Friday 9 February 2018: 7-30pm

Farnham Methodist Church, GU9 7RN

Matthew Taylor on Leonard Bernstein

 2018 marks the hundredth anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth.

“Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.”
– Leonard Bernstein


Matthew Taylor portrait-5

Local composer Matthew Taylor will give an illustrated talk about Bernstein, composer and conductor. Matthew met and studied with Bernstein and this evening will be a tribute to his mentor.


My Father’s Idealism

by Jamie Bernstein

My father, Leonard Bernstein, grew up in a world of stark political contrasts. From the Depression to Roosevelt and the New Deal, from Nazism to World War II and the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima, young Bernstein witnessed a world full of evil that was occasionally tempered by powerful forces of good. In the mid-1960’s, just as life and public justice in America seemed to be making some progress, Bernstein and his contemporaries found themselves swept up in the upheavals of three devastating assassinations: President John F. Kennedy in 1963, and then five years later, Rev. Martin Luther King and President Kennedy’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy. And then there was yet another long and wounding war, in Vietnam.

Through it all, my father clung hard to the belief that by creating beauty, and by sharing it with as many people as possible, artists had the power to tip the earthly balance in favor of brotherhood and peace. After all, he reasoned, if humans could create and appreciate musical harmony, then surely they were capable of replicating that very same harmony in the world they lived in.

Leonard Bernstein was not shy about sharing his political beliefs with the world. Nor was he afraid of the various epithets — liberal, Jew, antiwar, radical chic, commie-pinko-queer — which over the years stuck to him like burrs on his coattails. He spoke out and fought doggedly for the causes he believed in. He donated fees, wrote letters and campaign songs, even entire musical works, in order to communicate his fervent hope for a better world.

And no, Leonard Bernstein did not always act prudently. His passion sometimes got the best of his logic. But when he conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Berlin on Christmas Day, 1989, to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall, the feeling that he had attempted to convey all his life was at its most palpable: that if enough hearts would open themselves to the beauty of great music, there would be no room left in any of those hearts for evil, greed or hate.

Shortly after President Kennedy’s assassination, my father said: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Since that time, there have been all too many occasions on which to cite that quotation again. Yet each time it is reprinted or uttered, that statement provides the same gleam of comfort and all-embracing optimism that my father conveyed to the world during his lifetime, through his every note and act.


Parents and teachers may attend FREE if they bring children who need to be accompanied (typically under 16 years).

All 8-25 year olds FREE thanks to CAVATINA if they enter their name and date of birth on a form at the door – no advance notice needed .

We do not issue physical tickets for the concerts in Farnham but record advance payments and check names on the door.

Refreshments are free but we invite donations of £2-50 for wine and 50p for juice towards the costs. (£1 towards drinks and cakes when at Farnham Methodist where wine is not available)
You can pay before the date of the concert by credit card using PayPal by clicking one of the following links (you can adjust the number of tickets needed in the Paypal shopping cart).
You do not need to have a PayPal account:

BUY TICKET at £9-00 (special price for this concert)

Tickets on the door cost £12-00 (special price for this concert)

This concert is a special arrangement and is not included in the season ticket

Alternatively you can download, complete and post the Booking Form (address on form) with a cheque.
0300 201 0070 or 01252 613130