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thumb_BSO-formal-sideangle-webThe season finale of the Bryan Symphony Orchestra at Tennessee Tech University is dominated by a single composer, 20th century American master Leonard Bernstein.

The rare focus on one composer is a tribute to Bernstein, whose body of work is amazingly vast.

"The appeal of Bernstein is that his work encompasses so many styles," says BSO Music Director Dan Allcott. "He comes across as many different composers – as is the case with our April concert of some of his Broadway, operatic and choral masterpieces."

The concert begins at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 17, in TTU's Wattenbarger Auditorium. Tickets are $30 for adults, $26 for seniors 65 and up, and $8 for students. Call 931-525-2633 for reservations. The performance is sponsored by Luna & Birdwell Investment Group and Bob and Gail Luna. This project is also funded in part under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Bernstein, a 20th century American master, was multifaceted. He wrote, he played concert piano, he conducted – and it was his conducting that made him a celebrity, because early in his career, he embraced the new medium of television. As the long-time music director of the New York Philharmonic, Bernstein was among the first American conductors to be seen around the world, and cameras loved him for his showy style.

"As a conductor," says Allcott, " I didn't always agree with Bernstein's interpretations and styles, but I love his music. His work is not a museum, but if it were, I'd be the tour guide. I'm celebrating Bernstein the composer, and how the concert hall caught up with him."

A complicated, brilliant man, Bernstein secured his reputation as a composer with the success of his work in musical theater, particularly his score for "West Side Story." But he yearned for a different legacy – to be remembered as the composer of classical symphonic music.

It wasn't to be. To this day, 21 years after his death, Bernstein's Broadway music still overshadows his classical compositions -- as does the flashy, domineering stance onstage that the world came to love.

The BSO's April 17 program begins with the overture to the Bernstein operetta "Candide" and dance episodes from his Broadway musical "On the Town." The performance also includes two choral works, the reverent "Chichester Psalms" and another "Candide" selection, "Make Our Garden Grow," both of which feature the Cookeville Mastersingers and Tech Chorale, directed by TTU faculty member Craig Zamer.

Audience members from throughout the Upper Cumberland can learn more about the concert by tuning in to "BSO Backstage" on public television station WCTE-TV, Ch. 22 (Charter cable channel 10). An original WCTE production hosted by Becky Magura with guests Allcott and Gail Luna, executive director of the Bryan Symphony Orchestra Association, the program broadcasts at 9:30 p.m., Thursday, April 7; at 1 p.m., Sunday, April 10; and at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, April 14.

Audience members in the Cumberland County area can attend a preview luncheon beginning at 11 a.m., Wednesday, April 13, at the Palace Theater on Main Street in Crossville. Cost is $10 and payable at the door. Call 931-484-6133 for reservations by Monday, April 11.

The final Symphony Social of the season is set for 7-9 p.m., Friday, April 15, at the home of Walter Derryberry. A catered event, the evening will also include musical entertainment and an informal talk by Allcott. Admission is $20 and payable at the door, but reservations should be made by Monday, April 11, by calling 931-525-2633.

On the day of the concert, Sunday, April 17, TTU music faculty member Yoomi Paick will give a free preview lecture at 2 p.m. in Room 223 of the Bryan Fine Arts Building. The concert itself begins at 3 p.m. A post-performance reception takes place in the lobby, followed by dinner at Mauricio's Italian Restaurant near the TTU campus, 232 N. Peachtree Ave. Call 931-525-2633 for dinner reservations by Friday, April 15.

The Bryan Symphony Orchestra, the only professional symphony in a rural area of Tennessee, is a member of the "Made in America" consortium honored in 2010 by the League of American Orchestras with its Gold Baton Award. Wattenbarger Auditorium is the concert hall of TTU's Bryan Fine Arts Building, located at 1150 N. Dixie Ave., in Cookeville. Learn more about the BSO by visiting