Hartford Symphony Orchestra and special guests to appear as part of Leonard Bernstein Festival

Hartford Symphony Orchestra and special guests to appear as part of Leonard Bernstein Festival

Noted conductor Michael Barrett and Jamie Bernstein, legendary composer Leonard Bernstein's daughter, will be among the special guests on Friday, March 24, at 8 p.m., when the Hartford Symphony Orchestra takes the stage at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Barrett, who was Bernstein's assistant conductor and remains the artistic advisor to Bernstein's estate, will lead the orchestra through memorable selections from "West Side Story," "Candide," and "On the Waterfront" in "Bernstein on Broadway," part of the Quick Center's ongoing Leonard Bernstein Festival.

Jamie Bernstein will provide concert narration and reflect on her father's legacy to the world of music during the performance, which features mezzo-soprano Elizabet Shammash and tenor Jeffrey Picon, among others.

Known as a champion of new music and innovative programming, Barrett has created numerous respected concert series, festivals and performing ensembles across the country. The Grammy winner is chief executive and general director of Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, N.Y., the home of the renowned annual Caramoor International Music Festival. He is also co-founder of the critically acclaimed New York Festival of Song and music director and co-founder of the Moab Music Festival in Utah.

Barrett is the former director of the Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, where, among other things, he created the widely praised Today's Composers series.

A protégé of Bernstein, Barrett began his association with the maestro as a student in 1982. From 1985 through 1990, he served as Bernstein's associate conductor and he has guest conducted several major orchestras, including the Orchestra of St. Luke's, New York Philharmonic, London Symphony, Israel Philharmonic and Orchestre National de France.

He has collaborated with Jamie Bernstein on educational music programs, such as narrated young people's concerts that have been performed throughout the United States, Asia, Europe and Cuba.

Bernstein is a writer, broadcaster and mother of two. Having grown up with her father and her mother, who studied piano before becoming an actress, she began writing songs on the piano and guitar while in her teens. She and her siblings have worked to preserve their father's legacy since his death in 1990. To that end, she hosted the New York Philharmonic's live national radio broadcasts and has performed concert narrations with orchestras around the United States and in China and Cuba.

She has also hosted several radio series on New York's classical station WQXR, including "Playing Favorites," in which noted cultural figures talk about their favorite music, and "Music from Tanglewood."

Considered one of the country's leading regional orchestras, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (HSO) marks its 62nd season in 2005-06. The second largest orchestra in New England, it performs more than 60 concerts each year at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and other locations across the state and has been featured on Connecticut Public Radio. In 1996, the orchestra introduced the Talcott Mountain Music Festival and, in the spring of 2001, HSO joined popular tenor Andrea Bocelli on a successful eight-city North America tour.

Acclaimed by The Boston Globe as a "mezzo voice that makes one sit up and take notice," Shammash has appeared in major roles with The New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Wolf Trap Opera, among others. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, China National Symphony, Dallas Symphony and Berlin Radio Symphony. Highlights of Picon's stellar career including performing with the Dallas Opera, American Symphony Orchestra, and the San Francisco Opera. He has sung with the New York Festival of Song and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and at the Moab Music Festival.

Tickets are $50, $45 and $40. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit www.quickcenter.com.

Posted On: 02-24-2006 10:02 AM

Volume: 38 Number: 171