and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. According to The New York Times
, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."
His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic
, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, and from his music for West Side Story
, as well as Candide
, Wonderful Town
, On the Town and his own Mass
Bernstein was also the first conductor to give numerous television lectures on classical music, starting in 1954, continuing until his death.
To composer Ned Rorem: The trouble with you and me, Ned, is that we want everyone in the world to personally love us, and of course that's impossible: you just don't meet everyone in the world.
Any great work of art ... revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world — the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air.
Elvis is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything: music, language, clothes, it's a whole new social revolution — the 60's comes from it.
Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long.
To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.
To be a success as a Broadway composer, you must be Jewish or gay. I'm both.
and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. According to The New York Times
, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."
His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic
, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, and from his music for West Side Story
, as well as Candide
, Wonderful Town
, On the Town and his own Mass
Bernstein was also the first conductor to give numerous television lectures on classical music, starting in 1954, continuing until his death. In addition, he was a skilled pianist, often conducting piano concertos from the keyboard.
As a composer he was prolific, writing symphonies, ballet music, operas, chamber music, pieces for the piano, other orchestral and choral works, and other concert and incidental music, but the tremendous success of West Side Story
remained unequaled by his other compositions.
Early lifeHe was born Louis Bernstein in Lawrence, Massachusetts
, the son of Ukrainian Jewish parents Jennie (née Resnick) and Samuel Joseph Bernstein, a hair-dressing supplies wholesaler originating from Rovno (now Ukraine
). Despite his surname he was not related to film composer Elmer Bernstein
, but the two men were friends, and even shared a certain physical similarity. Within the world of professional music, they were distinguished from each other by the use of the nicknames Bernstein West (Elmer) and Bernstein East (Leonard).
His family spent their summers at their vacation home in Sharon, Massachusetts. His grandmother insisted that his first name be Louis, but his parents always called him Leonard
, which they preferred. He officially changed his name to Leonard when he was fifteen, shortly after his grandmother's death. To his friends and many others he was simply known as "Lenny."
His father, Sam Bernstein, was a businessman and owner of a bookstore in downtown Lawrence; it is standing today on the corners of Amesbury and Essex Streets. Sam initially opposed young Leonard's interest in music. Despite this, the elder Bernstein took him to orchestra concerts in his teenage years and eventually supported his music education. At a very young age, Bernstein listened to a piano performance and was immediately captivated; he subsequently began learning the piano seriously when the family acquired his cousin Lillian Goldman's unwanted piano. As a child, Bernstein attended the Garrison Grammar School and Boston Latin School
. As a child he was very close to his younger sister Shirley, and would often play entire operas or Beethoven symphonies with her at the piano. He had a variety of piano teachers in his youth including Helen Coates who later became his secretary.
After graduation from Boston Latin School in 1935, Bernstein attended Harvard University
, where he studied music with, amongst others, Edward Burlingame Hill
and Walter Piston
, the author of many harmony and counterpoint textbooks. Although he majored in music with a final year thesis (1939) entitled "The Absorption of Race Elements into American Music" (reproduced in his book Findings), Bernstein's main intellectual influence at Harvard was probably the aesthetics Professor David Prall, whose multidisciplinary outlook on the arts Bernstein shared for the rest of his life. One of his friends at Harvard was philosopher Donald Davidson
, with whom he played piano four hands. Bernstein wrote and conducted the musical score for the production Davidson mounted of Aristophanes
' play The Birds
in the original Greek. Bernstein reused some of this music in the ballet Fancy Free. During his time at Harvard he was briefly an accompanist for the Harvard Glee Club
. Bernstein also mounted a student production of The Cradle Will Rock
, directing its action from the piano as the composer Marc Blitzstein
had done at the premiere. Blitzstein, who heard about the production, subsequently became a friend and influence (both musically and politically) on Bernstein.
