Bernstein: The Making of West Side Story

Saturday 17 Nov 2018 - 8:00pm

Special Introduction by Tim Burden who will talk about Bernstein’s unique talent, his legacy and contribution to film and music. Watch this award-winning documentary with special introduction, and drink in hand, in the cool ambiance of the Nerve Centre Bar.

An award-winning look at the making of the recording of West Side Story, as Leonard Bernstein had originally wanted it to be. The documentary shows both Bernstein’s fiery side, when things aren’t going well, and shows his unique command of the orchestra, singers and the technicians when getting the recording balances in studio correct.

Performances featured from Kiri Te Kanawa, Tatiana Troyanos, Jose Carreras and Kurt Ollman and a New York session orchestra comprised of the best players in the city. 

Director Christopher Swann won a BAFTA Flaherty Documentary Award for the film. Christopher has sent the following personalised message re the film screening at this year's festival

'I am delighted that the Foyle Film Festival are showing this film as it changed my life professionally. It does, as Michael Kustow said when it won the Prix Italia, show in close up the 'kitchen sink' of music making. Having seen the film again recently it seems as vibrant and contemporary as it was when we made it over 30 years ago.

Nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.

“A still vivid documentary that captures an extraordinary event, warts and all. This isn’t just for leftover Bernstein groupies; it’s a fascinating record of a great composer/conductor‚ and a valuable reminder‚ if needed‚ that opera singers can find more in musicals than a sort of Elephant’s Graveyard.” -

TIM BURDEN is a film specialist, contributing to BBC Radio Ulster and Q Radio. Film music host for Poland's Transatlantyk Film Festival. Producer of film music concerts, including some for the Ulster Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Occasional host of audio and video features for the London Symphony Orchestra. Member of the International Film Music Critics Association and a board member of the Film Music Foundation.

Christopher Swann
West Germany
1hr 29mins