Bernstein Today

Fun Five about Leonard Bernstein (#10): Visit, Watch, Explore

Visit one of the country’s best museum exhibits, watch the winning Harvard student conduct the Boston Pops, and learn eight fast facts about our favorite American maestro! Plus, Robert Krulwich examines how Leonard Bernstein conducted without using his hands, and the Washington Chorus presents a Bernstein-and-friends program for Pride Month.

1. USA Today Names Bernstein Exhibit One of Nation’s Best

With summer vacation just a moment away, USA Today scoped out museum exhibits around the country and chose 11 to name as the nation’s best. Number 2 on the list: the National Museum of American Jewish History‘s “Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music”!

If you can’t make it to Philadelphia, check out “Leonard Bernstein at 100” at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, CA — and here are 5 videos to watch before you do.

2. Washington Chorus Presents Bernstein Music with an LGBTQ Twist

June is Pride Month, and what better way to celebrate than with music by LGBTQ composers (including Bernstein)? The Washington Chorus did just that,  writes MetroWeekly’s Doug Rule (@ruleonwriting).

‘The music needs to speak for itself, and I believe it will,’ says [Christopher] Bell, currently completing his first season as artistic director of the world-renowned chorus. ‘But [with] this program, we’re acknowledging the contributions of 20th century gay and lesbian composers [who are] intrinsically linked to Bernstein — musically, personally, socially. They were his friends. We have photographs of them working together, we have photographs of them being on holiday together.’

The Washington Chorus plans to announce their upcoming 2018-2019 season soon!

3. Harvard Student Conducts “Overture to Candide” with Boston Pops

In true Bernstein-ian fashion, a young Harvard student won the chance to conduct the Boston Pops in Bernstein’s “Candide” Overture last Thursday night. Benjamin Wenzelberg, 18, is a conductor, composer, vocalist, pianist, and US Presidential Scholar of the Arts; the Boston Globe ran a lovely interview with him, which you can read here.

4. “What Happened to Leonard Bernstein’s Hands?”

An oldie but a goodie: Robert Krulwich, of RadioLab fame, learns a little something about conducting from Ezra Block. Can a conductor really lead an orchestra without using their hands?

More recently, WOSU Radio’s Boyce Lancaster used Krulwich’s piece as a springboard to speak with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra Music Director David Danzmayr about the art of conducting, and learned that sometimes, as a conductor, you just have to let the orchestra do its thing.

5. Eight Fast Facts about Bernstein

Thanks to our friends at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, enjoy this “fast facts” video about our favorite maestro:

About this content

Throughout The Bernstein Experience, enjoy curated glimpses of Leonard Bernstein’s music, life and legacy as well as a blog about the ongoing global celebration of Bernstein’s centenary today, including our five picks of noteworthy Bernstein stories from recent news, blogs, and social media.

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