Bernstein also met the conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos at this time. Although he never taught Bernstein, Mitropoulos's charisma and power as a musician was a major influence on Bernstein's eventual decision to take up conducting. Mitropoulos was not stylistically that similar to Bernstein, but he probably influenced some of Bernstein's later habits such as his conducting from the keyboard, his initial practice of conducting without a baton and perhaps his interest in Mahler. The other important influence that Bernstein first met during his Harvard years was composer Aaron Copland
, whom he met at a concert and then at a party afterwards on Copland's birthday in 1938. At the party Bernstein played Copland's Piano Variations, a thorny work Bernstein loved without knowing anything about its composer until that evening. Although he was not formally Copland's student as such, Bernstein would regularly seek advice from Copland in the following years about his own compositions and would often cite him as "his only real composition teacher".
After completing his studies at Harvard in 1939 (graduating with a B.A. cum laude), he enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music
in Philadelphia. During his time at Curtis, Bernstein studied conducting with Fritz Reiner
(who anecdotally is said to have given Bernstein the only "A grade" he ever awarded), piano with Isabelle Vengerova
, orchestration with Randall Thompson
, counterpoint with Richard Stöhr
, and score reading with Renée Longy Miquelle. Unlike his years at Harvard, Bernstein appears to not to have much enjoyed the formal training environment of Curtis, although often in later life he would mention Reiner when discussing his important teachers.
and often accompanied Green, Betty Comden
and Judy Holliday
in a comedy troupe called The Reviewers who performed in Greenwich Village. He took jobs with a music publisher, transcribing music or producing arrangements under the pseudonym Lenny Amber (the German meaning of his name in English). During this period in New York City, Bernstein enjoyed an exuberant social life that included relationships with both men and women. In 1940, Bernstein began his study at the Boston Symphony Orchestra
's summer institute, Tanglewood
, in the conducting class of the orchestra's conductor, Serge Koussevitzky
Bernstein's friendships with Copland (who was very close to Koussevitsky) and Mitropoulos were important in him being recommended for a place in the class. Other students in the class included Lukas Foss
who also became a lifelong friend. Koussevitsky perhaps did not teach Bernstein much basic conducting technique (which he had already developed under Reiner), but instead became a sort of father figure to him, and was perhaps the major influence on Bernstein's emotional way of interpreting music. Bernstein later became Koussevitzky's conducting assistant and would later dedicate his second symphony, "The Age of Anxiety
", to him.
On November 14, 1943, having recently been appointed assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, he made his major conducting debut at sudden notice—and without any rehearsal—after Bruno Walter
came down with the flu. The next day, The New York Times carried the story on their front page and their editorial remarked, "It's a good American success story. The warm, friendly triumph of it filled Carnegie Hall and spread far over the air waves." He became instantly famous because the concert was nationally broadcast, and afterwards started to appear as a guest conductor with many US orchestras. The program included works by Schumann
, Miklos Rozsa
, Wagner and Richard Strauss
's Don Quixote
with soloist Joseph Schuster, solo cellist of the orchestra. Before the concert Bernstein briefly spoke to Bruno Walter, who discussed particular difficulties in the works he was to perform. It is possible to hear this concert (apart from the Wagner work) on a recording of the CBS radio broadcast that has been issued on CD by the orchestra.
. The orchestra (with support from the Mayor) was aimed at a different audience with more modern programs and cheaper tickets than the New York Philharmonic.
In addition to becoming known as a conductor, Bernstein also emerged as a composer in the same period. In January 1944 he conducted the premiere of his Jeremiah Symphony
in Pittsburgh. His score to the ballet Fancy Free choreographed by Jerome Robbins
opened in New York in April 1944 and this was later developed into the musical On the Town with lyrics by Comden and Green that opened on Broadway in December 1944.
After World War II, Bernstein's career on the international stage began to flourish. In 1946 he made his first trip to Europe conducting various orchestras and recorded Ravel's Piano Concerto in G as soloist and conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra
. In 1946, he conducted opera for the first time, with the American première at Tanglewood of Benjamin Britten
's Peter Grimes
, which had been a Koussevitzky commission. That same year, Arturo Toscanini
invited Bernstein to guest conduct two concerts with the NBC Symphony Orchestra
, one of which again featured Bernstein as soloist in the Ravel concerto.
