Leonard Bernstein: An American Musician (Jewish Lives)
A fresh appreciation of the great musical figure that gives him his due as composer as well as conductor Leonard Bernstein stood at the epicenter of twentieth-century American musical life. His creative gifts knew no boundaries as he moved easily from the podium, to the piano, to television with his nationally celebrated Young People’s Concerts, which introduced an entire generation to the joy of classical music. In this fascinating new biography, the breadth of Bernstein’s musical composition is explored, through the spectacular range of music he composed-from West Side Story to Kaddish to A Quiet Place and beyond-and through his intensely public role as an internationally celebrated conductor. For the first time, the composer’s life and work receive a fully integrated analysis, offering a comprehensive appreciation of a multi-faceted musician who continued to grow as an artist well into his final days.
About the Author
Allen Shawn is a composer, pianist, educator, and author who lives in Vermont and teaches composition and music history at Bennington College. His previous books include Arnold Schoenberg’s Journey and Twin: A Memoir.
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On the eve of the Great War, they had the world at – and watching – their feet. If God is in the details, they were divine. Vernon and Irene Castle were the world’s first true celebrity couple. He was the son of a pub landlord from Norfolk, she, his wife and dance partner, a New York doctor’s daughter. He was tall and slim, as poised as an elegant evening out, a template for the Hollywood idols who would follow. In a staid age, she was a glorious, modern beauty, with her haired cropped into a ‘shock’, a disdain for crippling corsets, a love of a martini and a good time. The Castles taught the world to dance to an altogether different tune, bringing social dancing out of stuffy ballrooms and into dance halls, night clubs and restaurants. For the first time, they made dancing in public respectable – and fun. Convention was discarded, fashion and style established. As a result, the couple lived and tangoed through torrential showers of stardust. When, in 1939, Hollywood filmed their story, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers played, and danced, the title roles. Together, they beat the censors and made their vibrant dancing acceptable for all. In the fashionable quarters of New York they opened a dance school and night clubs to which Society flocked. They broke the rules by touring with black musicians, and led the way forward to the Charleston-galloping Gatsby Generation. They enlightened and enchanted from London to Paris to New York, spreading a breathless joy, as though their music had one note, and their dances one step, too many. Launching one racy dance craze after another, they taught the world to dance – and often dress – the way we do today. Adored and acclaimed, they were stars long before the celebrity constellations grew crowded. Yet the whirlwind story of perhaps the most influential dance team ever is also one of tragedy. Their timing, so perfect in everything else, saw Vernon Castle, at the height of their fame, return to England to enlist in the Royal Flying Corps; he saw action as a pilot on the Western Front, winning the Croix de Guerre, while his wife made special appearances to support the Allied war effort. And then, in February1918, he was killed in a flying accident in Texas, while training American pilots for war. Irene received a last note from him: ‘When you receive this letter I shall be gone out of your sweet life. You may be sure that I died with your sweet name on my lips – be brave and don’t cry, my angel.’ She and many others did cry, for as far as the world was concerned Vernon and Irene Castle could have danced all night, and for ever.
About the Author
Douglas Thompson is the acclaimed author of more than twenty books, many of them bestselling biographies, including working with Christine Keeler to write her own revealing memoir. A biographer, broadcaster and international journalist, he is a regular contributor to major newspapers and magazines worldwide. Douglas is a director of one of Britain’s major literary festivals, and divides his time between a medieval Suffolk village and California, where he was based as a Fleet Street correspondent and columnist for more than twenty years. His most recent work for John Blake Publishing is Stephen Ward: Scapegoat, a study of the rakish charmer at the centre of the Profumo Scandal.
About the Author
John Van Wyhe is a historian of science and one of the world’s leading experts on Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. He is a Fellow of Tembusu College, National University of Singapore, and a Senior Lecturer in the Departments of History and Biological Sciences.
Busty babe Holly Hagan has had viewers of Geordie Shore glued to their screens ever since her arrival in the first series. Fed up with her dead end job at a call centre, and with dreams of being a star one day, Holly applied for a new reality TV show. She couldn’t know it was to catapult her into fame and make her one of the most recognisable faces on British TV. Fame and fortune, though, came at a price – the road from the call centre to the celebrity circuit has been far from smooth. For the first time, Holly is lifting the lid on the perks and perils she’s faced ever since her topless hot tub antics shocked the nation. Holly owes her success to a very simple change of look, which involved both a new bottle of red hair dye and a new found confidence. Ever since then, audiences have been in stitches as they watch Holly (and her flame-red hair) flirt her way around Newcastle’s famed ‘Diamond Strip’ and places further afield such as Magaluf, Cancun and Australia. In this action-packed, revealing, funny and sometimes heart-breaking memoir, Holly recounts her life in and out of the limelight with brutal honesty – from her childhood days when she was badly bullied, her shocking take on sex and dating, her liaison with bad-boy musician Frankie Cocozza and what really goes on behind-the-scenes on the UK’s biggest reality TV show. Filled with genuinely touching stories and inside accounts of what they don’t show you on TV, Holly has laid herself bare, first physically and now emotionally. If you think you know all there is to know about Holly from Geordie Shore, think again.
About the Author
Holly Hagan is best known for her role on the reality TV show “Geordie Shore.” Prior to this, Holly was an administrative officer at HM Revenue Tax Office, and a loan adviser at Santander.
Abridged from Lee Kuan Yew: A Life in Pictures, this book features private and public pictures of Lee. It includes some new photos as well as photos from his later years. They were chosen for their strength and quality, and edited to fit into the chronology of Lee’s life.
STEPHANIE YEOW joined The Straits Times in 1995 as a photojournalist. She became the paper’s Picture Editor in 2012.