Did Leonard Bernstein’s Spouse Discover He had been Gay?

Did Leonard Bernstein’s Spouse Discover He had been Gay?

Tunes try Bernstein’s most useful and most lingering passion. However, his love lifetime naiset Intian was a significant part from their create-upwards, and his emails allow us to setting a fuller picture of an emotional lifetime that has been loaded with twists and you may converts – neatly contribution: “Clearly, he had been at ease with getting sexual in many means and you will yet , he desired a traditional lives, having a wife and students so you can exactly who he was faithful. He had been an intricate, complex man, and you may advanced individuals have state-of-the-art individual lives.” step 1 Intriguing given that letters come from those people (constantly men) which have exactly who Bernstein had dating for the 1940s, I’ve chosen alternatively to focus on Bernstein’s very own ideas to help you their sexuality, and its effects to have their field. Inside the correspondence that have Copland and you can David Oppenheim particularly, and in specific letters so you can their sister Shirley and Diamond, the guy examines his sexual label, have a tendency to sharing your state of confusion and you can inner dispute. Toward one hand, their records inculcated old-fashioned thinking and you may matchmaking – at some point marriage; on the other side, his choices on the 1940s was always for males. Just after his college training was basically over, the guy first started something from self-exploration to the psychoanalyst the guy called the “Frau” – Marketa Morris. Once we are able to see using their letters, he common a similar specialist that have Oppenheim (which have whom Bernstein got a virtually, positively close relationships during the early 1940s; the relationship are lifelong).

Immediately following a shaky begin (mainly due to Bernstein’s initially tendency to esteem relationship while the a beneficial version of experiment), the connection regarding Leonard and you can Felicia flourished – instance after Jamie, the first of the college students, grew up in 1952

It’s no wonder that Bernstein remained quiet dedicated to their sexuality within the characters so you’re able to Koussevitzky – up until, that’s, the guy proudly established 1st engagement to Felicia within the December 1946, suggesting a picture of his sexuality which was at the best partial. Bernstein himself is stressed you to their sex lifestyle may have a beneficial ruining effect on his a career prospects, dreading he might have difficulty interested in a career because the an effective conductor whether it turned understood that he try gay.

It is well worth pausing for a moment to take on this new cultural and you can societal framework you to provided Bernstein such as concern about exactly how anyone else you’ll view his sexuality. Of a lot American psychoanalysts throughout the 1930s and you may 1940s considered homosexuality so you’re able to become a mental disease which will address “treatment”. The analysis from the Alfred Kinsey while others authored in 1948 due to the fact Sexual Choices about Human Male (the first “Kinsey Statement”) tried to codify amounts of homosexual, heterosexual, and you can asexual choices for the dudes with the “Kinsey Level”, seeking to demonstrate that guys don’t fit into clean and exclusive kinds. 2

There is a great predictably violent response to Kinsey’s findings: among others, J. Edgar Vacuum cleaner, movie director of the FBI, is actually brief to denounce the brand new conclusions on the users away from Reader’s Digest: “Mans sense of decency announces what is normal and what is maybe not. As soon as the Western anyone, younger or dated, started to believe that there is no such point because the best or completely wrong, typical or unusual, those who perform ruin society will applaud a major winnings more our very own life.” step three Simply put, homosexuality, instance communism, try “Un-American”. A couple of years later on, within the ed Senate Panel on Costs regarding the Exec Divisions approved a review of this new “Employment away from Homosexuals or any other Sex Perverts inside Regulators,” arriving at the hair on your head-increasing conclusion you to “homosexuals or any other sex perverts are not right people is involved in Regulators for a few reasons; basic, they are usually a bad, and you may 2nd, they constitute cover risks.” 4

Bernstein wasn’t, definitely, seeking a career from the regulators, however, he craved greeting. Discover little good proof to indicate one to conductors just weren’t appointed to particular ranking because of their homosexuality in the 1940s and you will 1950s, no matter if Dimitri Mitropoulos apparently sensed he was victimized. But a few of the most well liked rates regarding arts was basically homosexuals, not the very least Aaron Copland, who had, because of the middle-1940s, get to be the hottest and you may distinctive sound within the American classical songs. Bernstein, but not, aspired getting the music movie director out-of a major Western orchestra and you will felt– correctly or wrongly – that he needed seriously to demonstrate he had been a normal, old-fashioned members of the family man. Despite Bernstein’s repeated protestations that he craved the more individual lifestyle regarding an author (where his sexuality do not have become problematic), he might never let wade out-of performing just like the an important part out-of their profession.

Exactly what the guy don’t need to worry about normally is the brand new you are able to perception his sexuality might have into his marriage – at the very least less much as their chose mate, Felicia Montealegre, are worried. She realized what she is actually committing herself in order to: just after it married, she authored: “you are a beneficial homosexual and you may ready to accept you since you try, without being a good martyr or losing myself into the L.B. altar (Letter 320).”

A particularly bright youngster, it’s obvious from Bernstein’s characters family exactly how much he cherished her. The same love shines compliment of in Bernstein’s statements towards the most of the his pupils (Jamie, Alexander, and you will Nina); with his sheer devotion so you can Felicia are noticeable in several letters on very early 1950s through to the middle-70s. It was a romance that had its rocky times, but only with the brand new drama away from 1976 in addition to their “trial breakup” made it happen threaten to-fall aside. At the conclusion of their lifestyle, Bernstein joked in order to Jonathan Cott you to definitely “need love, which is the reason why We have ten thousand personal nearest and dearest which is unfair on them as I am unable to offer any one of all of them everything”. 5 However for a-quarter off a good century, Felicia try the fresh exclusion: she are truly the greatest passion for his lives.

step 1. Dougary, Ginny (2010): “Leonard Bernstein: Charismatic, Arrogant – and a Father,” The changing times (London), 13 February. Online variation at , accessed .

Martin (1948): Sexual Conclusion on the Person Male

4. That it report are reprinted inside the Promote, Thomas A great., ed. (2013): Recording Intimate Things: Prierica. Chicago: School away from il Push, pp. 144–7. Centered on an article mention (p. 144): “Significantly more homosexuals than just communists was in fact fired of government jobs contained in this several months [brand new 1950s].”

Regarding Leonard Bernstein Letters of the Leonard Bernstein, edited from the Nigel Simeone. Authored by Yale University Press inside the 2014. Reproduced with permission.

Nigel Simeone known because a writer and you can speaker into sounds which is the author many books plus Leonard Bernstein: West Front Facts. He resides in Northamptonshire, British.