Remembering Bernstein

Lara ‘For Lenny’ Live: A Tribute to Bernstein the Composer and Collaborator (Videos)

The Anniversaries are very intimate, personal, miniature pieces that focus on [Leonard Bernstein’s] inner life — his private self — the people that were closest to him in the world: his family, his friends, and his musical colleagues and collaborators.

Pianist Lara Downes Performs ‘Anniversaries’ By, and For, Leonard Bernstein

Meet award-winning pianist Lara Downes, who performed music written and inspired by Leonard Bernstein, live at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio on June 4, 2018. Her 2017 intimate centennial tribute to Bernstein, “For Lenny,” was awarded the 2017 Classical Recording Foundation Award and debuted in the Billboard Top 20. The album features Bernstein’s Anniversaries for Piano and new music by living composers influenced by Bernstein, performed by Downes and guest artists.

“For Lenny,” says Downes in a new video for Classical.org, was inspired by Bernstein, the composer and collaborator:

The heart of who Leonard Bernstein is to me has so much to do with collaboration. He was an intensely collaborative artist: the writers, the lyricists… And he was so curious. Curious people are collaborative: because you always want to know more and discover new things, and that leads you to reach out.

Enjoy two of our favorite clips from her live performance, and this new, behind-the-scenes video of Downes talking about why she thanks Bernstein daily.

Anniversaries for Piano, by Leonard Bernstein


Downes performs three of Bernstein’s Anniversaries for Piano: Anniversary for Lukas Foss, Anniversary for Aaron Copland, and Anniversary for Stephen Sondheim.

  • Anniversary for Lukas Foss (Leonard Bernstein)
  • Anniversary for Aaron Copland (Leonard Bernstein)
  • Anniversary for Stephen Sondheim (Leonard Bernstein)

Four Anniversaries ‘For Lenny’

Lara performs a number of notable tracks from her album, including Homage/for Lenny (Donal Fox), Another Time/for Lenny (Eve Beglarian), Exuberance/for Lenny (Shulamit Ran), and a new addition to “For Lenny” — not available on the album — movement two from Julian Wachner’s piano sonata.

  • Homage/for Lenny (Donal Fox)
  • Another Time/for Lenny (Eve Beglarian)
  • Exuberance/for Lenny (Shulamit Ran)
  • Sonata for Piano, Movement II (Julian Wachner)

Lara Downes: Why I Love Lenny


In this exclusive video for Classical.org, Lara Downes talks about the inspiration behind her groundbreaking album, revealing why she launched her “For Lenny” project, what makes Bernstein’s “intimate” Anniversaries for Piano different from his other music, and the role of collaboration in Bernstein’s music and her ongoing work as a pianist.

More Bernstein at 100


Watch more of Lara Downes: Live at Fraser via WGBH’s FrontRow Boston.

Learn more about Bernstein’s Anniversaries for Piano.

Hear and learn more about “For Lenny” on LaraDownes.com.

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