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Leonard Bernstein

by Humphrey Burton CBE


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Composer, pianist, author, television teacher, Harvard lecturer, cultural icon, humanist and conductor without peer, Leonard Bernstein's versatility was legendary. He captivated Broadway with such hits as On the Town and West Side Story and introduced middle America to classical music with his Young People's Concerts on television. He composed three symphonies and a full-length opera, and he inspired the world's leading orchestras to give some of the most memorable performances of the twentieth century.
Humphrey Burton was given exclusive access to Bernstein's rich legacy of letters and papers, and the book draws on hundreds of interviews with family, friends and colleagues to reveal Bernstein's fascinating and complex personality. His compelling narrative captures Bernstein's high-spirited vitality on the page, providing a frank account of his homosexuality and his marriage and chronicling the lifelong conflict between the rival claims of Bernstein's conducting and composing careers.

'Humphrey Burton has written a very detailed and candid account of his friend ... The mass of material is superbly handled ... [Bernstein] was a musical genius and he deserves this measured and meticulous biography.' Sunday Telegraph

Publication Details

Faber & Faber
Publication Date:


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Humphrey Burton CBE (Author)

Humphrey Burton was a friend and professional colleague of Leonard Bernstein for thirty years. He read music and history at Cambridge University and joined the BBC in 1955, becoming its first head of music and arts programmes a decade later, and i...

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