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"Does This Music Look Like the New World to You?" Bernstein, Dvořák and American Music

  • Bohemian National Hall 321 East 73rd Street New York, NY, 10021 United States (map)

Photo Credit: New York Philharmonic Archives

Photo Credit: Peter Freed

 Antonín Dvořák, circa 1893.  DAHA Archive. 

Antonín Dvořák, circa 1893.  DAHA Archive. 

Leonard Bernstein was both a great champion of the "New World" Symphony, and in some ways, one of its harshest critics.  In a series of performances, lectures and both musical and speech recordings over the years he advanced the notion that the symphony was not really "American" in any way.  Further, echoing Brahms, he states that despite the composer's use of beautiful melodies, the work does not have the requisite development of themes representative of the greatest symphonies.  This talk, presented by noted musicologist Michael Beckerman, looks closely at Bernstein's arguments and their context, takes them on their own terms, and tests their main premises.

Presented by the Dvořák American Heritage Association in celebration of the New York Philharmonic's "New World Initiative" (2016-17) and the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth.  Michael Beckerman is Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Music at New York University and Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic for the 2017-18 season, his second year in the position.  He is Vice President of DAHA.

Pay at door.  General admission: $20; Students, Seniors & Czech Center Members $10.

Michael Beckerman is Carroll and Milton Petrie Chair and Collegiate Professor of Music at New York University and The Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic for the 2017-18 season, serving in that position for the second year. He is author of New Worlds of Dvořák (W.W. Norton, 2003), Dvořák and His World (Princeton University Press, 1993), Janáček and His World (Princeton University Press, 2004), Janáček as Theorist (Pendragon Press, 1994), and Martinů’s Mysterious Accident. He is a recipient of Dvořák and Janáček Medals from the Czech Ministry of Culture, and is also a Laureate of the Czech Music Council; he has twice received the Deems Taylor Award. He received an honorary doctorate from Palacký University in the Czech Republic in 2015.