Concert halls are filled with the music of Leonard Bernstein this season, for we are in an “anniversary year”: the centennial of Bernstein’s birth. He was born on August 25, 1918, and died on October 14, 1990 (at seventy-two). Anniversaries are virtually the organizing principle of the music business. I have long complained of “anniversaryitis”—but there are worse afflictions, true.

New York is especially Bernstein-mad. The composer spent his career in this city, though he was born and raised in Massachusetts. He wrote, among many other things, “New York, New York,” that catchy song from On the Town (you know which town). It’s practically an anthem of the city. The New York Philharmonic asserts particular ownership of Bernstein, as well it might: he was the orchestra’s music director from 1958 to 1969,...

 

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