Jamie Bernstein, her ‘Famous Father,’ and nothing to hide

By Zoë Madonna - Boston Globe
July 5, 2018

This centennial year has been packed with commemorations of conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s yearlong celebration of his works. As part of that, Jamie Bernstein, his filmmaking, concert-narrating eldest daughter, is directing a semi-staged performance of her father’s one-act opera “Trouble in Tahiti” on July 12 at Tanglewood. But one of this year’s remembrances is also personal: In her new memoir, “Famous Father Girl,” Jamie dishes out the details and explores the complications of growing up with one of the most famous and charismatic musicians of his generation.

Q. You and your siblings Alexander and Nina have become, as you put it in your book, the “Three-Headed Monster,” but for much of the events detailed in your memoir, “Famous Father Girl,” Nina was too young to really participate. What helped you grow closer as you got older?

A. I think the death of both of our parents really drew us together. When our mother died, Nina was 16. We really huddled after that; she needed us, and we needed each other. Then after our father died, that just made the bond all the stronger. Maybe because our lives have been so unusual, the only two people who can understand what any one of the three is going through are the other two siblings. So for that reason too, we cling to each other. 

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Jamie Bernstein