UK Wind Symphony
Leonard Bernstein Symphonic Dances from 'West Side Story'
The University of Kentucky Wind Symphony present its final concert of the 2021 Fall Concert Season with a program titled “West Side Story”, featuring compositions by Leonard Bernstein, Alfred Reed, Morten Lauridsen, and Peter Tchaikovsky. The featured work on the program will be Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, which was first performed by the New York Philharmonic on an all-Bernstein concert in 1961, four years after the opening of West Side Story on Broadway. The songs of the musical had immediately become popular standards, while at the same time the dance music had been sophisticated enough to find its way into the concert hall, like music of a ballet. Most composers for Broadway were songwriters who did not write their own dance music, but Bernstein, a fully trained composer who had already written two formal ballets, crafted these remarkable dances himself. The suite encompasses Prologue, Somewhere, Scherzo, Mambo (a competitive dance between the gangs), Cha-Cha (when Tony and Maria see one another for the first time), Cool, Rumble, and the Finale (where love music and a procession that recalls the ever-popular aria Somewhere, but now with a more tragic sentiment).
Other works on the program include Alfred Reed’s Symphony for Brass and Percussion, O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen, Dance of the Jesters by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and as an encore Bernstein’s Slava!