2018 Season: Bernstein at 100

The 6th Annual Tucson Desert Song Festival Presents
“Bernstein at 100”
A Celebration of the Life and Music of Leonard Bernstein
January 16 – February 4, 2018
Tucson, Arizona

George Hanson, Festival Director
Jamie Bernstein, Artist-in-Residence
Dr. Matthew Mugmon, Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence



The Tucson Desert Song Festival (TDSF) will celebrate the life and music of Leonard Bernstein, the iconic conductor, composer, pianist and educator, from January 17 through February 4th, 2018, in Tucson, Arizona. Over a period of eighteen days, TDSF, in partnership with Tucson’s leading arts organizations, will present 30 events honoring Bernstein at 100. The festival will provide a rich and unusual context in which to experience Bernstein’s work.

Leonard Bernstein’s compositions span classical, Broadway, jazz and pop music idioms with a singularly American voice. TDSF Director George Hanson has curated a festival that draws from every aspect of Bernstein’s compositional range, from large to intimate works, featuring, films, lectures, symposiums and master classes. Highlights include a fully-staged production of Bernstein’s comic operetta Candide (in partnership with Arizona Opera) ; Trouble in Tahiti (in partnership with the Tucson Symphony) featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and bass-baritone Kelly Markgraf; Mass, in a new reduced version (in partnership with True Concord Voices & Orchestra) featuring Jubilant Sykes; and the “Kaddish” symphony, narrated by Jamie Bernstein.

George Hanson, a former assistant to Bernstein states, “Leonard Bernstein is one of America’s most important and influential musicians. His impact is felt by all who were alive during his glorious career; and is still felt today even by those too young to recall his time on earth. Nowhere else in the world, as far as we know, can a listener experience the full spectrum of Bernstein’s genius in such a short period of time, and in such a beautiful place as Tucson.”

Jamie Bernstein, narrator, writer and broadcaster, will be TDSF’s Artist-in-Residence, sharing insights and memories of her father and his work. Dr. Matthew Mugmon, the New York Philharmonic’s Leonard Bernstein Scholar, will also be in residence. Ms. Bernstein and Dr. Mugmon will provide context to help understand the complex life and career of Leonard Bernstein and will participate in symposia, Leonard Bernstein’s Impact on American Music, among them.

Tucson Desert Song Festival is presented in partnership with Arizona Early Music Society, Arizona Opera, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, Ballet Tucson, New York Festival of Song, True Concord Voices & Orchestra, Tucson Guitar Society, Tucson International Jewish Film Festival, Tucson Jazz Festival, Tucson Symphony, UA Fred Fox School of Music, and UA Presents.

Tucson Desert Song Festival Sponsors