Kennedy Center’s 50th-anniversary events: commissions, “Concert of Remembrance,” Bernstein’s “Mass”

Posted on: April 7, 2021

President John F. Kennedy views the model of the National Cultural Center with architect Edward Durell Stone, right, and founding Chairman Roger L. Stevens, far left. Photo courtesy of The Kennedy Center

“The Kennedy Center is planning an extended celebration of its 50th anniversary in its 2021-2022 season, featuring new commissions by Philip Glass and Esperanza Spalding, year-long artist residencies by the Roots and Robert Glasper … and a new outdoor bronze statue of JFK,” writes Peggy McGlone in Tuesday’s (4/6) Washington Post. “The festivities will end with a restaging of Leonard Bernstein’s theatrical ‘Mass,’ which opened the center on Sept. 8, 1971.… The schedule includes the Washington National Opera’s ‘Written in Stone,’ a collection of four commissions that ‘celebrate the diversity and acknowledge the struggles’ of America…. On Sept. 10, the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Gianandrea Noseda, will present a ‘Concert of Remembrance’ to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the toll of Covid-19…. The Kennedy Center will present some 35 commissions during the year, including … pieces by Joan Tower, Angélica Negrón and James Lee III…. ‘Next year is really a transition year,’ Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter said. ‘We … have taken this last year to really dive in more deeply … about what truly represents the Kennedy Center today and into the future.’ ”