Leonard Bernstein to Make Conducting Debut with Austin Symphony

NOTE: This was an April Fool’s joke from April 2013. One that worked quite well. Now don’t go calling the symphony about this non-existent concert!

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein

The Austin Symphony today announced that Leonard Bernstein will be making his debut directing the Austin Symphony in Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 (Unfinished).

Yes, you read that right. Leonard Bernstein.

In collaboration with Samsung Austin, the symphony has created a life-like hologram of the venerable conductor. The hologram will be projected onto the stage of The Long Center and lead the symphony in Mahler’s unfinished, final symphony.

“After seeing Tupac at Coachella last year, I started thinking how we might bring America’s greatest conductor back to the stage,” explains Austin Symphony executive director Anthony Corroa. “And we finally have the technology to do it.”

Longtime subscriber and donor Randall Frost fondly remembers seeing Bernstein conduct one of his signature Young People’s Concerts as a young New Yorker in 1968.

“I am thrilled to get to see my childhood hero one more time,” Frost says. “They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.”

“Well, until now that is. Now they can just remake ‘em like they used to.”

Bernstein will make his debut in next season’s new Tuesday night subscription series, on April 1, 2014. If all goes well, the symphony will work together with Samsung to bring back another legend of the stage, Arturo Toscanini, the following season.

“Audiences are increasingly reluctant to see anything from musicians that are alive,” Corroa says. “That includes conductors. We’re simply giving our audiences what they want.”

Peter Bay, the orchestra’s current music director, could not be reached for comment.

The Austin Lyric Opera, having caught wind of the symphony’s plans, is already in talks with Austin-based National Instruments about creating a Luciano Pavarotti hologram for yet another production of Turandot in a coming season.

Comments & Reviews on ATXclassical

  1. Is this a joke? April fool’s right?

  2. LOL! Best April Fool’s release I’ve seen today!

  3. Cliff Williams says:

    This was somewhat juvenile and certainly disrespectful to the dead.

    • It was certainly juvenile. That’s the whole point of April Fool’s, isn’t it?

      But I fail to see how it was disrespectful to the dead… if anything, it was disrespectful to the living musicians who would have been replaced… 😉

      • Joe Shelby says:

        It is only disrespectful of Bernstein’s very public dislike for the attempts at completing the score for the 10th.

        • Didn’t know that! Thanks for enlightening. Picked it because it seemed fitting with the theme, but obviously should have done more homework!

  4. I love this! I shared it on Facebook and it’s going viral with my musicologist friends!

  5. In fact, Marc and Elissa, this post went so viral that my brother in Vienna, Austria, wrote me almost immediately in astonishment wondering if everyone in my family was planning to attend next April 1, 2014. I was equally astonished and nearly made a total ass of myself by writing Peter Bay to see if I might help in getting the Bernstein clan together in Austin to celebrate the remarkable event. It may have actually roused my father (Leonard’s brother) to make the trip to Texas even though he has vowed never to come here. So as much as I was eventually amused by the April Fool’s aspect, and the well deserved attention to my favorite and only Uncle Lenny, it was a bit on the extreme side and could have been really embarrassing for us all. As I told my partner, imagine if you had written in jest that a Jerry Garcia hologram would lead a Grateful Dead reunion on a classic rock Blog? Talk about unwanted viral attention !

    • I’m amazed and speechless! Thanks for your comment, and for being a good sport and appreciating the gag.

      I really tried to make the article seem outlandish enough so people would see the joke!

  6. Marlene says:

    We all love Lenny so much that we all wanted this to be true, as outlandish as it is! Thanks for the joke, Marc. But, hey, what an idea!

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