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Songs for Lenny: A Leonard Bernstein Celebration

Featuring Lara Downes, Thomas Hampson, Ailyn Perez, J’Nai Bridges and Theo Bleckmann

Originally Aired: Sunday, January 21, 2018

Leonard Bernstein


In honor of the Leonard Bernstein centennial, WQXR is bringing together some of today’s top singers with pianist Lara Downes for a night of fond memories and extraordinary music. 

Opera stars Thomas Hampson, Ailyn Perez and J’Nai Bridges, as well as vocalist Theo Bleckmann will each perform one of their favorite Bernstein songs. The concert will also feature music from Lara Downes’s Sony Classical debut album For Lenny (available February 9), including world premieres by Stephen Schwartz and more. 

The performances and interviews will offer an intimate portrait of Bernstein the man, full of boundless curiosity and a fervent belief in the power of music to change our world for the better.  Hosted by WQXR’s Elliott Forrest.


→ Video Webcast

You can also watch our live video stream


The program includes: 

Music I Heard With You (from Songfest)

Take Care Of This House (from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue)

I Hate Music

A Simple Song (from Mass)

Some Other Time


Says Lara Downes: “Of all the many musicians who inspire me, it’s Leonard Bernstein who turns up, more or less every day, by my side, over my shoulder, reminding me of what a musician can be. Of what music can do in this world – how it can reach and teach and make things happen.”

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