Inspired by Leonard Bernstein, Conductor Keith Lockhart and the Orchestra Will Host a Conducting Competition

The Winner of the Competition Will Have the Opportunity to Conduct the Boston Pops in Bernstein’s Overture to “Candide” During a Boston Pops Concert in Boston’s Symphony Hall on June 7.

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As part of the Boston Pops’ season-long centennial celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, Conductor Keith Lockhart and the orchestra will host a conducting competition for students ages 18-30 who live in or attend school in New England or New York, giving one winner the opportunity to conduct the Boston Pops in Bernstein’s Overture to Candide during the orchestra’s June 7 performance, which also features Broadway star Sutton Foster. Inspired by Mr. Bernstein, the competition gives contestants the same opportunity that he had on July 11, 1941, when he made his professional conducting debut after winning a contest held by the Boston Herald. Sharing the podium with Arthur Fiedler, famed Boston Pops Conductor from 1930 to 1979, Bernstein led the orchestra in Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. It was an auspicious event in the life of the young Leonard Bernstein, who would go on to step in at the last minute to lead the New York Philharmonic for an ailing Bruno Walter in 1943, and take on the title of music director of that ensemble in 1958, among a multitude of other major accomplishments throughout his life as a musician.

Contest Details

To enter, contestants must submit a live performance video (with or without an audience) of themselves conducting an ensemble of any size in a musical piece of their choosing to Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtag #ConductingBernstein. Videos must be shared publicly on the social media sites to be considered for the competition. With their social media post, contestants also need to share the reason, in 150 words or less, why they should be chosen to receive the opportunity of a lifetime to conduct the Boston Pops in Bernstein’s Overture to Candide on Thursday, June 7, during A Broadway Celebration with Sutton Foster.

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Three finalists will be selected to audition with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops performing Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide during a rehearsal at Symphony Hall on Wednesday, June 6. Before or after their audition, the finalists will also take part in a short interview with Boston Pops Director of Artistic Planning Dennis Alves. Contestants will be informed if they’re finalists by Monday, May 28. Transportation to and from Boston and hotel accommodations will be provided for all three finalists.

The contest is open to students ages 18-30 who are legal residents of the United States and live in or attend school in New England or New York State.

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Videos must be submitted by Thursday, May 24, at 10 p.m. EST.

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