Dinner With Lenny by Jonathan Cott

Towards the end of his life, famed composer, pianist, and conductor, Leonard Bernstein, rarely gave interviews. When a young Jonathan Cott requested an interview with the maestro for a story to appear in Rolling Stones magazine, he was certain Bernstein would decline his request. Fortunately, Bernstein was impressed with the writings of Cott and in November of 1989, a year before his death, invited him to dinner at his home.

In what is noted as Bernsteins last major interview, Cott has presented the key moments in his twelve hour conversation with the composer. Immediately, the reader is drawn in by the eccentric personality of Bernstein. He speaks with a passion and confidence that demands to be listened to. Over the course of the interview, the two discuss everything from Bernstein's acclaimed career as a world-renowned musician to the intimate details of his florid love affairs.

The book opens with a short biography of Bernstein. In this section, we are told about his first encounter with a piano, his appointment as conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and his rise as a world renowned musician. The interview itself is only about 165 pages, but is packed with overflowing emotional and informational content. After completing this interview, it is apparent that Bernstein lived his life by completely giving himself to everything he did. The personalities of both Bernstein and Cott make this a quick and insightful read that is accessible to anyone who chooses to read it.

For more information, visit the publisher's website, Amazon, and Good Reads.

(2013: week 1, book 1)

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6 Responses to “Dinner With Lenny by Jonathan Cott”

  1. Thanks, Ethan! As I indicated in my comments on the Amazon site citing the value of your review, I had heard about this book, but feared that the interview would be rather superficial. I was pleased to learn from your review that the interview is actually quite substantial, containing a lot of information about Bernstein who is apparently quite insightful in his comments! I'd love to win the book: I'm at abeck01@snet.net

  2. Hi Ethan,

    I read the review on Amazon and marked it as helpful. Thanks for the giveaway of this great book. Best wishes in 2013. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  3. I marked the review as helpful, this book sounds pretty interesting.


  4. Congratulations to Carl! He will receive a copy of "Dinner with Lenny" by Jonathan Cott. Thanks to everyone who entered this contest and especially to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel. Be sure to check back for more exciting giveaways

  5. I am really enjoying this book, and going to use it in my magazine writing classes, because it shows a journalist at work in bringing a very complicated and brilliant guy to the page. I knew a little about Leonard Bernstein back when he was alive, but I hadn't really read anything that brought together all of the entirety of his work, personality and life philosophy. This book really does this.

  6. Oh gosh, I absolutely have to read this book. Thanks so much for posting about it!


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