Happy Birthday, Leonard Bernstein!

August 25, 2013 is the 95th birthday anniversary of the brilliant Leonard Bernstein. A charismatic and versatile musician, Bernstein attained international super-star status in his lifetime. The Leonard Bernstein Letters, edited by Nigel Simeone, reveals  the breadth of Bernstein’s musical interests, his constant struggle to find the time to compose, his turbulent and complex sexuality, his political activities, and his endless capacity for hard work.

To find the words to celebrate the birthday of this gifted and complex man, we look to “The Voice” Frank Sinatra, who wrote to Bernstein on his 70th birthday.

635. Frank Sinatra to Leonard Bernstein

[Reno, NV]

25 August 1988

Dear Genius,

Happy Birthday!

You are one of the few who deserves everything warm and wonderful that will be said about you on this marvelous occasion of reaching what Abe Lincoln would have called 3 score and ten.

And I think it’s sensational this big bash in your honor is being held at your beloved Tanglewood in the shade of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Be assured, Lenny, that between songs here in Reno, where I am performing tonight, I raise a toast in your honor, in gratitude for all you have done for the musical world which bows towards you in appreciation this day, and for all you have done for the personal world I alone inhabit and which is a far better place because of your friendship, which I will always cherish.

Happy Birthday, young man. I can hardly wait for your next seventy.

Warmest hugs,

Francis Albert


Letters by Leonard Bernstein © Amberson Holdings LLC. Used by permission of The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc. All rights reserved.

1 Discussion on “Happy Birthday, Leonard Bernstein!”
  • idle wish, because of my incapacity at age 88 to actually get past technjcs out here in cyberspave, but wishing i actually to forward to my beloved once-teen wrjter, maria von nicolai, my memory of her, escorting leonard bernstekn two \blocks from hotel in winston-salem, n.c. tl n.c. school of ats downtown theatre for decjation of that theatre—and bernstein’s reaching uo to low-hanging blossoms of a cherry tree over the sidealk and exuberantly stuffing a handful of cherry blossoms into h
    a lapel pocket of his jacket! ah maria maria maria. ….what are we going to DO abiut Maria!!!! and you, again, Maria Maria, at dinner one evening long ago, you two,, you and Nancy Sinatra. These boots were made for walking… : – ) maria the beautiful in endless ways daughter if Ekeinire, suoerb German actress for some 20 hears on the German stage, whoma all of us at the N.C. School of the Artts at Winston-Sakem loved so much, for some 13 years now in repose in a family bhjrial area in a cemetery at hamburg, Germany.. There is a song entitled “Memories Are Made of Such things as This”???!!!! And now, a 30th year high school reunion a’coming…you, dear Maria to whom I turned with fierce exuktation in that new red Ferrari that day long ago, and demanded: “HIT IT!” and verifly you DID hit it catapaulting us down that ramp onto i-40…..and the seas of humanity parted Out There… and isn’t life SO extraorinary!!! almost as if it could never really be true. maybe like poet pke wrting” “Is ;ife but a dream within a dream>>>>?!!!!

    yr obnt srvnt,
    qjixote de bergerac.
    so never enohgh, already! this my letter to the world in tribute to life, you, and beloved actress Julie Harris of cape cod, once a, as also in a dream, a dear friend and when visiting winston-salem, whom we have just lost in death at age 87….herslef an unassuming dedicated in mission in theatre….ah DearJulie we and the world will long live in the shadow of your great illumination in this world!
    yr obnt srvnt

    aka quixote de bergerac

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