On Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 2:30 p.m., the City of Coronado’s John D. Spreckels Center will be streaming a free lecture on, “Music and Religion in the Lives of Five Great Composers: Bernstein,” in partnership with UC San Diego’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Richard Wagner’s notorious anti-Semitic screed Das Judenthum in der Musik (Judaism in Music, 1850) assailed Jews as an alien and corrupting presence in German culture. In fact, the past 200 years of Western classical music are inconceivable without the interaction of Judaism and Christianity. European anti-Semitism served as the frame in which to understand the struggles and contributions of Felix Mendelssohn and Gustav Mahler. The ultra-modernist Arnold Schoenberg bridges Europe and America, as he fled Nazism in 1934 and moved to the U.S., where Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein would play a crucial role in defining the country’s musical identity.

This lecture will focus on Leonard Bernstein (1918-90) who first came to prominence as guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic in 1943, when Bruno Walter had to cancel on short notice. He later became the Phil’s principal conductor, a post he used to promote the music of unjustly neglected composers like Mahler and Charles Ives. His innovative Young People’s Concerts introduced a national audience to classical music via the medium of television. He himself became a leading composer of Broadway musicals, as well as serious concert music, including a controversial Mass. The lecture will focus on his remarkable achievements as a conductor, composer, pianist, and educator.

This lecture features Walter Aaron Clark, a Distinguished Professor of Musicology at UC Riverside, where he is founder/director of the Center for Iberian and Latin American Music.

To sign up or receive additional information, stop by the Spreckels Center at 1019 Seventh Street, call 619-522-7343, or visit online at www.coronado.ca.us/spreckels.

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