Barry Seldes


On his book Leonard Bernstein: The Political Life of an American Musician

Cover Interview of October 06, 2009


I want to see this book as making a contribution not only to our understanding of Leonard Bernstein, but to see in him a case in the larger study of the confluences and transactions between the arts and the forces that govern the social order.

There are a number of such studies, e.g., on Dimitri Shostakovich, on Aaron Copland, and another, forthcoming, on Bernstein’s theatrical works by a politically-informed musicologist.

I’d like to see other such studies that will indicate the relative porosity or supposed impregnability of the boundaries that nominally separate the aesthetic from the socio-political realms.  Such understanding will illuminate the ways in which social forces condition individual thinking and acting, and thereby constitute our very beings.

© 2009 Barry Seldes