Leonard Bernstein’s centennial year launched this month in spectacular fashion, with an influx of exciting content both online and off. Here are five notable Bernstein happenings from recent weeks. Check out hashtag #Bernsteinat100 for more.
1. Vanity Fair Covers Bernstein and Robbins
Laura Jacobs, a writer for Vanity Fair, explores the creation and subsequent success of West Side Story, in the context of the longstanding collaborative relationship between Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins. Here’s an excerpt:
Each man in his own right was astonishing. Until his death, in 1990, Leonard Bernstein would be the most important musician in America, period. … He was a perfectionist whose gypsy instinct for the essential, his eye as sharp as a shiv, demanded the best in others or just go home. Few chose to go home. And certainly never Lenny.
2. Bernstein Lectures on Spotify
Music streaming service Spotify now offers a playlist of Bernstein’s best lectures about music. Listen as this master communicator does what he does best:
3. Love of Learning?
Maria Popova of the website Brain Pickings dives into Bernstein’s thoughts on the conflict between cynicism and love of learning:
4. Bernstein on Broadway, Live (New Year’s Eve)
On New Year’s Eve, the PBS program Live from Lincoln Center broadcast a concert celebrating Bernstein’s theater music featuring top Broadway stars Aaron Tveit, Annaleigh Ashford, Christopher Jackson, and Laura Osnes. While the full concert is no longer available for online streaming, here’s the video preview:
5. Lara Downes’ Weekly Tracks “For Lenny”
In February, pianist Lara Downes will release an album titled “For Lenny,” which she calls a “special friends-and-family tribute to the man behind the music.” Leading up to the release date, she’s sharing weekly tracks, videos, and podcast episodes. This week’s track: Lukas Foss’s “For Lenny: Variation on New York, New York.” Watch the video here – then head over to her site to hear the track and the podcast about it.