Fri Feb 2
Daniel Callahan (Boston College)
"Bernstein Conducting Himself"
11:30 am, Gessler Hall (Room 116)
This colloquium explores the physicality of Leonard Bernstein’s conducting, including the role of sexuality from Bernstein’s and his critics’ perspectives. Bernstein, I suggest, understood conducting as an erotic transfer between a conductor and his musicians and audience. I demonstrate that Bernstein’s podium performances were deliberate choreographies, not spontaneous effusions accompanying a beat. His movements and affect often remained consistent between different performances of the same work across decades. I will highlight Bernstein’s conducting of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, including previously unseen footage of his final performance before his death. Bernstein’s conducting was shameless but carefully choreographed.