Leonard Bernstein

amazon.com / Oxford University Press

If you go through life with a name like John Latouche, you'd better be talented.

Luckily, John Treville Latouche (1914-1956) was immensely talented. He made his name as the go-to guy for witty, biting lyrics, inspiring Duke Ellington, Jerome Moross, Vernon Duke and Leonard Bernstein.

Opera & Lyric Theatre / Ohio State University

Candide — a show with music by Leonard Bernstein, book by Lillian Hellman, lyrics by Richard Wilbur with help from John Latouche and Dorothy Parker, and based on Voltaire no less — opened on Broadway the night of Dec. 1, 1956.

Paul Sherwood / Wikimedia Commons

Here's a doozy: Bill Murray is going classical.

The actor and comedian who never ceases to surprise has, according to the New York Times, teamed up with cellist  Jan Vogler, who has performed as a guest artist with the New York Philharmonic, and a group of chamber musicians for a projected album and touring show. Murray will sing Gershwin and Bernstein and recite Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and Ernest Hemingway.

David Debalko / kenshowatanabe.com

Classical music has a new rising star. According to a story published Tuesday in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the young assistant conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra stepped in to lead a concert at the last moment for an ailing Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and it was a great success.

photo of ticket stub from 1973 Washington Cathedral concert, conducted by Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein Facebook page

Richard Nixon's second inauguration, on Jan. 19, 1973, featured a starry concert at the then-new Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Philadelphia Orchestra—then and now among the world's finest—conducted by Eugene Ormandy, performed Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in a minor, with Van Cliburn, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

Google Books

There are perhaps no two men more qualified to talk about their pursuit of music and literature than Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa. So when I discovered that the two had sat down at various intervals over the course of a few years to discuss music and transcribe their conversations, I knew I had to read Absolutely on Music.

Christina Burton, courtesy The Leonard Bernstein Office

I was at my desk at The Entertainment Corporation, Ltd, on Broadway and 67th St. that morning, trying to wake up over strong coffee and the air filled bran muffins available at the pricey deli near Lincoln Center. An older colleague walked in crying. Leonard Bernstein was dead.

Boyce Lancaster

Much music is designed simply to entertain...to be a diversion for a while.  Background music can set the mood for a party, a soiree, maybe a special dinner.  Much of the music we listen to can accompany us through a day of work, chores, study, or errands.

Then there is music that, much like a child on the diving board yelling, "Watch me!  Watch me!  Watch me!," demands that you drop everything and give it your undivided attention.  Music that, like a stunning sunset, offers a moment of inspiration.


In a recent blog, I wrote about Colin Matthews' composition Pluto, the Renewer, which he added to Holst's The Planets in 2000. (Pluto May Be Small, but it SOUNDS Big, July 15, 2015)

However, it has been revealed that someone else got there first.

Leonard Bernstein.

Yes, the conductor/composer who taught many to love music with his Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic beat Matthews there by some 28 years.