Pianist Lara Downes Celebrates Leonard Bernstein With New Album and Concert

A handful of opera stars and other guest artists will join pianist Lara Downes for a night of music in honor of the Leonard Bernstein centennial. The January 21 concert, titled Songs for Lenny, will be webcast live from The Greene Space at WQXR beginning at 7PM. Opera stars Thomas Hampson, Ailyn Pérez, and J’Nai Bridges, as well as composer and vocalist Theo Bleckmann, will each perform a personal favorite song from the Bernstein repertoire. Watch the exclusive video above to see the American baritone and Downes perform “A Simple Song” from Bernstein’s Mass.

The concert is inspired by Downes’ upcoming tribute album, For Lenny, released February 9 on Sony Classical. The recording centers around Bernstein’s Anniversaries for Piano, musical portraits he composed for his family and friends; it also features works dedicated to Bernstein by American composers including Stephen Sondheim, John Corigliano, Stephen Schwartz, and Ned Rorem …