In 1947, Bernstein conducted in Tel Aviv
for the first time, beginning a life-long association with Israel
. The next year he conducted an open air concert for troops at Beersheba in the middle of the desert during the Arab-Israeli war. In 1957, he conducted the inaugural concert of the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv; he subsequently made many recordings there. In 1967, he conducted a concert on Mt. Scopus to commemorate the reunification of Jerusalem. During the 1970s, Bernstein recorded his symphonies and other works with the Israel Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon.
In 1949, he conducted the world première of the Turangalîla-Symphonie
by Olivier Messiaen
, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra
. Part of the rehearsal for the concert was released on CD by the orchestra. When Koussevitzky died two years later, Bernstein became head of the orchestral and conducting departments at Tanglewood, holding this position for many years.
1951–1959After much personal struggle and a turbulent on-off engagement, he married Chilean actress Felicia Cohn Montealegre
on September 10, 1951. One suggestion is that he chose to marry partly to dispel rumors about his private life to help secure a major conducting appointment, following advice from his mentor Dimitri Mitropoulos about the conservative nature of orchestra boards. Bernstein's sexuality has been a matter of speculation and debate. Arthur Laurents
(Bernstein's collaborator in West Side Story
) said that Bernstein was "a gay man who got married. He wasn't conflicted about it at all. He was just gay." Shirley Rhoades Perle, another friend of Bernstein's, said that she thought "he required men sexually and women emotionally." But the early years of his marriage seem to have been happy, and no one has suggested they didn't love one another. They had three children, Jamie, Alexander, and later Nina. There are reports though that Bernstein did sometimes have brief extramarital liaisons with young men, which several family friends have said his wife knew about.
In 1951, Bernstein conducted the New York Philharmonic in the world première of the Symphony No. 2
of Charles Ives
which was written around half a century earlier but never performed. Throughout his career Bernstein often talked about the music of Ives, who died in 1954. The composer, old and frail, was unable (or some reports say "unwilling") to attend the concert, but his wife attended. He reportedly listened to a radio broadcast of it on a radio in his kitchen some days later. A recording of the "premiere" was released in a 10 CD box set Bernstein LIVE by the orchestra, but the notes indicate it was a repeat performance from three days later, and this is perhaps what Ives heard. In any case reports also differ on Ives' exact reaction, but some suggest he was thrilled and danced a little jig. Bernstein recorded the 2nd symphony with the orchestra in 1958 for Columbia and 1987 for Deutsche Grammophon. There is also a 1987 performance with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
available on DVD.
Bernstein was a visiting music professor from 1951 to 1956 at Brandeis University
and he founded the Creative Arts Festival there in 1952. He conducted various productions at the first festival including the premiere of his opera Trouble in Tahiti
and Blitzstein's English version of Kurt Weill
's Threepenny Opera. The festival was named after him in 2005, becoming the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. In 1953 he was the first US conductor to appear at La Scala
in Milan, conducting Maria Callas
in Cherubini's Medea. The same year he produced his score to the musical Wonderful Town
at very short notice, working again with old friends Comden and Green who wrote the lyrics.
In 1954 Bernstein made the first of his television lectures for the CBS arts program Omnibus. The live lecture, entitled "Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony", involved Bernstein explaining the work with the aid of musicians from the former NBC Symphony Orchestra
(recently renamed the "Symphony of the Air") and a giant page of the score covering the floor. Bernstein subsequently performed concerts with the orchestra and recorded his Serenade for Violin with Isaac Stern
. Further Omnibus lectures followed in 1955-8 (later on ABC and then NBC) covering Jazz, Conducting, American Musical Comedy, Modern Music, J.S. Bach and Grand Opera. These programs were made available in the USA in a DVD set in 2010.
