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Leonard Bernstein playing a shofar during rehearsal for Mass at the Kennedy Center, September 1971. Photo credit: Library of Congress, Music Division.

Legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein will be celebrated with a Texas-style centennial staging of “MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers” at The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas on June 29 - 30. This production is part of Bernstein100Austin, a season-long celebration of community events honoring the life and legacy of Leonard Bernstein to mark his 100th birthday. Led by maestro Peter Bay, musical director and conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the performances will come to life in an epic production of 300 cast and crew members.

The provocative and compelling story behind Bernstein’s “MASS” began when it was commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the 1971 opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. At that world premiere, the show addressed progress, peace and the role of religion in civic life amidst the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. The Austin production of “MASS” will honor the creative spirit of Bernstein’s original production while transforming The Long Center into a unique and engaging music and theatrical experience.

The Austin performances of Bernstein’s “MASS” are presented in partnership with Austin’s performing arts community as a showcase of the maturity and vibrancy of the city’s cultural offerings. Featured performers include GRAMMY-nominated singer Jubilant Sykes as the Celebrant, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, GRAMMY-winning choral group Conspirare with Craig Hella Johnson, Austin Opera, members of Ballet Austin, The University of Texas Marching Band, The African Children’s Choir, Panoramic Voices, The Austin Children’s Choir, guitarist Mitch Watkins, and other surprise guests.

KMFA is the proud media sponsor of Bernstein100Austin's "MASS." We will present a three part radio documentary series on Leonard Bernstein and his music leading up to the performances. Find out more here.