The Protégé—Stephen Sondheim

The Protégé—Stephen Sondheim
(Fifth in a series.)

By Denis Whitaker

“Steve is the most important force
in the American musical theater.
He combines wit and intelligence
in a very special way,
and he’s willing to take chances.”
Leonard Bernstein

 “Maybe you could show me
how to let go,
lower my guard,
learn to be free.
Maybe if you whistle,
whistle for me.”
From “Anyone Can Whistle,”
reported to be Mr. Sondheim’s favorite of his songs.

An Interview with William Sauerland on Lenny & Friends

The Artistic Director of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus, William Sauerland (known to the chorus as Billy), easily expresses his passion for the music of the 2018 spring concert, Lenny & Friends:  A Centennial Celebration of Leonard Bernstein. His emotional connection to the music on the program stems from early childhood when he immersed himself in the music of the stage—both musical theatre and opera. One of the first shows he remembers listening to was West Side Story. As a child, he knew it was escapism; it was not until he was a teenager that he began to understand that West Side Story along with much of Bernstein’s work pointed a truth at life as a response to oppressive ideologies and social injustice.

Lenny on Broadway

Lenny on Broadway

(Fourth in a series.)

By Denis Whitaker

“The song ‘Some Other Time’ is full of emotion.
In wartime, it had a tremendously
poignant feeling.”
—Betty Comden

“To achieve great things two things are needed:
a plan, and not quite enough time.”

—Leonard Bernstein

The Patron Saint—Edward MacDowell

Link to the second article in the Lenny Bernstein series.

The Patron Saint—Edward MacDowell

(Third in a series.)

By Denis Whitaker

“If my music has been connected in people’s minds with America, if people find some reflection of the American spirit in my music, then certainly the Colony must have some of the credit.”
—Aaron Copland, in his acceptance speech
on Medal Day at the MacDowell Colony, 1961.

The Mentor—Aaron Copland

Link to the first article in the Lenny Bernstein series.

The Mentor—Aaron Copland (Second in a series.)

By Denis Whitaker

“You compose because you want to somehow summarize in some permanent form your most basic feelings about being alive, to set down… some sort of permanent statement about the way it feels to live now, today.”

“If a literary man puts together two words about music one of them will be wrong.”

“’Is there a meaning to music?’ My answer would be, ‘Yes.’ And ‘Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?’ My answer to that would be, ‘No.’”

Aaron Copland

Bernstein at 100. An appreciation.

First in a series.

By Denis Whitaker

“Darling, I have gone mad over your back muscles. 
You must come and have dinner with me.”
Tallulah Bankhead to Leonard Bernstein, after he conducted a concert at Tanglewood.  

“To be a success as a Broadway composer, 
you must be Jewish or gay. I’m both.” 
Leonard Bernstein