2018 marks the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth and the year long global celebration of the man, the maestro, the composer, and his enduring legacy.
From his unexpected and triumphant debut as conductor of the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in 1943 at the age of 25; to becoming its musical director in 1957; and opening West Side Story on Broadway in September of that year, there are not enough superlative to describe Lenny Bernstein. The Grammy Museum’s touring exhibition and this CBS Sunday Morning profile and interview with his daughter, Jamie begin to give us some insight into being Bernstein.
Leonard Bernstein was married to Felicia Montealegre from 1951 until 1978 when he publicly acknowledged his homosexuality. In a book of personal letters published in 2014, Montealegre reveals she entered the marriage eyes wide open when she wrote to him saying,
“ …you [Bernstein] are a homosexual and may never change – you don’t admit to the possibility of a double life, but if your peace of mind, your health, your whole nervous system depend on a certain sexual pattern, what can you do? …I am willing to accept you as you are, without being a martyr or sacrificing myself on the L.B. altar. (I happen to love you very much – this may be a disease and if it is what better cure?)”
Read “Bernstein in letters – gifted, gay and loved by his wife” via Reuters.com HERE