Chamber Music Amarillo will celebrate great American composers at next concert
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By Chip Chandler — Producer
The centennial of Leonard Bernstein's birth is offering Chamber Music Amarillo the chance to celebrate a quartet of top American composers.
Bass vocalist Leon Turner, soprano Suzanne Ramo, violinist Annie Chalex Boyle, clarinetist Doug Storey and pianist Hyeree Roux will perform six works by Bernstein, George Gershwin, Samuel Jones and Aaron Copland at CMA's fifth concert of the season, set for 8 p.m. Saturday in the Fibonacci Space, 306 S.W. Sixth Ave.
"We were pleased to have this opportunity to showcase some of this wonderful music ... for this celebratory year of the Bernstein centennial," said David Palmer, CMA artistic director.
Bernstein — born Aug. 25, 1918 — was one of the country's foremost composers and conductors, serving a dozen years as the music director for New York Philharmonic, then as its laureate conductor for the rest of his life. His fame grew nationally thanks to a series of live, televised lecutres on classical music, then his 53 Young People's Concerts for CBS, which offered a national music appreciation class for viewers.
As a composer, he's best known for the musicals West Side Story, On the Town and Wonderfu Town, the opera Candide and orchestral works like his Symphony No. 3, Kaddish.
"I think Bernstein had an enormous love for what he did and for the people around him," Palmer said. "I think that his tremendous effort at embracing and reaching out to all different kinds of age groups was important. His (Young People's Concerts) were nothing short of a miracle."
The concert will feature Bernstein's Sonata for Clarinet, performed by Story and Roux; selected songs from Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, performed by Turner, Ramo and Roux; Jones' Sonata for Piano, performed by Roux; Bernstein's West Side Story (arranged for violin and piano), performed by Chalex Boyle and Roux; Copland's Old American Songs, performed by Turner and Roux; and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, performed by Roux.
"It's great to be able to bring these (five) really dynamic musicians together ... to showcase some really great American music over the evening," Palmer said.
Tickets are $35 for adults and $10 for students, with some limited free student tickets available.
A free preview of the concert will be offered at 7 p.m. Friday during Friday Family Night.