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During its 2018 – 2019 season, the National Philharmonic— located in Strathmore, Maryland (part of the greater Washington, D.C. metro area)—is celebrating the centennial of the birth of late composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein, one of the world’s most important musicians, excited audiences with his flamboyant style and dynamic interpretations of many styles of music.

Throughout the year, the orchestra will feature performances associated with Bernstein, including many that feature his own compositions. The season kicked off with a September screening of the classic film On the Waterfront (winner of eight Oscars), featuring actor Marlon Brando and director Elia Kazan. Bernstein’s score for the film was performed along with the remastered film. Upcoming concerts include the Carnegie Hall program the young Bernstein conducted in 1943 as stand-in for an ailing conductor (it made him an instant star); selections from Bernstein’s West Side Story and Candide; Bernstein’s Symphony no. 2 (The Age of Anxiety); and much more.

National Philharmonic music director and conductor Piotr Gajewski was one of three individuals selected as a Leonard Bernstein Conducting Fellow at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (now the Tanglewood Music Center) in the summer of 1983. Gajewski, who remembers Bernstein fondly, says: “He had a larger-than-life personality. … He always lived in the moment and was very generous as an individual and teacher.” Gajewski is passionate about music education, particularly for young people, who, he says, are incredibly open to learning about music. (Young people, age 7 – 17, attend Philharmonic concerts free of charge.) For more information and tickets: 301-581-5100,


If you visit Atlanta this winter, be sure to see the High Museum’s exhibit of the works of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, titled Infinity Mirrors. Billed as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, Kasuma, now 89 years old, will showcase her work in many mediums—including her kaleidoscopic mirror environments—in each of six rooms. There will be sculptures, paintings, works on paper, film excerpts and large-scale installations. All were created from the 1950s to the present. It’s the most comprehensive exhibition by the artist to tour North America in over 20 years.

Kusama first used mirrors for the purpose of transforming the intense repetition in her earlier works into immersive experiences. After living in New York City for some 15 years, she returned to Japan in the mid- 1970s, where she expanded and refined her work with installations that included mirrors. Today, Kusama lives in Tokyo. She describes her experience of viewing repetitive patterns in an immersive setting as “ … returning to infinity, to eternal time and absolute space.”

Organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., the exhibit will be on view from November 18, 2018, to February 17, 2019. 202-633-2773,


Over the next several months, The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art will stage an unprecedented photography exhibition, titled Southbound: Photographs of and About the New South. The show is co-curated by Mark Sloan, director and chief curator of the Halsey Institute, and Mark Long, professor of political science. Both are faculty members at the College of Charleston.

According to the curators, Southbound, which comprises the work of 56 photographers, offers “fresh perspectives for understanding the complex admixture of history, geography and culture of today’s New South during the first decades of the 21st century.” The exhibition will be accompanied by a commissioned video, an interactive digital mapping environment, an extensive stand-alone website and an exhibition catalogue.

Director of public affairs Lizz Biswell says: “This is the biggest show we’ve ever organized. The curators include photographers who are already well established as well as others whom our curators have decided communicate compelling visual narratives about the South.”

The exhibition will debut simultaneously at the Halsey Institute and the City Gallery at Waterfront Park and runs from October 19, 2018, to March 2, 2019. 843-953-4422,

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