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Saturday, October 05, 2019

‘Leonard Bernstein at 100’ exhibit celebrates ‘complexity of the man’ | OregonLive

The traveling exhibit makes its final stop at the Oregon Jewish Museum in Portland through Jan. 26., says Amy Wang, The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The exhibit "Leonard Bernstein at 100" includes a video of the conductor at work alongside a display about his best-known work, "West Side Story."
Photo: Amy Wang/Staff
The man contained multitudes, says

Leonard Bernstein was a path-breaking composer who helped elevate American classical music on the international stage. He was a rock star of a conductor, a magnetic, ecstatic presence on the podium, with the looks to match. He was a gifted concert pianist, trained at a top music conservatory. He was a beloved teacher, sharing his passion for classical music through his "Young People's Concerts" television series, which ran for 14 years.

And he had a personal life straight out of a novel: pursuing a career in music despite his father's disapproval; marrying a stage and screen actress; embarking on affairs with men in an era when gay and bisexual people were still mostly closeted. His far-left politics – he and his wife made headlines after hosting a 1970 fundraiser for the Black Panthers – made him a target of the FBI and Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

No wonder Bob Santelli, curator of the exhibit "Leonard Bernstein at 100," said of his subject, "One of the things we were intrigued by, and I was almost overwhelmed by, was the complexity of the man."...

Santelli credited Judith Margles, executive director of the Oregon Jewish Museum, with scoring the exhibit for Portland, saying she and her staff impressed him with their professionalism, personalities and perseverance.

Margles said the exhibit was timely not only because of the centennial but also because “it really is an immigrant’s story” – Bernstein was the son of immigrants from Ukraine – and thus fits the current sociopolitical discourse. It’s also an ideal fit for the Portland museum because Bernstein grew up in a Jewish household and maintained his Jewish identity his entire life.

Source: OregonLive