Austin Celebrates Leonard Bernstein’s 100th En Masse

More than 300 performers will participate in "Mass: A Theater Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers," June 29-30 at the Long Center


Austin joins the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth this year in a manner most fitting for a city and arts community defined by its desire to collaborate.

More than 300 performers will participate in “Mass: A Theater Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers,” Bernstein’s theatrical music piece involving an orchestra, vocal soloists, a choir, a boy’s choir and dancers.

“Mass” will be performed 8 p.m. June 29 and 30. Tickets and more information at

For years Austin Symphony music director Peter Bay — who considers Bernstein his idol — has wanted to stage “Mass.” Plans began two years ago, and the organization Bernstein100Austin launched earlier this year.

Even by Austin arts community standards, the list of “Mass” collaborators is long: Austin Symphony; Conspirare choral ensemble; adult choirs Chorus Austin & Panaromic Voices; singers from Austin Opera, Huston-Tillotson University and Texas State University; youth singers from the Austin Children’s Choir, Chisholm Trail Middle School (Round Rock ISD) and the African Children’s Choir; members of Ballet Austin; UT Butler School of Music Wind Ensemble; and performers from Zach Theatre’s pre-professional program.

Read “Why Bernstein Matters in 2018” to understand, as writer Matt Kuchak says, that “what sets Bernstein apart from many of his contemporaries, and solidified his place as an American cultural icon, was his willingness to take on political issues.”

Other Bernstein-related events in Austin:

  • Booksigning: Jamie Bernstein, author of “Famous Father Girl”
    The composer’s oldest daughter offers a rare look at her father in a deeply intimate and broadly evocative memoir.
    7 p.m. June 27, BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
  • KMFA 89.5’s Leonard Bernstein Docementary Series
    A special series of three one-hour documentaries celebrating Leonard Bernstein at 100. Listen here.

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