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Leonard Bernstein

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ENTERTAINMENT
August 19, 1988 | By Richard Fuller, Special to The Inquirer
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.
NEWS
August 24, 1988 | By RICHARD S. GINELL, Los Angeles Daily News
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 21, 1988 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2008 | By TOM DI NARDO For the Daily News
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.
NEWS
October 16, 1990 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 7, 2002 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
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.
NEWS
October 15, 1990 | By Kurt Heine, Daily News Staff Writer
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 27, 2012 | CHUCK DARROW Daily News Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
August 18, 1992 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 10, 1994 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
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.
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NEWS
May 3, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Fractious music for fractious times. Such was the milieu of Leonard Bernstein's Mass : A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers when it first appeared in 1971, in all of its confrontational clangor, commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy but quietly boycotted by Richard Nixon. Some 40-plus years later, the piece unfolded at the Kimmel Center on Thursday, performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra for the first time, hours after Baltimore-related protests took place down the street at City Hall.
NEWS
December 8, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Conductor David Charles Abell is far too urbane to be a musical Santa Claus at the Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular, now running at the Kimmel Center. But pops, classical, and theater music are all of a piece in the life of this 56-year-old conductor who grew up in Mount Airy, graduated from Germantown Friends School ('76), studied with Leonard Bernstein, and is based in London, where he conducts an array of concerts and West End shows. Q: Christmas concerts can be so many things to so many people.
NEWS
October 7, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
When Gary Graffman was director of the Curtis Institute of Music, he used to tell students that the recorded legacy was a distortion. The act of saving some recordings and discarding others - the natural selection of that business - means that all available evidence is not necessarily an accurate portrait of the artist. That might not apply in Graffman's own case. On his 85th birthday, he is getting a gift from Sony Classical: a 24-CD boxed set of recordings from the 1950s on. I can't say for sure, not having been alive during the late-mid-century shank of Graffman's career, but based on his performances during the last 25 years, it seems the pianist you hear in these testaments - Rachmaninoff from 1964, Schubert from 1956 - is unshakably true to form.
NEWS
March 30, 2012 | By Howard Shapiro, Inquirer Staff Writer
Romeo and Juliet, if timeless, is not actually a tale as old as time. You can trace it back pretty far, though, to a 1476 Italian story and through several evolutions until Shakespeare grabbed it for his stage play around 1595. That version sticks today - arguably the most popular and well-known love story in the world. As tragic characters and star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet themselves continued to evolve, with their greatest contemporary impact as West Side Story's Tony and Maria.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 27, 2012 | CHUCK DARROW Daily News Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
March 21, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Paul McCartney, Irving Berlin, and Leonard Bernstein all wrote high-profile music that wasn't entirely theirs. They use orchestrators (Bernstein in West Side Story ), musical secretaries (Irving Berlin), and even collaborators (McCartney's concert works) to help get their thoughts on paper. But then, all three are most famous for their popular music, in which a composer's musical ambitions may outstretch the mechanics of bringing it into being. A classical composer, in contrast, is supposed to be a romantic lone artist communing with the muses - not recycling music from an unused film score or a deceased colleague.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 14, 2012 | By Daniel Webster, For The Inquirer
Sociologists would seem to have planned the Curtis Symphony Orchestra's concert Sunday at the Kimmel Center, in which conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya identified national moods from the 1940s, contrasted haves and have-nots, and even took some musical soil samples to show how music sprouts and grows. The almost simultaneous birth of Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 "Age of Anxiety" and Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 sent the players on a survey of contrasting musical styles reflecting two societies' postwar hopes, memories, and mental positionings.
NEWS
March 21, 2011
Donald L. Cox, 74, a member of the Black Panther Party high command who earned a moment of celebrity in 1970 when he spoke at a Leonard Bernstein fund-raising party in Manhattan made notorious by the writer Tom Wolfe in his article "Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's," died Feb. 19 at his home in Camps-sur-l'Agly, France. His wife, Barbara Cox Easley, did not specify a cause. He had lived abroad since the early 1970s, when he fled the United States after being implicated in a Baltimore murder.
NEWS
March 1, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Minor works by major personalities aren't often revealing; they're usually more of the same - except for Leonard Bernstein. His compositions echoed each other, but never covered anything close to the same ground, even his incidental music to the 1955 Broadway play The Lark , presented Sunday by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. Though Candide and West Side Story were in the works at the time, Bernstein's conducting career had been curtailed by a McCarthy-era gray-listing: He was unofficially banned by CBS radio, which broadcast the New York Philharmonic.
NEWS
February 12, 2010 | By Michael Silverstein
People used to have no trouble pronouncing my last name, Silverstein, with the last syllable pronounced steen. They also had no trouble with Goldstein, Bernstein, Weinstein, and all the other -steins, which were all pronounced with the same steen ending. The only time anyone used to address me or the other -steins with a stine ending was when they wanted to be offensive; such a pronunciation amounted to a backhanded ethnic slur. And then Leonard Bernstein came along. He didn't cause trouble in this realm right away.
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