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Audio Slideshow: Leonard Bernstein at Work

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This feature first ran in 2010. We revive it in honor of Bernstein's 97th birth anniversary on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Steve J. Sherman is a familiar face to concertgoers in New York, not as a performer, but as the city's most prominent concert photographer. From mid-1980s until 2000, he was on call seven nights a week to document concerts for the New York Times. In roughly that same period he was the official house photographer for Carnegie Hall, where he continues to work frequently.

One of Sherman's most famous subjects has been Leonard Bernstein. His photographs of the iconic conductor and composer are featured in a new book called Leonard Bernstein at Work: His Final Years, 1984-1990. He tells Jeff Spurgeon about its genesis:


Steve Sherman narrates a selection of images from Leonard Bernstein at Work:

Leonard Bernstein in a Carnegie Hall dressing room, November 17, 1985.
Leonard Bernstein in a Carnegie Hall dressing room, November 17, 1985.

 

 

( Steve J. Sherman )
With Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman.
With Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman.



With Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman

( Steve J. Sherman )
New York Philharmonic in Avery Fisher Hall; November 26, 1985.
New York Philharmonic in Avery Fisher Hall; November 26, 1985.

 

 

( Steve J. Sherman )
New York Philharmonic in Central Park; August 4, 1986.
New York Philharmonic in Central Park; August 4, 1986.

 

 

( Steve J. Sherman )
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Carnegie Hall; September 24, 1987.
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Carnegie Hall; September 24, 1987.



Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Carnegie Hall; September 24, 1987

( Steve J. Sherman )
When it came time for Leonard Bernstein to rehearse, he appeared onstage draped in Nell Carter's purple boa and wearing shades, to the surprise and delight of everyone present.
When it came time for Leonard Bernstein to rehearse, he appeared onstage draped in Nell Carter's purple boa and wearing shades, to the surprise and delight of everyone present.

 

 

( Steve J. Sherman )
Irving Berlin 100th birthday gala concert. L-R: Madeline Kahn, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Leonard Bernstein, Shirley MacLaine, Walter Cronkite, Isaac Stern, Marilyn Horne, and Tony Bennett.
Irving Berlin 100th birthday gala concert. L-R: Madeline Kahn, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Leonard Bernstein, Shirley MacLaine, Walter Cronkite, Isaac Stern, Marilyn Horne, and Tony Bennett.



Irving Berlin 100th birthday gala concert. L-R: Madeline Kahn, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Leonard Bernstein, Shirley MacLaine, Walter Cronkite, Isaac Stern, Marilyn Horne, and Tony Bennett.

( Steve J. Sherman )
Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Avery Fisher Hall; June 24, 1988.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Avery Fisher Hall; June 24, 1988.



Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Avery Fisher Hall; June 24, 1988

( Steve J. Sherman )
Leonard Bernstein smokes a cigarette at Avery Fisher Hall, June 24, 1988.
Leonard Bernstein smokes a cigarette at Avery Fisher Hall, June 24, 1988.



Leonard Bernstein smokes a cigarette in Avery Fisher Hall, June 24, 1988.

( Steve J. Sherman )
Conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, March 7, 1990. Bernstein's last performance at Carnegie Hall, and his last in New York.
Conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, March 7, 1990. Bernstein's last performance at Carnegie Hall, and his last in New York.



Conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, March 7, 1990. Bernstein's last performance at Carnegie Hall, and his last in New York.

( Steve J. Sherman )
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