Considering Bernstein at 100

Posted on: August 24, 2018

As hundreds of music organizations around the world celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s centennial on Saturday, August 25, the New York Times enlists five of its columnists to examine “what made the protean Bernstein, born 100 years ago, one of the most indelible figures in the history of the arts.” Joshua Barone writes about the “brash energy” of Bernstein’s music theater and ballet scores to West Side Story, Fancy Free, and On the Town; Zachary Woolfe covers Bernstein’s role as educator, including the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts, “a televised international classroom of unlikely glamour”; Jesse Green reflects on the “Shakespearean depth,” melodies, and rhythms of West Side Story; Wesley Morris chronicles Bernstein’s political side, including the 1970 soiree at which Bernstein and his wife, Felicia, met with leaders of the Black Panther party; and Anthony Tommasini writes about Bernstein as “an American entrepreneur. He was so many things: a great conductor, great composer, great pianist. But he was also a TV star, he was a thinker, he was a philosopher, he was a political activist. How many people could wear all of those hats at once? It’s a rare thing.”

Posted August 24, 2018

In photo: Leonard Bernstein conducting at Tanglewood. Photo by Heinz Weissenstein, Whitestone Photo, Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives.