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Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein

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  • Posted January 19, 2013

    Towards the end of his life, famed composer, pianist, and conduc

    Towards the end of his life, famed composer, pianist, and conductor, Leonard Bernstein, rarely gave interviews. When a young Jonathan Cott requested an interview with the maestro for a story to appear in Rolling Stones magazine, he was certain Bernstein would decline his request. Fortunately, Bernstein was impressed with the writings of Cott and in November of 1989, a year before his death, invited him to dinner at his home.
    In what is noted as Bernsteins last major interview, Cott has presented the key moments in his twelve hour conversation with the composer. Immediately, the reader is drawn in by the eccentric personality of Bernstein. He speaks with a passion and confidence that demands to be listened to. Over the course of the interview, the two discuss everything from Bernstein's acclaimed career as a world-renowned musician to the intimate details of his florid love affairs.
    The book opens with a short biography of Bernstein. In this section, we are told about his first encounter with a piano, his appointment as conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and his rise as a world renowned musician. The interview itself is only about 165 pages, but is packed with overflowing emotional and informational content. After completing this interview, it is apparent that Bernstein lived his life by completely giving himself to everything he did. The personalities of both Bernstein and Cott make this a quick and insightful read that is accessible to anyone who chooses to read it.

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