REVIEW: Leonard Bernstein, a Family Remembrance at La Jolla SummerFest

San Diego Story
Ken Herman
August 10, 2018

Even if the classical music community were not observing Leonard Bernstein’s centennial year, Nina Bernstein Simmons’ program “Late Night with Leonard Bernstein” would have provided a well-spent evening. The late musician’s youngest daughter narrated an affectionate memoir of her father, expanded with performances of a cache of Bernstein’s shorter, earlier compositions and other music he loved performed on the Conrad Prebys Concert Hall stage by pianists John Musto and Michael Boriskin and soprano Amy Burton.

For the daughter, “late night” meant either Bernstein taking command of rollicking Manhattan parties, playing and improvising at the piano for a roomful of adoring guests into the wee hours of the morning or the solitary composer working late at his craft with no one to distract him. For those of us who know more than a little of the Bernstein biography, “late night with Leonard Bernstein” conjures other activities, although none of these crept into the narrative, even by oblique allusion.