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Bearing Witness: The Academy’s Annual Leonard Bernstein Celebration

August 25, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm

$30 – $1100

This evening will find us exploring the powerful human capacity to Bear Witness by experiencing, reflecting upon and finding shared meaning in Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1: Jeremiah. Based on the Old Testament story of the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah includes three movements – 1. Prophecy (warning), 2. Profanation (destruction), and 3. Lamentation (mourning). These movements will serve as inquiry points into Bernstein’s question “Don’t We Never Learn?!” and Stern’s answer – that “As human beings, we have the capacity to transform both individually and collectively.” After experiencing the symphony, we will discuss in small groups how, together, we can “learn ourselves” into a better world and activate the transformational capacities that lead to healing and change. Aaron Stern will facilitate group conversation and be joined by Hakim Bellamy, former Albuquerque Poet Laureate and member of the Academy’s Creative Action Team.

“I’ve chosen Jeremiah because it is at once a universal theme and quite personal to our present world. It reveals, in deeply stirring ways, both our tendencies toward human destructiveness – and our remarkable capacity to see and recognize them. It invites us to Bear Witness as a portal to awakening more fully to what we see in ourselves and our world in hopes that we can be moved to wake up further to these tendencies and take action.” – Aaron Stern

Gathering together as a community, with both strangers and friends, we will bear witness to one of Bernstein’s earliest masterpieces. Dinner will be provided by Dig & Serve. A historic performance of the symphony by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Bernstein, will be presented via video projection at the Seton Castle.

We will close the evening with a powerful re-iteration of the third movement, “Lamentations,” performed live by Apprentice Artist Katherine DeYoung from the Santa Fe Opera.

The design of this evening draws from the Academy’s Creative Action Team work – CAT – a team of seasoned creative practitioners who design and facilitate joyful participatory processes and creative engagements around critical topics. Developed by Academy Faculty and led by Aaron Stern, CAT explores, practices and develops participatory poetic forms that unearth the stories we live by and render a given group’s poetic imagination and aspiration.

2018 marked both the Academy for the Love of Learning’s 20th anniversary and the centennial of the birth of the 20th-century musical giant Leonard Bernstein. On what would have been Bernstein’s 101st birthday in 2019 we close an arc of reflection and celebrate the emergence of a next phase of the Academy’s work.

The Academy shares a deep history with Leonard Bernstein, and ultimately was birthed from an intense collaboration between Bernstein and Academy Founder and President Aaron Stern during the final decade of Bernstein’s life. Stern, then Dean of the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, had a profound discovery about learning while observing how music students learned music. From that discovery, Stern recognized that a restoration of the human capacity to learn was essential not only to the revitalization of music, but all of education and more generally western culture itself. From this, Stern began to develop a body of work, pedagogy and learning methodologies that are now at the center of the Academy for the Love of Learning.

Concert Livestream
Bearing Witness will be recorded and broadcast live through Livestream. For those of you that will not be able to join us in-person, a live viewing of the concert will be available here.

Ticket and Seating Information
All tickets include appetizers, a shared meal, desert and coffee, and beverages.

Ticket prices vary according to seating selection. As this event is designed to invite the spirit of community conversation, seating will be randomly assigned unless otherwise requested. Please note if you would like to be seated with a specific person(s) at your table in note section of ticket checkout.
For all tickets seating options are either a low table with floor cushions or a dining table with six regular chairs. Please also list any seating and accessibility requirements and/or dietary restrictions in note section of ticket checkout.


August 25, 2019
6:00 pm - 9:30 pm
$30 – $1100
Event Category:


Academy for the Love of Learning
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Academy for the Love of Learning
133 Seton Village Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508 United States
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