In the 1970's, magazine ads for a glamorous furrier posed the question, "What becomes a legend most?" I'm sure Ward Stare asked himself the same question when he decided to have the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra join the worldwide celebrations for the 100th birthday of a true legend, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990). How to sum up such a uniquely versatile figure — conductor; composer for concert halls, Broadway, and Hollywood; pianist; TV personality; educator — in one concert? You'll have a partial answer this week, when Stare leads the RPO's Bernstein Centennial Celebration. It focuses on one of Bernstein's major concert works: "Age of Anxiety," a 1949 symphony for piano and orchestra, with longtime RPO collaborator Misha Dichter as the soloist. Like much of Bernstein's concert music, "The Age of Anxiety" was derided for many years, but it has a unique and haunting profile. "The Age of Anxiety" is preceded by Samuel Barber's "Second Essay," and followed by Dmitri Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony — another offbeat post-WWII work, by a composer for whom Bernstein had a special affinity. Look for a review of this concert online Friday at rochestercitynewspaper.com.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will perform a "Bernstein Centennial Celebration" Thursday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, March 3, at 8 p.m. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs Street. $24-$104. 454-2100; rpo.org.