A fresh appreciation of the great musical figure that gives him his due as composer as well as conductor Leonard Bernstein stood at the epicenter of twentieth-century American musical life. His creative gifts knew no boundaries as he moved easily from the podium, to the piano, to television with his nationally celebrated Young People's Concerts, which introduced an entire generation to the joy of classical music. In this fascinating new biography, the breadth of Bernstein's musical composition is explored, through the spectacular range of music he composed-from West Side Story to Kaddish to A Quiet Place and beyond-and through his intensely public role as an internationally celebrated conductor. For the first time, the composer's life and work receive a fully integrated analysis, offering a comprehensive appreciation of a multi-faceted musician who continued to grow as an artist well into his final days.
"I can't imagine a better biography of Leonard Bernstein. His intensity, complexity, and personal charm come across fully; so do his manifest importance to twentieth-century American culture and his intimate relation to the music he produced. Bravo!" Wendy Lesser--Wendy Lesser"
'There were, and are, critics who believe that Bernstein s facility and fecundity was merely dilettantism. Allen Shawn s suave new biography hopes to give them pause.' Christopher Bray, "The Spectator"--Christopher Bray"The Spectator" (11/29/2014)"
"Shawn draws all these aspects of Bernstein into a full-scale and attractive human portrait, and an equally full-scale portrait of Bernstein s music. With his knowledgeable analysis of Bernstein s vast output, Shawn sends readers rushing back to listen, whether to "West Side Story, Kaddish, Candide," or any number of other works. Well-paced and highly readable, Leonard Bernstein brings alive both the man and his music." Maron L./i>--Maron L. Waxman "Jewish Book Council ""