We're celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month! We had the honor of speaking to Francisco Nunez, a choral conductor who won a 2011 MacArthur Genius Grant, to name one accolade, but his accomplishments are vast. Listen to this excerpt of their conversation in which Mr. Nunez tells us about what got him started, his musical idols, and role models.
He led thrilling concerts. He traveled the world. He hobnobbed with brilliant thinkers and artists. Is there anything Leonard Bernstein missed out on in his rich life? His daughter Jamie Bernstein says yes. He would have loved the Internet, she says, but more importantly he never fully understood the impact that his music has had on the world.
Charlie Harmon worked for several years as an assistant to Leonard Bernstein. In his new book On the Road and Off the Record With Leonard Bernstein and in his interview with Fred Child, Harmon describes vividly the October day in 1990 he was called to visit Bernstein and realized it was the last time they would see each other.
Aaron Stern feels there's a reason he and Leonard Bernstein became so close. Stern says he learned a lot from Bernstein about music and feels he was able to teach Bernstein something about wisdom not long before Bernstein's death. Together they came up with the idea for the Academy for the Love of Learning which is celebrating 20 years as a nonprofit organization.
In so many ways, Leonard Bernstein was extraordinary. Talented, charismatic and handsome to boot, it was if a magic wand tapped his head at birth. His daughter Jamie Bernstein in her new book Famous Father Girl describes what the public didn't see: the doubt and guilt that nagged his conscience AND fueled his music.
Orin O'Brien was the first woman hired to perform full-time with the New York Philharmonic. Watching Leonard Bernstein conduct was certainly exciting for the audience, but this double bassist says it was exhilarating and terrifying to face the conductor as a member of his orchestra. O'Brien calls working with Bernstein "one of the best experiences of my professional life."
Growing up, Jamie Bernstein says her father was relentlessly competitive and preternaturally good at everything. Well, almost everything. In this interview highlight, she describes the glee she and her siblings felt when they found one thing their father wasn't good at. Jamie Bernstein's new memoir is called Famous Father Girl.
It sounds like the set-up for a great punch line. Three composers walk into a restaurant: Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Michael Tilson Thomas. The first course is challenging musical trivia. The next course involves clanging spoons and glasses. Michael Tilson Thomas describes a memorable dinner with two other American composers.
Sure, the song 'Maria' from Leonard Bernstein's musical 'West Side Story' is lovely. For composer and conductor Tania Leon, it meant so much more. 'Maria' set in motion her dream of a possible life in America. Leon remembers her mentor, friend, salsa dancer and Spanish-speaker Leonard Bernstein.
When Bright Sheng went to the Tanglewood Summer Music Festival as a young composer, he didn't think his Peking Duck would lead to a meeting with Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein left impressed by the music and thrilled by Sheng's cooking. Those minutes in the kitchen made Sheng "Tanglewood famous," he says, and was the beginning of a long working relationship with Bernstein.