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A WEST SIDE STORY COMPANION

Created in partnership with

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In celebration of Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary season, the Weill Music Institute (WMI) is launching The Somewhere Project, a citywide exploration of West Side Story. This free course is the companion piece to that project — taking you through the many ins and outs of the music, dance, staging, and story of West Side Story to inspire your own great work of art.

Learn the origins of this great tale and the impact it’s had on the world, as well as an in depth look at the social issues that inspired the story.

Hear from Jamie Bernstein, Leonard Bernstein's daughter, as well as Grammy-winning conductor Marin Alsop, Tony-winning music director Leslie Stifelman, former student of Jerome Robbins Julio Monge, and other experts on what made West Side Story so unique.


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Carnegie Hall

Weill Music Institute

Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute produces an extraordinary range of music education and community programs each season that extend far outside the physical walls of our concert halls. These programs will reach half a million people in New York City, across the US, and around the globe during the 2015–2016 season. Learn more at carnegiehall.org/weillmusicinstitute

More About Carnegie Hall
Less About Carnegie Hall

Featuring Interviews + Insights From…

  • Marin alsop gallery 3 copy bw
    Marin Alsop
  • Julio
    Julio Monge
  • Jamie bw
    Jamie Bernstein
  • Dehnert copy
    Amanda Dehnert
  • Leslie stifelman
    Leslie Stifelman
  • Charles burchell 01
    Charles Burchell
  • Melissa mahon short hair copy
    Melissa Rae Mahon
  • Tom cabinnis neon%e2%80%94blackandwhite
    Thomas Cabaniss

Course Outline

  1. Section 1

    Prologue

  2. Section 2

    Origins

  3. Section 3

    Impact

  4. Section 4

    Music

  5. Section 5

    Performance

  6. Section 6

    Dance

  7. Section 7

    Drama

  8. Section 8

    Conclusion

MORE INFORMATION

Who is this course for?

Anyone with an interest in West Side Story or music theatre history more generally.

What are the requirements?

There are no requirements, though if you aren't familiar with the show, we recommend watching the 1961 film version of the musical, West Side Story.

How long does it take?

You can get through the videos and readings in this course in 2-3 hours. The course also features activities and writing prompts, which can take as little or much time as you're willing to commit to them.

What can I expect to get from this course?

An informed understanding of the history, story, music, dance, structure, and legacy of West Side Story from experts involved in its production, and a new perspective on the way the musical's lessons can be applied to art today.

About The Somewhere Project

In celebration of Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary season, the Weill Music Institute (WMI) is launching The Somewhere Project, a citywide exploration of West Side Story. This course is the companion piece to that project — taking you through the many ins-and-outs of the music, dance, staging and story of West Side Story to inspire your own great work of art. 

Experiencing West Side Story as a celebration of community and music will encourage artists and audiences to consider the work’s timeless themes, inviting them to embrace the vision of New York City as a “place for us.”

The Somewhere Project is made possible, in part, by generous support from the Howard Gilman Foundation and Martha and Bob Lipp.

Public support is provided by Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.

Steinway is the Official Piano of the Weill Music Institute.

Howard Gilman Foundation