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Lauren Bacall
A salute to Leonard Bernstein's birthday, courtesy of Lauren Bacall, Stephen Sondheim
A salute to Leonard Bernstein's birthday, courtesy of Lauren Bacall, Stephen Sondheim

For many of us, Leonard Bernstein will always loom large. The conductor/composer/mentor/mensch left an enormous mark not just on the classical music and theater worlds, but on the world, period. I owe a lot of my own views about music and, especially, music-making to Bernstein. Although I only met him once, and all too briefly, during a crazy evening that started at the Kennedy Center and ended up at the Watergate Hotel (no, silly, not that kind of evening), I came to feel that he was a part of my life somehow. Every time I heard him conduct, every time I heard one of his recordings, I felt he was talking to me. Silly, I know, but that's how it was -- how it still is. Bernstein,...

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