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World Premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s “Music for String Quartet”

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Join us for a benefit concert to feature the world premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s “Music for String Quartet” this fall at the Linde Center at Tanglewood. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives.

The concert also will include Bernstein’s rarely performed “Piano Trio” (for violin, cello and piano), “Elegies” for violin and viola by Bernstein’s close friend and colleague Aaron Copland, Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor K. 478, and Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat, op. 44.

Bernstein wrote “Music for String Quartet” in 1936 at the age of 18. He asked an established quartet of young musicians in the Boston area to play through the piece, then gave the manuscript to the group’s first violinist Stanley Benson, who later served as a long-time violinist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Benson and his wife Clara, also a violinist, held onto the piece for more than 50 years, but it has never been performed publicly.

The Bernstein family’s publishing company, Amberson, has authorized this world premiere performance of the piece.  “Elegies” by Aaron Copland is an unpublished work performed by special permission of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., copyright owner and successor to Aaron Copland.

Bernstein’s “Music for String Quartet” will be performed by a stellar ensemble of musicians: Malcolm Lowe, violinist and recently retired concertmaster of the BSO; Natalie Rose Kress, a Washington, D.C.-based violinist currently studying at The Juilliard School; violist Daniel Kim, who holds the Lois and Harlan Anderson chair at the BSO; Ronald Feldman, retired BSO cellist who now is music director of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra in Boston and the Berkshire Symphony at Williams College; and pianist Melvin Chen, who is Deputy Dean of the Yale Music School and director of Yale’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

Retired BSO Librarian John Perkel arranged to have the piece premiered as the centerpiece of the November 6, 2021 concert.  He said: “Ever since the approach of the Leonard Bernstein Centennial, I was determined to make this amazing event a reality. When I finally received the authorization to perform the Bernstein string quartet, I went into action and engaged these fine musicians and chose repertoire closely associated with Bernstein.”

According to Library Director Wendy Pearson, “We are delighted to host this world premiere as a benefit to fund cultural programming and community events for the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives.”

The concert will be held at Studio E in Tanglewood’s Linde Center and will be followed by a dessert reception at the adjacent Cindy’s Café.