• Schuster Center (map)
  • 1 West 2nd Street
  • Dayton, OH, 45402
  • United States

Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra

Bernstein and the New Americans

Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra have an especially rousing evening planned. This mini Bernstein festival is sprinkled with new music by American composers of today Stella Sung and Sean Neukom. 

A Musical Toast is just that—a toast to a delightful evening of music. Leonard Bernstein’s music is of an eclectic style that bridges the worlds of popular and classical music, and A Musical Toast is a great example of this. The bright, theatrical piece is orchestral work in a “pops” vein. 

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was lucky to have composer Stella Sung for a three-year Music Alive residency. She composed The Book Collector, which had its world premiere at the Schuster Center in May 2016. Tonight the DPO performs Sung’s Signs/Fate of Place, which was first premiered by Dayton Ballet in February 2015. Sung is based at the University of Central Florida, where she is director of the Center for Research and Education in Arts, Technology, and Entertainment (CREATE). 

Tonight’s performance also features a Violin Concerto written for DPO's Concertmaster, Jessica Hung, by Sean Neukom. Neukom is violist for the Beo String Quartet, first violinist of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and a faculty member for Dakota Chamber Music. Jessica Hung has previously performed his Solo Violin Sonata on a DPO Chamber Series Concert. 

The concert continues with more from the musical library of Leonard Bernstein. The composer was barely 39 years old when West Side Story premiered on Broadway. This collaboration among Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, and Stephen Sondheim was reviewed as “serious, but hip,” and many consider it to be the best musical ever. Bernstein later took his biggest hit—both in the theater and at the movies—and set it into nine short movements of orchestral symphonic dances: a musical capsule of the serious, but hip, play. 

A divertimento is defined as “a light, entertaining musical composition.” Bernstein’s Divertimento for Orchestra not only fits that definition but also expands it to encompass other pieces he has written. This work is another successful merging of the theatrical with classical orchestral music. Bernstein originally wrote this piece for the centenary of the Boston Symphony in 1980. The final section of Divertimento is a march titled “The BSO Forever.” 

At Bernstein’s death, the New York Times hailed him as a “Renaissance man of American music.” This concert honors this 20th-century Renaissance composer and welcomes the new work of today’s groundbreaking composers as well. Don’t miss this special evening.