In late 1956 Bernstein conducted the New York Philharmonic in concerts that were to have been conducted by Guido Cantelli
, who had tragically been killed in an air crash in Paris. This was the first time Bernstein had conducted the orchestra in subscription concerts since 1951. Partly due to these appearances, Bernstein was named the Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in 1957, replacing Dimitri Mitropoulos. He began his tenure in that position in 1958 having held the post jointly with Mitropoulos in 1957-8. In 1958 Bernstein and Mitropoulos took the New York Philharmonic on tour to South America. In his first season in sole charge Bernstein included a season-long survey of American classical music. Themed-programming of this sort was fairly novel at that time compared to the present day. Bernstein held the Music Directorship until 1969 (with a sabbatical in 1965) although he continued to conduct and make recordings with the orchestra for the rest of his life and was appointed "Laureate Conductor".
He became a well-known figure in the United States through his series of fifty-three televised Young People's Concerts
, which grew out of his Omnibus programs. His first Young People's Concert was televised a few weeks after his tenure as principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic began. He became as famous for his educational work in those concerts as for his conducting. The Bernstein Young People's Concerts were the first, and probably the most influential series of music appreciation programs ever produced on television, and were highly acclaimed by critics. Some of Bernstein's music lectures were released on records, with at least one winning a Grammy award. The programmes were shown in many countries around the world, often with Bernstein dubbed into other languages. Twenty-five of them were released on DVD by Kultur Video.
which was first performed in 1956 with a libretto by Lillian Hellman based on Voltaire's novel. The second was Bernstein's collaboration with the choreographer Jerome Robbins
, the writer Arthur Laurents
and the lyricist Stephen Sondheim
to produce the musical West Side Story
. The first three had worked on it intermittently since Robbins first suggested the idea in 1949. Finally, with the addition of Sondheim to the team and a period of concentrated effort, it received its Broadway premiere in 1957 and has since proven to be Bernstein's most popular and enduring score.
In 1959, he took the New York Philharmonic on a tour of Europe and the Soviet Union, portions of which were filmed by CBS
. A highlight of the tour was Bernstein's performance of Dmitri Shostakovich
's Fifth Symphony
, in the presence of the composer, who came on stage at the end to congratulate Bernstein and the musicians. In October, when Bernstein and the orchestra returned to the US, they recorded the symphony for Columbia. He recorded it for a second time with the orchestra on tour in Japan in 1979. Bernstein seems to have limited himself to only conducting certain Shostakovich symphonies: 1, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 14. He made two recordings of Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony
, one with the New York Philharmonic in the 1960s and another one recorded live in 1988 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
, the only recording he ever made with them (along with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 1
1960–1969In 1960 Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic held a Mahler Festival to mark the centenary of the composer's birth. Bernstein, Walter and Mitropoulos conducted performances. The composer's widow, Alma, attended some of Bernstein's rehearsals. In 1960 Bernstein also made his first commercial recording of a Mahler symphony (the fourth) and over the next seven years he made the first complete cycle of recordings of all nine of Mahler's completed symphonies. (All featured the New York Philharmonic except the 8th Symphony which was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra
following a concert in the Royal Albert Hall
in London in 1966.) The success of these recordings, along with Bernstein's concert performances and television talks, was an important part of the revival of interest in Mahler in the 1960s, especially in the US.
Other non-US composers that Bernstein championed to some extent at the time include the Danish composer Carl Nielsen
(who was perhaps then only a little known in the US) and Jean Sibelius
, whose popularity had perhaps by then started to fade. Bernstein eventually recorded a complete cycle in New York of Sibelius's symphonies and three of Nielsen's symphonies (Nos. 2, 4, and 5), as well as conducting recordings of his violin, clarinet and flute concertos. He also recorded Nielsen's 3rd Symphony with the Royal Danish Orchestra
after a critically acclaimed public performance in Denmark. Bernstein championed US composers, especially those that he was close to like Aaron Copland
, William Schuman
and David Diamond
. He also started to more extensively record his own compositions for Columbia Records. This included his three symphonies, his ballets and the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story with the New York Philharmonic. He also conducted an LP of his 1944 musical On The Town, the first (almost) complete recording of the original featuring several members of the original Broadway cast, including Betty Comden
and Adolph Green
. (The 1949 film version only contains four of Bernstein's original numbers.)
