Q&A: Jamie Bernstein Leonard Bernstein's daughter talks about her father's centennary and appearing with the Dallas Symphony this weekend.

By Keith Mankin - Theater Jones
November 8, 2018

Dallas — One of the outstanding passions of Leonard Bernstein’s life was his dedication to popularizing classical music. Nowhere was this more evident in his work on the NY Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts. These regular Saturday afternoon lectures dissected both large and fine points of music from specific composers to basics of rhythm and harmony. Although they began before the great conductor’s tenure and continue to this day, almost a quarter century after his death, they are intrinsically woven into Bernstein’s legacy.

The legacy of teaching and popularization has been carried forth by another Bernstein, his daughter, Jamie, who is a musician, author and teacher in her own right and, along with her siblings, a director of the Bernstein Foundation. She has developed programs for the younger generation that are similar in scope and tone to her father’s, with the added benefit of being able to use his prodigious catalogue of music as their subject. One such program, The Bernstein Beat, will be presented on as part of the DSO’s weekend long Bernstein Festival during the continued celebration of the composer’s Centenary.

Jamie Bernstein found time in the midst of her hectic work of organizing, encouraging and cataloguing for a telephone conversation to discuss the Bernstein Beat, her father’s legacy and the remarkable ongoing celebration of his life and work.

TheaterJones: Thank you for joining us. How did The Bernstein Foundation prepare for all the year’s activity?

Jamie Bernstein: It is my pleasure. It has been an amazing run. Well, we started out by alerting everyone about the upcoming anniversary. Everyone was aware of it of course, but we contacted arts groups around the world to find out what their plans were for celebration and see if we could help with the organization. Not just orchestras and choruses, but theater companies and libraries as well. The response has been so overwhelming. And so multifaceted. We are currently curating more than 3,400 events.

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Jamie Bernstein