Bernstein at 100: SILL’s Music Mondays commemorates Leonard Bernstein’s centennial with a special appearance by his three children

Monday, March 19, at Church of the Palms, Sarasota, and Venice Presbyterian Church in Venice

In a special commemoration of Leonard Bernstein’s centennial year, all three of his children—Jamie Bernstein, Alexander Bernstein, and Nina Bernstein Simmons—will share stories, memories and videos of this 20th-century cultural icon.


(Sarasota, Florida) In May 2017, The Leonard Bernstein Office announced “Leonard Bernstein at 100,” a two-year global celebration of the life and career of the 20th-century cultural giant, featuring more than 2,500 events on six continents. To join in this worldwide homage, Edward Alley and his late wife, June LeBell, asked Bernstein’s daughter, Jamie Bernstein, to appear as a guest in SILL’s popular “Music Mondays” series. Ms. Bernstein agreed to be a guest on March 19.

Now, the good news just got better. Alley recently announced that Jamie Bernstein will be accompanied by her sister, Nina Bernstein Simmons, and brother, Alexander Bernstein, in two appearances on Monday, March 19, at Church of the Palms in Sarasota, and Venice Presbyterian Church in Venice.

Alley explains that, during a recent conversation with Jamie Bernstein, he asked, “on a whim,” if her brother and sister would join her. “They jumped at the chance and here we are,” says Alley. “To have all three of them in Sarasota for Music Mondays is a real coup.”

According to Alley, Leonard Bernstein’s musical legacy can’t be underestimated. “Leonard Bernstein transformed the way people everywhere hear and appreciate music,” he says. “His ‘Young People’s Concerts’ got thousands of children hooked on the love of music in the first place.”

Bernstein’s extensive list of musical accomplishments includes his triumphs as a prolific and versatile composer. “He created works for the most prestigious concert halls and the most popular theaters on Broadway,” says Alley. “As a conductor, he was a force to be reckoned with in the world’s greatest orchestras for nearly half a century.” Alley adds that Bernstein’s legacy lives on in an amazing catalog of more than 500 recordings and filmed performances.

Alley’s role as production manager of the New York Philharmonic Park Concerts led to his first meeting with Bernstein in 1966.  “I had the privilege to work Leonard Bernstein’s first concert in Sheep Meadow for 50,000 music lovers,” he says. Alley later returned as manager of the New York Philharmonic and continued to work with Bernstein over the next several years. “I’ve always been in awe of his tremendous presence and charisma in everything he did. It’s an honor to welcome his children to share their memories of this great man of music with us.”

Although Leonard Bernstein was a prolific artist, he was also a devoted parent. The three Bernstein siblings will share stories, memories and videos of their father, in two sessions on Monday, March 19. The first, hosted by Alley, is at 10:30 a.m. at Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road. The second, hosted by Robert Sherman, is at 3 p.m. at Venice Presbyterian Church, 825 The Rialto. Tickets are $10. To purchase tickets, visit For more information, call 941-365-6404.

Jamie Bernstein is a writer, narrator, broadcaster and filmmaker who has transformed a lifetime of loving music into a career of sharing her knowledge and excitement with others. Inspired by her father’s lifelong impulse to share and teach, Bernstein has devised multiple ways of communicating her own excitement about orchestral music. Beginning 15 years ago with “The Bernstein Beat,” a family concert about her father’s music modeled after his own groundbreaking Young People’s Concerts, Jamie has gone on to design, write and narrate concerts for worldwide audiences of all ages about the music of Mozart, Copland, Stravinsky and many others. Bernstein creates and narrates two educational concerts a year with the New World Symphony in Miami; these engaging, informal “Discovery Concerts” are specially designed to attract audiences of all ages who are less familiar with concertgoing.

Alexander Bernstein is Leonard Bernstein’s second child. He is president of Artful Learning, Inc., and founding chairman of The Leonard Bernstein Center for Learning. Prior to his full-time participation in the center, Bernstein taught for five years at the Packer-Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York, first as a second-grade teacher, then as a teacher of drama for the middle school. He has studied acting, performed professionally, and worked as a production associate at the ABC News Documentary Unit. Bernstein holds a master’s degree in English education from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.

Nina Bernstein Simmons is Leonard Bernstein’s youngest daughter. After several years working as an actress, initially at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, she turned her attention to tending to her late father’s legacy. In the earliest days of the internet, she worked with the Library of Congress on making the Bernstein Archives digitally available to the public. The fruits of that collaboration can be seen at the Library’s American Memory website. From 2000 until 2005, Bernstein worked on a film about her sister, Jamie, and her remarkable journeys around the world bringing Bernstein’s music and teaching legacy to new audiences. “Leonard Bernstein: A Total Embrace” premiered in Germany in December of 2005. Since 2008, Bernstein has been working as a food educator in underserved communities.

Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning’s popular “Music Mondays” series features informal performances and lively conversations with renowned performers and conductors. Monday Music sessions are held on Mondays through March 26. The morning sessions, hosted by Edward Alley, are 10:30 a.m. at Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road. Afternoon sessions, hosted by Dr. Joseph Holt and Robert Sherman, are at 3 p.m. at Venice Presbyterian Church, 825 The Rialto. Tickets are $10 per session. To purchase tickets, visit For more information, call 941-365-6404.


March sessions:

  • Narek Arutyunian(March 5): Now only 25, clarinetist Narek Arutyunian was already an international prize winner at the age of 16. Since then he has performed to vast praise around the world. The Washington Post called him “an artist who reaches passionate depths with seemingly effortless technical prowess and beguiling sensitivity.”
  • Jenny Kim-Godfrey (March 12): Jenny Kim-Godfrey has already endeared herself to audiences with her lovely tone and engaging stage presence. She was featured with the Gloria Musicae Singers (now Choral Artists of Sarasota) on at least two occasions and brings her lovely voice and bubbly personality to Music Mondays for her first solo appearance.
  • Jamie Bernstein, Alexander Bernstein, Nina Bernstein Simmons  (March 19): In a special commemoration of the Leonard Bernstein centennial year, SILL’s Music Mondays is proud to host all three children of Leonard Bernstein. Join us to share in wonderful conversation, stories and memories galore of this great man of music, together with selected video clips.  A Music Mondays first that is not to be missed.
  • Ashu (March 26): Ashu has developed a trailblazing career as the first and only full-time concert saxophone soloist, and he has repeatedly defied conventions by winning major international awards and competitions traditionally won by pianists and violinists. He created such a sensation on his first visit to SILL that he was invited back for a return appearance.


About the Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning

The Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL) is a non-profit organization that offers an expert lecture series to provide information on and discussion of the arts and contemporary global issues. SILL is guided by an all-volunteer board committed to modest pricing and enhanced outreach. Visit