August 25th, 2018, will be the 100th birthday commemoration of my father, the composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. In honor of his lifelong devotion to sharing the joy of music with young people, and to continue my own enthusiastic support of youth ensembles for social change in the U.S., I’ve cooked up a birthday present to my dad which is also a present to our country’s young musicians, and their audiences.
In collaboration with El Sistema USA, the Leonard Bernstein Office, and Hal Leonard, we have developed a special arrangement of the song “Somewhere” from my father’s beloved musical, West Side Story — to be offered at no cost to every Sistema-inspired youth ensemble and chorus across the country.
This arrangement is designed to fit a variety of instrumental youth ensembles as well as optional chorus. The upward-reaching intervals in this anthemic song, combined with Stephen Sondheim’s stirring lyrics, together express our deepest longing for a world in which all its peoples live together in harmony, safety, and peace. No song could be more appropriate for El Sistema-inspired ensembles, with their passion for social justice.
I invite you all to participate in this unique, heartfelt way to wish Leonard Bernstein a happy 100th birthday – and maybe we’ll even live-stream all our performances on the 100th birthday itself! Stay tuned for further news.
Meanwhile, please read the details below, about how you can order the “Somewhere” parts for your ensemble or chorus.
With all my best wishes to our young musicians across the country,
In addition, there is a Choir and Piano arrangement that can stand alone, and is compatible with any of the instrumental arrangements (i.e. a chorus could join a winds/brass/percussion ensemble). But also, any instrumental ensemble can perform its own arrangement independently. For the string orchestra and full orchestra, we will provide string parts of 126.96.36.199.2, (4 first violins, 4 second violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos, and 2 double bass); and for every other part in the band and orchestra arrangements, we will provide 2 copies each per instrument.