Leonard Bernstein’s Estate Explains Ties To The Totally Real Lydia Tar

Previously, in an earlier interview with the New Yorker, Field pointed out that Lydia’s claims of working under Leonard Bernstein as a teenager could be easily refuted anyway. Given Lydia’s age and the time of Bernstein’s death, the two could not have crossed paths, even if she was not fictional. Nonetheless, Field feels that the Bernstein Estate would happily back up Lydia’s lies anyway, given the positive publicity it would accrue. His exact words were: 

“It would be good for the Bernstein estate to let her lie about her association with Leonard Bernstein, even if she maybe never even studied with him, because the optics of that association would be very, very good, given that she’s a woman, given how Lenny’s life ended. […] But I don’t think she ever studied with Leonard Bernstein. If you look at the math — Lenny dies in what, 1990? When is she studying with Lenny Bernstein? I don’t think it happened.” 

Jamie, Alexander, and Nina Bernstein, the composer’s three children, wrote to the New Yorker, “incensed” that Todd Field would be so flip to dismiss Lydia Tár’s claims, saying: 

“In Michael Schulman’s interview with the director Todd Field, Field speculated that the fictional protagonist of his new movie, the conductor Lydia Tár, might have lied about studying with our father, Leonard Bernstein. As representatives of Bernstein’s estate, and in the spirit of the ongoing hubbub over the film, we can assure Field that his heroine was a teen-age prodigy whose talents were so formidable that she was granted special permission to be one of Bernstein’s conducting students at Tanglewood in the summer of 1990, during the final year of Bernstein’s life.”

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