Brownstein: Choirs come together for Bernstein, and for peace

By Bill Brownstein - Montreal Gazette
May 28, 2019

The choirs of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim and St. Matthias Anglican Church will join forces for the first time at a tribute to Leonard Bernstein — a sign of religious unity in a time of division.

Congregation Shaar Hashomayim and St. Matthias Anglican Church are two of the oldest religious institutions in the city, dating back, respectively, to 1846 and 1875. They boast among the most renowned choirs in the land. They are across the street from one another, mere steps away, in Westmount. Yet for the first time in their histories, their choirs will be joining forces on stage, in a tribute to the music of legendary maestro and composer Leonard Bernstein.

Tonight, Tonight!, Wednesday’s concert at Shaar Hashomayim marking the recent centenary of the late Bernstein’s birth, will be hosted by Leonard’s daughter Jamie Bernstein — who wrote the memoir Famous Father Girl about her dad — and will feature such acclaimed vocalists as Leah Edwards, Dimitri Pittas and Shaar Hashomayim cantor Gideon Zelermyer. Boris Brott, a former assistant conductor to Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic, and Roï Azoulay will lead the Orchestre classique de Montréal and Shaar Hashomayim and St. Matthias choirs through a repertoire of everything from West Side Story to Candide, Mahler to Copland.

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Jamie Bernstein