In one oft-reported incident, in April 1962 Bernstein appeared on stage before a performance of the Brahms
Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor
with the pianist Glenn Gould
. During rehearsals, Gould had argued for tempi much broader than normal, which did not reflect Bernstein's concept of the music. Bernstein gave a brief address to the audience starting with "Don't be frightened; Mr Gould is here..." and going on to "In a concerto, who is the boss (audience laughter)—the soloist or the conductor?" (Audience laughter grows louder). The answer is, of course, sometimes the one and sometimes the other, depending on the people involved." This speech was subsequently interpreted by Harold C. Schonberg
, music critic for The New York Times, as abdication of personal responsibility and an attack on Gould, whose performance Schonberg went on to criticize heavily. Bernstein always denied that this had been his intent and has stated that he made these remarks with Gould's blessing. Throughout his life, he professed admiration and friendship for Gould. Schonberg was often (though not always) harshly critical of Bernstein as a conductor during his tenure as Music Director. However his views were not shared by the audiences (with many full houses) and probably not by the musicians themselves (who had greater financial security arising from Bernstein's many TV and recording activities amongst other things).
In 1962 the New York Philharmonic moved from Carnegie Hall
to Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall
) in the new Lincoln Center. The move was not without controversy because of acoustic problems with the new hall. Bernstein conducted the gala opening concert featuring vocal works by Mahler, Beethoven and Vaughan Williams, and the premiere of Aaron Copland's Connotations
, a serial-work that was merely politely received. During the interval Bernstein kissed the cheek of the President's wife Jacqueline Kennedy, a break with protocol that was commented on at the time. In 1961 Bernstein had conducted at President John F. Kennedy
's pre-inaugural gala, and he was an occasional guest in the Kennedy White House. He also conducted at the funeral mass in 1968 for the late President Kennedy's brother Robert Kennedy.
In 1964 Bernstein conducted Franco Zeffirelli
's production of Verdi
at the Metropolitan Opera
in New York. In 1966 he made his debut at the Vienna State Opera
conducting Luchino Visconti
's production of the same opera with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
as Falstaff. During his time in Vienna he also recorded the opera for Columbia Records and conducted his first subscription concert with the Vienna Philharmonic (which is made up of players from the Vienna State Opera) featuring Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde
with Fischer-Dieskau and James King
. He returned to the State Opera in 1968 for a production of Der Rosenkavalier
and in 1970 for Otto Schenk
's production of Beethoven's Fidelio
. Sixteen years later, at the State Opera, Bernstein conducted his sequel to Trouble in Tahiti, A Quiet Place. with the ORF
orchestra. Bernstein's final farewell to the State Opera happened accidentally in 1989: following a performance of Modest Mussorgsky
, he unexpectedly entered the stage and embraced conductor Claudio Abbado
in front of a cheering audience.
With his commitment to the New York Philharmonic and his many other activities, Bernstein had little time for composition during the 1960s. The two major works he produced at this time were his Kaddish Symphony
dedicated to the recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy
and the Chichester Psalms
which he produced during a sabbatical year he took from the Philharmonic in 1965 to concentrate on composition. To try to have more time for composition was probably a major factor in his decision to step down as Music Director of the Philharmonic in 1969, and to never accept such as position anywhere again.
1970–1979After stepping down from the New York Philharmonic, Bernstein continued to appear with them in most years until his death, and he toured with them to Europe in 1976 and to Asia in 1979. He also strengthened his relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
– he conducted all nine completed Mahler symphonies with them (plus the adagio from the 10th) in the period from 1967–76. All of these were filmed for Unitel with the exception of the 1967 Mahler 2nd, which instead Bernstein filmed with the London Symphony Orchestra
in Ely Cathedral
in 1973. In the late 1970s Bernstein conducted a complete Beethoven symphony cycle with the Vienna Philharmonic, and cycles of Brahms and Schumann were to follow in the 1980s. Other orchestras he conducted on numerous occasions in the 1970s include the Israel Philharmonic, the Orchestre National de France
, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra
In 1970 Bernstein wrote and narrated a ninety-minute program filmed on location in and around Vienna
as a celebration of Beethoven's 200th birthday. It featured parts of Bernstein's rehearsals and performance for the Otto Schenk production of Fidelio
, Bernstein playing the 1st piano concerto
and the Ninth Symphony
with the Vienna Philharmonic and the young Placido Domingo
amongst the soloists. The program was first telecast in 1970 on Austrian and British television, and then on CBS in the US on Christmas Eve 1971. The show, originally entitled Beethoven's Birthday: A Celebration in Vienna, won an Emmy and was issued on DVD in 2005.
