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Leonard Bernstein
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Paul R. Laird
Leonard Bernstein by Paul R. Laird at Abbey's Bookshop,

Leonard Bernstein

Paul R. Laird


Reaktion Books

Individual composers & musicians, bands & groups;
Biography: arts & entertainment


216 pages

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Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was one of twentieth-century music's most successful and recognisable figures. In a career spanning five decades he conducted many of the world's leading orchestras, and composed scores for landmark musicals such as Candide and West Side Story. Published to tie in with the 100th anniversary of Bernstein's birth, this engaging new biography provides a concise overview of the life and work of this prodigiously talented, fascinating and controversial musician.

By:   Paul R. Laird
Imprint:   Reaktion Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 200mm,  Width: 130mm, 
ISBN:   9781780239101
ISBN 10:   1780239106
Series:   Critical Lives
Pages:   216
Publication Date:   May 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Paul R. Laird is Professor of Musicology at the University of Kansas School of Music, where he has taught since 1994. His previous books include The Chichester Psalms of Leonard Bernstein (2010), with co-author Hsun Lin Leonard Bernstein: A Research and Information Guide (2015) and with co-editor William A. Everett The Cambridge Companion to the Musical (2017).

Laird's long immersion in the subject shows through in this book. . . . He is as well placed as anyone to write a new study of Bernstein's life and work. The present book gives a concise, clear-headed account of an immensely charismatic musician whose personal life Laird describes as 'difficult and messy.' . . . There is a lot to enjoy in Laird's book. His success is achieved through lucid presentation and through a depth of knowledge--lightly worn--from which to evaluate Bernstein's achievements. --Gramophone Reaktion's Critical Lives series has become a useful barometer for an artist's reputation. Experts, rather than journalists or jobbing biographers, take the temperature of some of the culture's leading figures in concise, un-sensationalist studies. . . . Laird offers a neatly filleted account of Bernstein's life and works. It is a calm if not entirely neutral supplement to the unwieldy and often controversial bibliography that now surrounds the composer. --Prospect Laird's enthusiasm for his subject, kindled in a student encounter touchingly recalled in the final pages, must have eased the difficult task of compressing a complex man and a hectic career as composer, conductor, and public figure into 175 pages of text. --BBC Music Magazine

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