The Man Called Leonard Bernstein

558 WordsJan 27, 20182 Pages
Leonard Bernstein was born in Massachusetts to Ukrainian Jewish parents in 1918 and was commissioned to write a Catholic mass. Political and religious unrest was rife in the life of Leonard Bernstein during the 1960s and 1970s while he worked on his composition entitled Mass: A Theater Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers (later shortened to Mass). Mass was commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy in 1966 to celebrate the opening of the Opera House at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Mass was expected to celebrate the mass as Catholic ritual, John F. Kennedy as president, and the Kennedy center itself. Bernstein began working on Mass during the summer of 1969, three years after he was commissioned to compose it. Due to his busy schedule and inability to write the show right away, the opening of the Kennedy Center was delayed multiple times, and Mass was not premiered until September 8th, 1971, a long five years after he was commissioned to write it. The premiere of Mass was a long awaited five years, but it is important to talk about events that took place years before the premiere. Bernstein had a few brushes with McCarthyism and he had issues with the “witch-hunt” that took place in the summer of 1953. The US State Department refused to renew his passport due to thoughts of Bernstein having connections to communism. This incident is one of many that put Bernstein in the sights of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). In 1958, Bernstein and Vice President
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