Like many of his friends and colleagues, Bernstein had been involved in various left wing causes and organizations since the 1940s. He was blacklisted by the US State Department and CBS
in the early 1950s, but unlike others his career was not greatly affected, and he was never required to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee
. His political life received substantial press coverage though in 1970 due to a gathering hosted at his Manhattan apartment. Bernstein and his wife held the event seeking to raise awareness and money for the defense of several members of the Black Panther Party
against a variety of charges. The New York Times
initially covered the gathering as a lifestyle
item, but later posted an editorial harshly unfavorable to Bernstein following generally negative reaction to the widely publicized story. This reaction culminated in June 1970 with the appearance of "Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's", an essay by satirist Tom Wolfe
featured on the cover of the New York
Magazine. The article contrasted the Bernsteins' comfortable lifestyle in one of the world's most expensive neighborhoods with the anti-establishment
politics of the Black Panthers. It led to the popularization of "radical chic
" as a critical term. Both Bernstein and his wife Felicia responded to the criticism, arguing that they were motivated not by a shallow desire to express fashionable sympathy but by their concern for civil liberties
Bernstein's major compositions during the 1970s were probably his MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers; his score for the ballet Dybbuk
; his orchestral vocal work Songfest
; and his US bicentenary musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
written with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
which was his first real theatrical flop, and last original Broadway show. The world premiere of Bernstein's MASS took place on September 8, 1971. Commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy
for the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
in Washington, D.C., it was partly intended as an anti-war statement. Hastily written in places, the work represented a fusion not only of different religious traditions (Latin liturgy, Hebrew prayer and plenty of contemporary English lyrics) but also of different musical styles including classical and rock music. It was originally a target of criticism from the Roman Catholic Church on the one hand, and contemporary music critics who objected to its Broadway/populist elements on the other. In the present day it is perhaps seen as less blasphemous and more a piece of its era – in 2000 it was even performed in the Vatican.
In 1972 Bernstein recorded Bizet
, with Marilyn Horne
in the title role and James McCracken
as Don Jose, after leading several stage performances of the opera at the Metropolitan Opera
. The recording was one of the first in stereo to use the original spoken dialogue between the sung portions of the opera, rather than the musical recitative
s that were composed by Ernest Guiraud
after Bizet's death. The recording was Bernstein's first for Deutsche Grammophon
and won a Grammy.
Bernstein was appointed in 1973 to the Charles Eliot Norton
Chair as Professor of Poetry at his alma mater, Harvard University, and delivered a series of six televised lectures on music with musical examples played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
. Taking the title from a Charles Ives
work, he called the series "The Unanswered Question"; it was a set of interdisciplinary lectures in which he borrowed terminology from contemporary linguistics to analyze and compare musical construction to language. The lectures are presently available in both book and DVD form. The DVD video was not taken directly from the lectures at Harvard, rather they were recreated again at the WGBH studios for filming. This appears to be the only surviving Norton lectures available to the general public in video format. Noam Chomsky
wrote in 2007 on the Znet
forums about the linguistic aspects of the lecture: "I spent some time with Bernstein during the preparation and performance of the lectures. My feeling was that he was onto something, but I couldn't really judge how significant it was."
A major period of upheaval in Bernstein's personal life began in 1976 when he took the decision that he could no longer repress his homosexuality and he left his wife Felicia for a period to live with the writer Tom Cothran. The next year she was diagnosed with lung cancer and eventually Bernstein moved back in with her and cared for her until she died on June 16, 1978. Cothran himself died of AIDS in 1981. Bernstein is reported to have often spoken of his terrible guilt over his wife's death. Most biographies of Bernstein describe that his lifestyle became more excessive and his personal behavior sometimes cruder after her death. However his public standing and many of his close friendships appear to have remained unaffected, and he resumed his busy schedule of musical activity.
