New Book: 'Famous Father Girl': Jamie Bernstein on growing up with the maestro

By Clarence Fanto - The Berkshire Eagle
August 3, 2018

LENOX — For Jamie Bernstein, the first-born offspring of Leonard Bernstein, celebrations of the centennial of the composer, conductor and educator's birth is a mixed blessing. In a recently published memoir, "Famous Father Girl" (HarperCollins, $28.99), she describes in searing, intimate detail the challenges and the benefits of growing up in the orbit of a super-nova celebrity many consider the greatest American musician of the 20th century.

Jamie Bernstein is visiting Lenox to promote her book and to host a special evening at Tanglewood. At The Bookstore in Lenox, she will present readings and take questions at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

Bernstein's eldest daughter and Boston Symphony Music Director Andris Nelsons will present a special, hour-long performance at 7 p.m. Friday, at Tanglewood, re-creating the maestro's landmark, televised "Young People's Concerts," fondly remembered by many as their entry into music. Jamie Bernstein, who found her true professional calling as an educator when she was 50, will host the event.

In a phone conversation from her Manhattan home, she discussed her return to the Berkshires, where she spent several weeks each summer with her family until her father's death in 1990, two months after his final performances at Tanglewood. The interview has been lightly edited and condensed:

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Jamie Bernstein