Throughout 2018, NEWorks partnered with institutions in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta to curate a range of cultural events celebrating the life and music of Leonard Bernstein. Our projects include the Mann Center's festival, Brilliantly Bernstein: Beyond the Baton, The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage concert, Bernstein Tribute, and the national touring exhibition, West Side/South Side (pictured above).
The photo above features our West Side/South Side exhibition. Photo Credit: Jordan August
Fulton County Arts and Culture
The Kennedy Center
Monumental Baptist Church
National Museum of American Jewish History
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
Alice Deal Middle School
Art Institute of Atlanta
Clark Atlanta University
KIPP Du Bois Collegiate Academy
String Theory Charter School
University of the Arts
University of the District of Columbia
February through November 2018
In the spirit of Bernstein, NEWorks partnered with the Mann Center to curate a two-phase residency for young creatives, led by inspiring teaching artists, to compose new works that explore the nation's history and its ongoing struggle to become a more perfect union. These works employed elements of the libretto from Bernstein's musical, 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, as a foundation and inspiration.
Phase 1 ran from February through May 2018 at KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy and was led by Darin Atwater. Darin, Nolan and select KIPP faculty worked in tandem: (1) to guide scholar-artists in studying the content and structure of the 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE libretto, and (2) to explore principles of song composition and instrumental arranging as tools that give poetic voice and expression to their thoughts about social justice, informed by their personal experiences.
Building upon these same objectives, Phase 2 of this project ran for eight weeks during the fall term of 2018. In this phase, the Art of Songwriting residency expanded to include scholar-artists at KIPP Du Bois Collegiate Academy and String Theory Charter School, led by teaching-artists Greg Corbin and Sean Schulich.
At the conclusion of this second project phase, young creatives spent two weeks in a music studio to record their compositions. (Pictured above / photo credit: Jordan August)
This program was made possible by the support of the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust.
with The Philadelphia Orchestra (POA)
Mann Center, Main Stage
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Kensho Watanabe, conductor
Joseph Lattanzi, baritone
Alexandra Schoeny, soprano
Stewart Goodyear, piano
Darin Atwater, composer
This POA concert, co-curated by the Mann Center and NEWorks, featured some of Bernstein's most treasured works, including excerpts from On the Town, Peter Pan, and Candide, along with the jazz-infused Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin, a seminal composer in his own right who was a significant influence for Bernstein.
The concert also featured the world premiere of the newly commissioned work South Side, Symphonic Dances by acclaimed American composer Darin Atwater. South Side, Symphonic Dances is based on the eternal tale in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Bernstein's romantic musical update West Side Story. South Side, Symphonic Dances represents the tragedy and triumph of African-American youth who navigate the complexity of urban living. The war between rival teenage gangs in Bernstein's West Side Story is replaced with the metaphoric rival "gang" of oppressive forces and structures of subordination, including racism, economic/educational disparities, injustice, media bias, etc. The work aims to storyboard society's collective struggles and the power of story, music, and culture, transcending boundaries of geography, class, and race - all of the universal concepts that are present in all cultures.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
The Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage
Bernstein Tribute was a concert of music and movement curated by NEWorks to honor the Leonard Bernstein centenary. The mixed program featured less-commonly performed works by the iconic American composer, including excerpts from Bernstein's song cycle for children, I Hate Music!, and his sonata for clarinet and piano. The tribute also featured a rousing performance by internationally-celebrated tap 'hoofer', Cartier Williams.
Saturday, August 11, 2018
Monumental Baptist Church (Philadelphia)
Sunday, November 25, 2018
The Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage (Washington, D.C.)
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Mother Bethel AME Church (Philadelphia)
Monday, June 24, 2019
Mann Center, Main Stage (Philadelphia)
with The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
Conceived by Nolan Williams, Jr. and inspired by Bernstein’s MASS, the Philadelphia Community Mass drew together a collective of Philadelphia-based composers, musicians and directors to create a community Mass that explored the relevance of faith in our times. Featuring the Bernstein-inspired compositions of Dr. Rollo Dilworth, Ruth Naomi Floyd, Dr. Jay Fluellen and Evelyn Simpson Curenton, the Philadelphia Community Mass was was anchored by the Philadelphia Community Mass Choir, a collective of singers under the direction of Dr. Fluellen.
Excerpts of the Mass were performed by The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra at the Mann Center in 2019, orchestrated and conducted by Williams.
Pictured: PCM presentation at Monumental Baptist Church / Photo Credit: courtesy of NEWorks Productions
Thursday, August 9, 2018
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Friday, August 10, 2018
West Side/South Side was a photo exhibition that explored the challenges and triumphs of American diversity. Conceived and curated by Nolan Williams, Jr., the exhibition featured daring new works from student photographers attending top media university programs in Washington, D.C. (American University, The University of the District of Columbia), Philadelphia, PA (University of the Arts), and Atlanta, GA (Art Institute of Atlanta, Clark Atlanta University).
The exhibition title is inspired by American composer Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. Bernstein's work was inspired by the timeless Shakespearean work, Romeo and Juliet, yet broke new artistic ground with the decision to explore in this musical a rivalry between two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds—one Puerto Rican, the other White. Premiered on Broadway in 1957, Bernstein challenged us to wrestle with issues of community integration. He also shone a spotlight on the social challenges that often distinguish one neighborhood from another.
Sixty years later, 55 students from our partner schools have produced nearly 300 images that compel us to grapple with these same topics anew. Their works are featured online as a digital exhibition. Thirty-three selected works were mounted for the traveling exhibition.
A series of panel discussions was also convened in each city to engage community around the themes of the exhibition.
Fulton County Arts & Culture
Iwan Bagus, Professor
E. Taylor Bareford, Professor
Deidra Tyree Smith, Professor
Barbara Proud, Professor
Iwan Bagus, Professor
Bernstein Centenary was presented, in part, with funding from the following:
Fulton County Arts & Culture
Hamilton Family Charitable Trust
National Endowment for the Arts
PNC Arts Alive
The Presser Foundation
Pia and Jimmy Zankel