An Intimate Look at Leonard Bernstein

By Rena Silverman - New York Times
December 11, 1976

A collection of photographs of Mr. Bernstein, shot by some of the most famous photographers of the 20th century, capture the American classical music maestro on and off the stage.

Like a boxer preparing to enter the ring, Leonard Bernstein appears bare-chested, a towel draped over his shoulders. He and his wife, Felicia Montealegre, hold a white shirt, his gaze locked on her; is he seeking comfort, or are they really just fixing the shirt? There’s not much time. Soon he is to walk out on the Carnegie Hall stage as the new music director of the New York Philharmonic on the opening night of its 1958-59 season.

This image by Gordon Parks is part of a new book, “Leonard Bernstein 100: The Masters Photograph the Maestro,” a collection of 100 photographs of the composer, conductor, educator and most successful force in American classical music. The book, published in honor of Mr. Bernstein’s very celebrated centennial, was created by Mr. Bernstein’s daughter Jamie and the music photographer Steve J. Sherman. The book features many unpublished photos of Mr. Bernstein by some of the most famous photographers in the world, from Irving Penn to W. Eugene Smith, Richard Avedon, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. After all, master does recognize master.

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Jamie Bernstein