BSO successfully re-creates Leonard Bernstein's televised Young People's Concerts

By Clarence Fanto - The Berkshire Eagle
August 13, 2018

LENOX — Could Tanglewood stage a fitting re-creation of Leonard Bernstein's televised Young People's Concerts on CBS with the New York Philharmonic? Nearly half of the 53 shows from 1958 to 1972 were in prime time — amazing, considering how marginalized classical music has become in our mainstream culture.

The answer is an emphatic yes, thanks to the Boston Symphony, its impassioned, committed music director Andris Nelsons and the maestro's eldest daughter, Jamie. Fortunately, she has inherited some of her father's communication skills, particularly directed toward young people. The key is to avoid condescension, to respect the listeners as well as the music being performed.

That's what made Friday's early-evening venture a concert for all people, not just youngsters, though it looked as if the average age of the Shed audience had shed a couple of decades. Except for a chattering toddler or two on the fringes of the Shed, the listeners were as attentive, if not more so, than those at a typical BSO summer concert.

The one-hour "Why Music Matters — According to Ludwig and Lenny," at a 7 p.m. starting time, was carefully assembled by Nelsons, BSO artistic administrator Tony Fogg, who's also director of Tanglewood, and Ms. Bernstein, whose gift for writing is evident in her recently published memoir, "Famous Father Girl."

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Jamie Bernstein