Leonard Bernstein and American Music

128p. (Modern Music Masters Series). bibliog. chron. illus. index. notes. photos. websites. Morgan Reynolds. May 2013. PLB $28.95. ISBN 978-1-59935-125-4. LC 2010042593.
Gr 5–8—A gifted musician and an intense and energetic man, Bernstein was immersed in music as a performer, conductor, composer, and teacher. Reef zips through his multifaceted life, writing with facility and economy in this engaging biography. Through a blend of musical and descriptive language, evocative passages on music provide an important context for understanding the man. Readers will appreciate Bernstein's tenacity as a teen and young adult despite his father's conflicting skepticism and support. He would eventually earn his father's respect when he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the New York Philharmonic. Later, Bernstein would become the orchestra's first American-born and -trained leader. Those who are only vaguely aware of Bernstein, and even those who have read Susan Goldman Rubin's Music Was It (Charlesbridge, 2011), will marvel at his diverse musical accomplishments, but they will also admire his efforts to promote racial equality and peace through music. Reef uses quotes and photos well and carefully notes their sources in the back matter, which also includes lists of useful websites and Bernstein's major works. There is no discography or filmography. Of particular interest for this book's audience are Bernstein's Young People's Concerts, available on DVD, and the Bernstein Century CD comprising recordings of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals, and Britten's Young People's Guide to the Orchestra, performed by Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic.—Joy Piedmont, LREI, New York City

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing