of the great Broadway hits of all time. You’ve got somebody that really was every bit as comfortable in the Broadway world as he was in the classical, orchestral world.”

Angelo Xiang Yu, winner of the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition in 2010, is regarded as one of today’s most talented and creative young violinists. Critics have described his technique as “superhuman” and that “he becomes one with the violin” on stage.

Yu has performed with many of the world’s top orchestras and been praised for his recitals and chamber music performances. The Four Seasons is very close to his heart. “This is the piece that made me fall in love with classical music when I was little.”

The Italian-flavoured The Four Seasons concert also features Berlioz’s uplifting Roman Carnival Overture and Respighi’s majestic Pines of Rome. Pines of Rome will feature an additional 20 brass players from Wellington Brass Band, winners of the 2018 Australia Brass Band Championship.

Bernstein at 100 is performed on 11 May and The Four Seasons on 12 May in Wellington. The following week Bernstein at 100 is performed on 18 May and The Four Seasons on 19 May in Auckland.


Bernstein at 100



Bernstein On the Town:

Dance of the Great Lover from Three Dance Episodes

‘I Can Cook Too’

Lonely Town (Pas de deux) from Three Dance Episodes

‘Some Other Time’

Times Square Ballet from Three Dance Episodes

Bernstein Peter Pan:

‘Dream with Me’

Bernstein Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront

Bernstein Candide:


’It Must Be So’

Bernstein West Side Story

‘Tonight’ (Balcony Scene)

Symphonic Dances

Bernstein Candide:

’Glitter and be Gay’

WELLINGTON | Michael Fowler Centre| Friday 11 May| 6.30pm

AUCKLAND | Town Hall| Friday 18 May| 7.30pm

The Four Seasons



Vivaldi The Four Seasons, Op. 8 Nos. 1-4
Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9
Respighi Pines of Rome

WELLINGTON | Michael Fowler Centre| Saturday 12 May| 7.30pm

AUCKLAND | Town Hall| Saturday 19 May| 7.30pm

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