In 1978, Bernstein returned to the Vienna State Opera to conduct a revival of the Otto Schenk
production of Fidelio, now featuring Gundula Janowitz
and Rene Kollo
in the lead roles. At the same time, Bernstein made a studio recording of the opera for Deutsche Grammophon
and the opera itself was filmed by Unitel and released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon
in late 2006. In May 1978, the Israel Philharmonic
played two US concerts under his direction to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Orchestra under that name. On consecutive nights, the Orchestra, with the Choral Arts Society of Washington, performed Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms
at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and at Carnegie Hall
in New York.
In 1979, Bernstein conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
for the first and only time, in two charity concerts for Amnesty International
involving performances of Mahler's Ninth Symphony
. The invitation for the concerts had come from the orchestra and not from its principal conductor Herbert von Karajan
. There has been speculation about why Karajan never invited Bernstein to conduct his orchestra. (Karajan did conduct the New York Philharmonic during Bernstein's tenure.) The full reasons will probably never be known – reports suggest they were on friendly terms when they met, but sometimes practiced a little mutual one-upmanship
. One of the concerts was broadcast on radio and was posthumously released on CD by Deutsche Grammophon.
1980–1990Bernstein received the Kennedy Center Honors
award in 1980. For the rest of the 1980s he continued to conduct, teach, compose and produce the occasional TV documentary. His most significant compositions of the decade were probably his opera A Quiet Place
which he wrote with Stephen Wadsworth and which premiered (in its original version) in Houston in 1983; his Divertimento for Orchestra; his Halil
for flute and orchestra, his Concerto for Orchestra "Jubilee Games"; and his song cycle Arias and Barcarolles, which was named after a comment President Dwight D. Eisenhower
had made to him in 1960.
In 1982 in the US, PBS aired an 11-part series of Bernstein's late 1970s films for Unitel of the Vienna Philharmonic playing all nine Beethoven symphonies and various other works. Bernstein gave spoken introduction and actor Maximilian Schell
was also featured on the programs, reading from Beethoven's letters. The original films have since been released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon. In addition to conducting in New York, Vienna and Israel, Bernstein was a regular guest conductor of other orchestras in the 1980s. These included the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
in Amsterdam with whom he recorded Mahler's First, Fourth, and Ninth Symphonies amongst other works; the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
in Munich with whom he recorded Wagner's Tristan und Isolde
, Haydn's Creation, Mozart's Requiem
and Mass in C Minor; and the orchestra of Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
in Rome with whom he recorded some Debussy and Puccini's La Boheme
In 1982, he and Ernest Fleischmann
founded the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute
as a summer training academy along the lines of Tanglewood. Bernstein served as Artistic Director and taught conducting there until 1984. Around the same time he performed and recorded some of his own works with the Los Angeles Philharmonic
for Deutsche Grammophon. Bernstein was also at the time a committed supporter of Nuclear Disarmament. In 1985 he took the European Community Youth Orchestra
in a "Journey for Peace" tour around Europe and to Japan.
In 1985, he conducted a recording of West Side Story
, the first time he had conducted the entire work. The recording, featuring what some critics felt were miscast opera singers such as Kiri Te Kanawa
, José Carreras
, and Tatiana Troyanos
in the leading roles, was nevertheless an international bestseller. A TV documentary showing the making of the recording was made at the same time and is available on DVD.
In his later years, Bernstein's life and work was celebrated around the world (as it has been since his death). The Israel Philharmonic celebrated his involvement with them at Festivals in Israel and Austria in 1977. In 1986 the London Symphony Orchestra
mounted a Bernstein Festival in London with one concert that Bernstein himself conducted attended by the Queen. In 1988 Bernstein's 70th birthday was celebrated by a lavish televised gala at Tanglewood featuring many performers who had worked with him over the years.
