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CC Hosts Leonard Bernstein Symposium

Colorado College is hosting “Leonard Bernstein at 100,” a three-day symposium on one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century. The symposium, which runs Feb. 22-24, opens with an interview with Jamie Bernstein, Leonard Bernstein's oldest daughter, and closes with a keynote address delivered by a renowned Bernstein scholar.

CC’s scholarly symposium examines Bernstein as a composer, conductor and performer who left his musical mark on the seemingly separate realms of the concert hall, musical theatre, television and film, as well as criticism.  In the spirit of Bernstein’s own educational mission, this publicly oriented conference aims to share academically oriented insights on this iconic figure and his output in an accessible and engaging manner.

The in-person interview with Bernstein’s daughter will be conducted by Carol Oja, a Bernstein specialist from Harvard University, and Ryan Raul Bañagale ’00, Colorado College assistant professor of music.

Bañagale, the organizer of the symposium, also spearheaded the extremely successful Billy Joel symposium at Colorado College in October 2016. A CC professor who offers classes on a range of American music topics, including musical theatre, jazz, popular music, folk music and media studies, Bañagale notes that “the music of Bernstein has the power to bring together all members of our community. The wonderful range of opportunities presented throughout Colorado Springs makes it easy for everyone to be a part of this centenary celebration.”

All symposium events will take place in Colorado College’s Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave., with six nationally recognized music scholars giving approachable presentations related to various aspects of Bernstein’s work.

On Friday, Feb. 23 a concert featuring seldom-heard works by Bernstein will be performed by Colorado College faculty, students and staff, and will include his arrangement of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” for an unusual set of summer camp instruments.

The keynote address, “Leonard Bernstein and the Performance of Social Justice,” will be delivered by Oja on Saturday, Feb. 24. Oja is a musicologist and scholar of American Studies, and author of “Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War.” She is past president of the Society for American Music and has twice chaired the Pulitzer Prize committee in music.

Additionally, there will be a free pre-symposium event on Wednesday, Feb. 7, with a special Music at Midday event in Packard Hall featuring instrumental and vocal student performances celebrating the work of Leonard Bernstein.

Registration for the symposium is limited to 450 attendees and is required to attend any events on the conference program. A registration fee of $25 grants attendees access to all conference presentations and related programming events. Registration for the symposium is open until Feb. 15; registration packets will be available for pick-up at Cornerstone Arts Center during the symposium.