Leonard Bernstein and IU School of Music forever linked

2013-06-07T00:00:00Z Leonard Bernstein and IU School of Music forever linkedTimes Staff nwitimes.com
June 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

In 1982, Leonard Bernstein spent six weeks at The Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University in Bloomington, the music conservatory established in 1921, and renamed in 2005 after the school received a $40.6 million gift from Barbara and David H. Jacobs.

Bernstein, the brilliant mind behind "West Side Story," made the school campus his "home" to work on his final opera, "A Quiet Place," a detail the composer and his family never forgot.

In 1987, Bernstein established the Leonard Bernstein Scholarship Fund at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music after winning the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, West Germany's most prestigious music award. He chose to use the prize money to further music education in the United States, donating two-thirds of the award to Indiana University. Today, the Leonard Bernstein Scholarship is awarded annually to music students at Indiana University.

Bernstein announced his retirement from conducting on Oct. 9, 1990 and died of a heart attack five days later. at the age of 72.

In 2009, the school received a gift from Bernstein's family that included the entire contents of Bernstein's Fairfield, Conn. conducting studio.

"In a real sense, Leonard Bernstein connected with our school and its leadership, and it is thrilling to know that the link with Indiana continues and is strengthened through this remarkable gesture," said Gwyn Richards, dean of the Jacobs School of Music.

Shortly after receiving the gift, a few items were placed on display in the lobby of the music school with plans announced in 2009 to recreate the Leonard Bernstein Studio for public display in the same arrangement as they existed in Bernstein's Fairfield, Conn., studio. Details said the space "will also be used as a teaching studio for distinguished guests, with most of the contents of the room available for students, faculty and the general public, who can examine the items that surrounded the great composer during a significant portion of his career and read through books and music scores that were given to the Jacobs School as part of separate gifts from the Bernstein family."

On Friday, Dean Richards' office at IU confirmed the plan remains the same, though no time frame for completion has been announced, as the school continues to concentrate on the transition moving into new building space, which will allow for the needed room for the Bernstein section.

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