Reflections: Bernstein100Austin Discussion Series


March 27, 2018 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Explore the history of the turbulent times that provided fodder for Leonard Bernstein's MASS.

Program Details

With its influence from the Civil Rights movement and Vietnam War, MASS was borne in a time of social strife. The theme of finding hope, which is embedded throughout the work, can be considered Bernstein’s own personal hope of navigating the troubled world he saw around him.  

Join us for a moderated discussion that will speak to the world events at the time MASS was written and explore the ongoing legacies of those times.

This program is presented in partnership by the Bullock Texas State History Museum and Bernstein100Austin.

The Bullock Museum is owned and operated by the State of Texas through the State Preservation Board. Additional support of exhibitions and programs is provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.

About the Panelists

Leonard N. Moore, Ph.D. is currently the Interim Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement and the George Littlefield Professor of American History at The University of Texas at Austin. He is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, earning his B.A. from Jackson State University in 1993 and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1998. He was a history professor at Louisiana State University from 1998-2007, where he also directed the African and African American Studies Program and the Pre-Doctoral Scholar’s Institute. He has been at The University of Texas at Austin since 2007. At UT Austin he teaches a class on the black power movement and a signature course titled Race in the Age of Trump. In the fall semester he teaches more than 1,000 students across both courses. His innovative, unique, and engaging teaching style were featured as a cover story in the September/October 2015 edition of the Alcalde, the alumni magazine of UT Austin, and parents, alumni, and community members often visit his classes after reading the article. He has received a number of teaching awards including the Jean Holloway Award for Excellence in Teaching and the John Warfield Teaching Award. Dr. Moore also directs study abroad programs in Beijing and Cape Town, and both programs have become national models for diversifying global education. He is the author of two books on black politics and his third book, The Defeat of Black Power: Civil Rights and the National Black Political Convention of 1972, will be published in early 2018. He is currently working on a biography of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the controversial pastor, congressman, and civil rights leader. Dr. Moore is also active in the Austin community and currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the Austin Area Urban League.

J. Pittman McGehee, D.D. is an Episcopal priest and Jungian analyst in private practice in Austin, Texas. He is widely known as a lecturer and educator in the field of psychology and religion, as well as a published poet and essayist. He is the author of The Invisible Church: Finding Spirituality Where You Are (Praeger Press, 2008), Raising Lazarus: The Science of Healing the Soul (2009), Words Made Flesh, and The Paradox of Love.

Gregory Eaton is the Organist/Choirmaster at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, in Austin, where he has been since November of 2014. He conducts the parish’s two vocal choirs and handbell choir, and provides music for all Sunday services and other special events. He is also the director of the Damenchor (women’s choir) of the Austin Saengerrunde (German singing society).  Prior to Austin, Gregory was in New York, where he served as lecturer in Church Music at the General Theological Seminary for 24 years, concurrent with his position as director of music at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church for 21 years.

About MASS

Leonard Bernstein was asked by Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy to compose a piece for the 1971 inauguration of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  The creation from this effort was MASS:  A Theater Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers. Borne from a very volatile time in American history amidst a strong anti-war sentiment following the Vietnam War, MASS was a musical representation of a younger culture seeking a new direction in their government and spiritual direction.

With a fascinating reflection of the confusion and cultural instability of the 1970s, MASS uses an unorthodox mixture of musical genres, from rock and jazz to Broadway and classical.  Drawn from Bernstein's own personal exploration of the Jewish and Catholic traditions, the depiction of interfaith influences in MASS was yet another touchstone of controversy when it premiered. Read more from Bernstein100Austin.