August 19, 1988 |
Remember the old movie-musical cliche about how the pretty young hoofer goes out onstage a kid and comes back a star? You believe it in the movies but not in life, right? Well, things like that do happen in life. On Nov. 14, 1943, guest conductor Bruno Walter was taken ill and could not conduct the Sunday-afternoon concert, to be broadcast across America, of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Instead, the orchestra's 25-year-old assistant conductor was pressed into service. Here is the man himself on the event that put him on the front page of the New York Times the next day and made him, overnight, a musical superstar.
August 24, 1988 |
No one could have invented Leonard Bernstein. Nothing like him existed in American music before. It's probably safe to say that nothing like him will come our way again. In the meantime, though, this amazing man - who somehow combines the roles of composer, conductor, pianist, teacher, author, lyricist, activist, intellectual and celebrity - turns 70 years young tomorrow. It will be a rite of passage for many senior citizens those who remember Bernstein's sudden last-minute debut in front of the New York Philharmonic in 1943, replacing an ailing Bruno Walter without even a rehearsal.
August 21, 1988 |
Leonard Bernstein returns to Tanglewood this week to celebrate his 70th birthday. The summer music festival in Lenox, Mass., the heart of the Berkshires, has never mounted anything like this in its half-century of existence. But then, no other American musician has ever created the excitement, the controversy and the sparks that Bernstein strikes wherever he goes. The four-day celebration will begin Thursday, Bernstein's actual birthday, with a concert by the Boston Symphony in which four conductors will take turns on the podium.
January 9, 2008 |
LEONARD BERNSTEIN was our American musical comet, flashing into a European-dominated world and establishing an exciting new heritage. Composer, pianist, conductor, author, Broadway master and television beacon, Bernstein was a magician who raced against time to excel at everything he did until his death in 1990. The Philadelphia Orchestra is marking the 90th anniversary of his birth with a month-long festival of his works. Music director Christoph Eschenbach has chosen the Three Dance Episodes from "On the Town," the Symphonic Dances, the Suite for violin and orchestra drawn from "West Side Story," and his first Symphony, the "Jeremiah.
October 16, 1990 |
Only in the age of communications and the age of anxiety could a man like Leonard Bernstein have been possible. The 72-year-old musician, who died Sunday in his New York apartment, was so magnified by the electronic media that this diminutive physical being, this passionate intellectual and restless entertainer, dominated the American musical scene just by opening his eyes in the morning. That daily awakening was announced by his publicity machinery even as he shrank from the attention it caused.
April 7, 2002 |
Leonard Bernstein pianos and watches? Maybe. Leonard Bernstein tchotchkes? Probably not. That's the idea behind a new deal between Amberson Inc., the family-run organization that oversees the interests of the Leonard Bernstein estate, and the Roger Richman Agency, a Beverly Hills firm that licenses use of the personas of Einstein, Freud, Steve McQueen, Mae West and others. The image, signature, voice and name of the American conductor and composer, who earned a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1941, have been under trademark protection since just after his death in 1990.
October 15, 1990 |
Could it be that Leonard Bernstein, the man who had been an extraordinary musical star for two generations of audiences, was once so thoroughly disliked that colleagues formed an anti-Bernstein club? Believe it. It happened in Philadelphia. Cub conductor Leonard Bernstein must have been a loathsome character while attending Philadelphia's renowned Curtis Institute of Music in 1940 and 1941. "How lonely I was," the conductor wrote years later in his memoirs. "What memories I have of those two years.
March 27, 2012 |
SOMETIME around 10 p.m. Tuesday at the Academy of Music, the Philadelphia debut of the latest iteration of "West Side Story," which runs through April 8, will conclude with a reprise of "Somewhere. " At this point, the audience will no doubt rise to its feet and reward the cast with a loud and appreciative ovation. But no matter how enthusiastic the crowd's response may be, it probably won't match that of those at Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre on Aug. 19, 1957. "We got like 15 curtain calls," recalled Michael Callan, 77, of the night the groundbreaking contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" had its pre-Broadway premiere.
August 18, 1992 |
No one ever lived his life more publicly than Leonard Bernstein. The perfect figure for the age of media, the composer-pianist-conductor-celebrity was a household god through television, an aural icon through recordings, and a witty and tortured presence through his ongoing biography as written in mass-circulation magazines by his brother, friends and colleagues, and, at the end, sharp-quilled critics. No surprise, then, that he should write his family into his two operas. In Trouble in Tahiti, premiered in 1952, the two characters locked in a tormented marriage are named Sam and Dinah, the same as Bernstein's parents.
November 10, 1994 |
Unlike many other composers, Leonard Bernstein looms over the music world with death-defying pervasiveness. While his orchestral works, chamber music and songs respectfully appear on programs around the country, his music- theater pieces seem to flood the air and fill the stages with new youth and ebullience. Those works flout the trend - so common after a composer dies - to silence. Candide, in all its versions, is a repertory piece. West Side Story is woven into our lives; On the Town seems evergreen, and Wonderful Town is having a new life - again.