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Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein
     

Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein

by Susan Goldman Rubin
 

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"Life without music is unthinkable."—Leonard Bernstein, Findings

When Lenny was two years old, his mother found that the only way to soothe her crying son was to turn on the Victrola. When his aunt passed on her piano to Lenny’s parents, the boy demanded lessons. When Lenny went to school, he had the most fun during "singing hours."

But

Overview

"Life without music is unthinkable."—Leonard Bernstein, Findings

When Lenny was two years old, his mother found that the only way to soothe her crying son was to turn on the Victrola. When his aunt passed on her piano to Lenny’s parents, the boy demanded lessons. When Lenny went to school, he had the most fun during "singing hours."

But Lenny’s love of music was met with opposition from the start. Lenny’s father, a successful businessman, wanted Lenny to follow in his footsteps. Additionally, the classical music world of the 1930s and 1940s was dominated by Europeans—no American Jewish kid had a serious chance to make a name for himself in this field.

Beginning with Lenny’s childhood in Boston and ending with his triumphant conducting debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic when he was just twenty-five, MUSIC WAS IT draws readers into the energetic, passionate, challenging, music-filled life of young Leonard Bernstein.

Archival photographs, mostly from the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress, illustrate this fascinating biography, which also includes a foreword by Bernstein’s daughter Jamie. Extensive back matter includes biographies of important people in Bernstein’s life, as well as a discography of his music.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–10—Rubin's sparkling biography looks at one of the most influential and acclaimed composers/conductors in recent history and brings his story to vibrant, colorful life. Starting at age two and ending with his exalted New York Philharmonic conducting debut at age 25, the fascinating events of Bernstein's life are neatly organized into well-paced chapters. Rubin provides an unbiased, thoughtful, and well-researched account of how the virtuoso grew to become a musical icon, discussing his family life, musical education, and the trials and triumphs he encountered along the way. Photographs and primary documents such as sheet music, concert programs, and telegrams punctuate the presentation and enhance the lively narrative. Rubin's writing is clear and accessible enough for readers unfamiliar with Bernstein, but has enough information and anecdotes to satisfy the curiosities of even his most dedicated fans. There are few comparable biographies currently available for children or young adults. Jim Whiting's The Life and Times of Leonard Bernstein (Mitchell Lane, 2005) offers concise content, while Rubin's depiction has more heart and scope. Music Was It is an engrossing, warm, and comprehensive read, and should be considered an essential purchase for most libraries. All readers will appreciate Bernstein's story of proficiency, perseverance, and passion.—Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews

An impeccably researched and told biography of Leonard Bernstein's musical apprenticeship, from toddlerhood to his conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 25. Rubin traces Lenny's education, musical influences and enduring friendships. Lenny reveled in mounting elaborate musical productions in Sharon, Mass., his family's summer community. As a student, he augmented support from his family by giving lessons, accompanying singers, transcribing music and more;the narrative sparkles with details that match its subject's energy and verve.Especially crystalline are the links drawn between father Sam's decades-long dismissal of his son's musical gifts and the consequential importance of mentors and supportive teachers in the young man's life.In exploring Lenny's devout Jewish roots and coming of age during the persecution of Jews in Europe, the author reveals how dramatically Bernstein altered the landscape for conductors on the American scene. In an epilogue sketching Bernstein's later life, she briefly mentions his bisexuality, marriage and children. Drawn from interviews, family memoirs and other print resources, quotations are well-integrated and assiduously attributed. Photos, concert programs, early doodles and letters, excerpts from musical scores and other primary documentation enhance the text. Excellent bookmaking—from type to trim size—complements a remarkable celebration of a uniquely American musical genius. (chronology, biographical sketches, author's note, discography, bibliography, quotation sources, index) (Biography. 9-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580893442
Publisher:
Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2011
Pages:
178
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
970L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Goldman Rubin is the author of more than a dozen books for young readers, including ANDY WARHOL: POP ART PAINTER (Abrams) and THE CAT WITH THE YELLOW STAR: COMING OF AGE IN TEREZIN (Holiday House), both ALA Notable Books. Susan lives in Malibu, California.

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