Walter Hussey remembered in Chichester symposium

Walter and Lenny
Walter and Lenny

Walter Hussey and his Chichester Psalms are the subjects of an afternoon symposium on April 20 at Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery.

The session is being oganised by the Bernstein in Chichester festival and supported by the University of Chichester’s department of English, creative writing, history and politics.

Bernstein in Chichester co-organiser Edward Milward-Oliver said: “In July 1965, Leonard Bernstein and his family visited Chichester to attend the first performance in the Cathedral of his Chichester Psalms, a sacred commission by Dean Walter Hussey. It has since become one of the American composer’s most frequently-performed and popular works – jazzy and contemporary, yet accessible, a remarkable balancing of serious and popular music.

“Hussey was the most significant patron of the arts for the English churches in the 20th century. But who was he? What do we know about him as an individual? Peter Webster, whose biography of Walter Hussey was published last year, will place Hussey in his historical context and explore what drove his commitment to contemporary arts.

“The noted American authority Paul Laird, Professor of Musicology at the University of Kansas School of Music, will then draw on Bernstein’s sketches, notes, drafts and scores to examine the musical sources of Chichester Psalms.”

Dr Laird said: “I fell in love with the music from West Side Story when I was perhaps 15 years old. But the event that transfixed me was when I had the opportunity to perform Chichester Psalms when I was 17.

“The work has a delightful combination of beautiful melodies and interesting rhythms—certainly two of the glories of Bernstein’s music.”

For further information about the symposium: www.bernsteinchichester.uk Tickets: £10 (students £9, friends £8.50) from Pallant House Gallery on 01243 774557 or in person.

For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2

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