In honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of American composer/conductor/pianist Leonard Bernstein, the Ravinia Festival on Tuesday detailed plans for a two-season celebration of his life and legacy, beginning in 2018.

Included in the celebration will be the opening in 2019 of the Ravinia Music Box “experience center,” a new timed gallery space/theater on the festival grounds that will debut with an exhibit of mementos from Bernstein’s personal life and career. The new space, which will be situated near the north lawn, will also feature a 65-seat immersive theater to complement the gallery exhibit.

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In a prepared statement, Ravinia president and CEO Welz Kauffman said: “There aren’t enough hyphens to string together all of Bernstein’s titles and accomplishments, and Ravinia is hoping to present a well-rounded remembrance of both the common man and the superstar artist who shaped so much of our musical tastes and understanding. … He lived life large, and his legacy merits global celebration.”

Also announced is the appointment of Bernstein protégé/conductor Marin Alsop as Ravinia’s first-ever musical curator. Among her schedule will be the premiere of Bernstein’s “MASS.”

Another highlight from the two-year celebration is a “New Young People’s Concert,” designed by Jamie Bernstein and featuring her father’s music for soloists and ensembles and Chicago Public Schools students in Ravinia’s education programs, the announcement stated.

The two-year musical homage will also include live orchestra accompaniment to Bernstein’s iconic films “West Side Story” and “On the Waterfront” (concert dates have yet to be determined). A full music program featuring some of Bernstein’s greatest works performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and guest artists is also slated for 2018.

For full details about the centennial celebration, including concerts at the Steans Music Institute, visit

An artist’s rendering of the Ravinia Music Box immersive theater and gallery space, slated to open at the Highland Park venue in 2019. | SUPPLIED PHOTO