Leonard Bernstein, Reaching for the Note

A comprehensive, insightful and evocative portrait of Leonard Bernstein, considered by many to be the most influential musical force of the 20th century. This exceptional documentary covers it all: Bernstein’s childhood in Boston, the son of Jewish immigrant parents from Russia; his surprisingly late entry into the world of music; his meteoric rise to fame as a brilliant pianist, conductor and composer under such mentors as Fritz Reiner, Serge Koussevitzky and Aaron Copland; and his indisputable place as America’s leading musical ambassador around the world. Not merely an absorbing look at the arc of Lenny’s career at all stages of his life (on the Broadway stage and in the classical realm), the film is rich in analysis and commentary, offering a revealing look at the significant Jewish threads that were evident throughout Lenny’s life. The film includes archival footage and interviews with such luminaries as Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Lukas Foss, and many others (including Bernstein’s brother Burton, and Lenny’s own three children). Reaching for the Note is a moving portrayal of the life and work of a larger-than-life genius, who was not without his demons and disappointments, but who was bursting with exuberance, incredible talent, and a passionate need to communicate both his love of music and his desire to make the world a better place. http://www.tjff.com/film-info.php?id=404

117 minutes

Shown at

  1. 19th Toronto Jewish Film Festival - 2011

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