Leonard Bernstein poses in his studio at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut, in August 1988. The Britt Orchestra's 2018 season will celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. [Library of Congress photo]

Britt Orchestra season will honor Bernstein

The 2018 Britt Orchestra season, which will run from July 25 through Aug. 11, will draw much of its inspiration from the Bernstein centennial, a worldwide celebration of the 100th birthday of composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.

Britt Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams and the Britt Orchestra will present music written, championed and influenced by Bernstein, including Aaron Copland’s "Appalachian Spring," Ottorino Respighi’s "Pines of Rome," Richard Strauss’ "Also Sprach Zarathustra," Brahms’ Fourth Symphony and Gustav Mahler’s Sixth Symphony.

The 2018 season also will bring several soloists to Britt, including double bassist Edgar Meyer, pianist Jonathan Biss, violinist Anthony Marwood and vocalists Measha Brueggergosman and Sasha Cooke.

Continuing a commitment to present music from today’s musical voices, the Britt Orchestra will perform works by living composers such as Anna Clyne, Christopher Cerrone, bassist/composer Meyer, and a new commissioned work by Gabriel Kahane that will focus on issues of housing and homelessness.

Much of the 2018 Britt Orchestra season will focus on the music and legacy of Bernstein, who wrote the score for "West Side Story" and is one of the first American-born composers to gain worldwide fame. He was born on Aug. 25, 1918, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and got his big break when the New York Philharmonic hired him in 1943. He died of emphysema at the age of 72.

A concert Saturday, July 28, will highlight Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1, "Jeremiah," with mezzo-soprano Cooke featured in the final movement. The same evening, Cooke will perform “Passage,” a work composed for her by Mason Bates that utilizes excerpts of John F. Kennedy’s famous "Moon Speech," alongside poetry by Walt Whitman.

On Friday, Aug. 10, Bernstein’s "Candide Overture and Serenade" will be presented, with violin soloist Marwood performing.

Britt's Pops concert will open the season on Wednesday, July 25, with a collection of “Classics in the Movies.”

Tickets to Britt Orchestra performances can be purchased online at, by calling 541-773-6077, or from the Britt box office, 216 W. Main St., Medford, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Premium reserved seats cost $45, general reserved seats are $25, and lawn seats cost $20.

The concert schedule for the 2018 Britt Orchestra season is:

  • Wednesday, July 25, Opening night: Pops, "Classics in the Movies"

  • Friday, July 27, "Pines of Rome" and Measha Brueggergosman

  • Saturday, July 28, Brahms and Sasha Cooke

  • Friday, Aug. 3, Beethoven and Jonathan Biss

  • Saturday, Aug. 4, "Appalachian Spring" and Edgar Meyer

  • Friday, Aug. 10, Bernstein Centennial and Anthony Marwood

  • Saturday, Aug. 11, Closing Night: Britt Orchestra Spectacular

Full program and guest artist information for all Britt Orchestra concerts is available at

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