New York City Ballet Performs All Robbins, Featuring West Side Story Suite
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The last date listed for New York City Ballet Performs All Robbins was Wednesday February 24, 2010 / 7:30pm.
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*Dances at a Gathering
*Music by Frédéric Chopin
Choreography by Jerome Robbins
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was born in Poland. He was one of the most important innovators for the piano, both in terms of composition and playing style. As a pianist he was mostly self-taught, and since he did not like to give public performances, his substantial reputation was based on a very few concerts. Chopin influenced future composers, especially those of the French and Russian schools. The musical level he attained made possible future piano innovations, such as those of Debussy.
Mr. Robbins also used his piano music for The Concert (1956), In the Night (1970), and Other Dances (1976), all in the repertory of New York City Ballet.
*West Side Story Suite
*Music by Leonard Bernstein
Choreography by Jerome Robbins
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), the gifted and versatile American conductor and composer of symphonic music and Broadway shows, was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. At the age of seventeen he entered Harvard, went on to study at the Curtis Institute, and then to Tanglewood.
Serge Koussevitzky took great interest in his talent and promoted his conducting career, and his great chance came when, on short notice, he substituted brilliantly for Bruno Walter, who had become ill. He performed as a conductor and pianist, and lectured at universities and on television.
His compositions ranged from the classical to the musical stage, and included Mass, Kaddish, West Side Story (again in collaboration with Jerome Robbins), Candide, and The Age of Anxiety. He was the first native-born American to become conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and he conducted around the world.
Stephen Sondheim began his career as a lyricist on Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, which premiered on September 26, 1957 at the Winter Garden Theater, and Jule Styne’s Gypsy, which opened on May 21, 1959 at the Broadway Theatre.
The impressive list of Broadway shows he went on to compose music and write lyrics for includes Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods and Assassins. Sondheim’s Passion, received several Tony awards in 1994.
Early in his life, Stephen Sondheim developed a deep relationship with the Hammerstein family that would prove to have a profound impact on his life and his art. Oscar Hammerstein became his theatrical mentor, instructing his student in the creative process through a series of assignments — writing entire shows using different sources, from plays to original concepts. These lessons were taken seriously by Sondheim, who used them to explore the possibilities in his art form.