Schneider give talk on ‘West Side Story’ Wednesday

Published Jun 21, 2018 at 4:00pm

LEONARDSVILLE — Maestro Charles Schneider, a long-time central New York resident who has musically directed numerous performances of “West Side Story” and whom Leonard Bernstein selected as music director for a 1960s revival of that show, will give an hour-long informal talk about the musical at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 27 at First Brookfield Seventh Day Baptist Church on Huey Road.

While recounting his experiences with Bernstein and others, Schneider will punctuate his talk with musical examples on keyboard while being accompanied by three musical colleagues: sopranos Colby Thomas and Cindy Donaldson and tenor Nicholas Abounader.

Schneider has worked with numerous musical organizations during his years in central New York. He has served as music director for seven productions of West Side Story, beginning in his twenties with national tours of the show in 1965 and 1967.  

During the highly anticipated three-month, 89-performance run of the show at Lincoln Center in 1968, Schneider met weekly for lunches with Bernstein to talk about musical aspects of the production and discuss Bernstein’s creative process in composing this iconic work.  

Bernstein’s centennial is being celebrated this year with thousands of performances worldwide. Through his talk, Schneider hopes to enhance the listening experiences of those who will be attend performances of West Side Story at the Glimmerglass Festival this summer or hearing Bernstein’s works elsewhere during the year. 

The talk is presented as a gift to the community by the Oneonta-based Catskill Conservatory in association with the artist residency program at the Horned Dorset Colony in Leonardsville and is free.  While no reservations are required, those wishing to follow the talk with dinner at the nearby Horned Dorset Inn should call the restaurant at 315-855-7898 to reserve in advance.  

The Conservatory also will present the program in Oneonta on Friday, June 30, and on Wednesday, July 4. at the Windfall Dutch Barn in Salt Springville. Additional presentations are planned by the Clinton Symphony Orchestra on July 1 and later in the year in Schenectady and Binghamton. For more information, contact the Conservatory at 607-436-3419.