Review - ‘Late Night with Leonard Bernstein’ was a personal, emotional memorial

By  Fritz Klug - Revue Magazine
May 4, 2018

At most classical concerts, there are program notes with information about the works and composers to give background and insight into the music.

Late Night with Leonard Bernstein had nothing of the sort: the performance itself was those notes. Over the course of two hours, the great American composer’s daughter, Jamie Bernstein, took the Gilmore Keyboard Festival audience on a journey through her father’s life, influences, friends and “insomniac brain.”

Bernstein’s music is everywhere: From films to in-flight airline safety announcements, high school musicals and progressive rock records. For such a well-known composer, most of the songs in Thursday’s program were early, rare compositions that most of the audience had not heard before.

The stage at Dalton Recital Hall on Western Michigan University’s campus was set up like a living room, with two pianos in the center and Jamie Bernstein telling stories of her father, the night owl, between songs. The house lights stayed on, giving the feeling of being there. The Bernstein selections included songs he wrote for friends, including Stephen Sondheim, that were compositions he drew on later.

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Jamie Bernstein