In December 1989 Bernstein conducted live performances and recorded in the studio his operetta Candide
with the London Symphony Orchestra
. The recording starred Jerry Hadley
, June Anderson
, Adolph Green
and Christa Ludwig
in the leading roles. The use of opera singers in some roles perhaps fitted the style of operetta
better than some critics had thought was the case for West Side Story, and the recording (released posthumously in 1991) was universally praised. One of the live concerts from the Barbican Centre
in London is available on DVD. Candide had had a troubled history, with many re-writes and writers involved. Bernstein's concert and recording were based on a "final" version that had been first performed by Scottish Opera
in 1988. The opening night (which Bernstein attended in Glasgow) was conducted by Bernstein's former student John Mauceri
On December 25, 1989, Bernstein conducted Beethoven
's Symphony No. 9
in East Berlin's Schauspielhaus (Playhouse) as part of a celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall
. He had conducted the same work in West Berlin the previous day. The concert was broadcast live in more than twenty countries to an estimated audience of 100 million people. For the occasion, Bernstein reworded Friedrich Schiller
's text of the Ode to Joy
, substituting the word Freiheit (freedom) for Freude (joy). Bernstein, in his spoken introduction, said that they had "taken the liberty" of doing this because of a "most likely phony" story, apparently believed in some quarters, that Schiller wrote an "Ode to Freedom" that is now presumed lost. Bernstein added, "I'm sure that Beethoven would have given us his blessing."
In the summer of 1990, Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas
founded the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. Like his earlier activity in Los Angeles, this was a summer training school for musicians modeled on Tanglewood, and is still in existence. Bernstein was already at this time suffering from the lung disease that would lead to his death. In his opening address Bernstein said that he had decided to devote what time he had left to education. A video showing Bernstein speaking and rehearsing at the first Festival is available on DVD in Japan.
Bernstein made his final performance as a conductor at Tanglewood
on August 19, 1990, with the Boston Symphony playing Benjamin Britten
's "Four Sea Interludes" from Peter Grimes
, and Beethoven
's Seventh Symphony
. He suffered a coughing fit in the middle of the Beethoven performance which almost caused the concert to break down. The concert was later issued on CD by Deutsche Grammophon.
He announced his retirement from conducting on October 9, 1990, and died of pneumonia
and a pleural tumor five days later. He was 72 years old. A longtime heavy smoker, he had battled emphysema
from his mid-50s. On the day of his funeral procession through the streets of Manhattan, construction workers removed their hats and waved, yelling "Goodbye, Lenny." Bernstein is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery
, New York, next to his wife and with a copy of Mahler's Fifth lying across his heart.
Social activismWhile Bernstein is very well known for his music compositions and conducting he is also known for his outspoken political views and his strong desire to further social change. His first aspirations for social change were made apparent in his producing (as a student) a recently banned opera, The Cradle Will Rock, about disparagement between the working and upper class. As he went on in his career Bernstein would go on to fight for everything from the influences of "American Music" to the disarming of nuclear weapons.
PhilanthropyAmong the many awards Bernstein earned throughout his life one allowed him to make one of his philanthropic dreams a reality. He had for a long time wanted to develop an international school to help promote the integration of arts into education. When he won the Japan Arts Association award for lifetime achievement, he used the 100 thousand dollars that came with the award to build such a school in Nashville, that would strive to teach teachers how to better integrate music, dance, and theater into the school system which was "not working". Unfortunately, the school was not able to open until shortly after Bernstein's death.
Influence and characteristics as a conductor
, of which he was President; and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
, with which he appeared regularly as guest conductor. He was probably the main conductor from the 1960s onwards who acquired a sort of superstar status similar to that of Herbert von Karajan
, although unlike Karajan he conducted relatively little opera and part of Bernstein's fame was based on his role as a composer. As the first American-born music director of the New York Philharmonic, his rise to prominence was a factor in overcoming the perception of the time that the top conductors were necessarily trained in Europe.
Bernstein's conducting was characterized by extremes of emotion with the rhythmic pulse of the music conveyed visually through his balletic podium manner. Musicians often reported that his manner in rehearsal was the same as in concert. As he got older his performances tended to be overlaid to a greater extent with a personal expressiveness which often divided critical opinion. Extreme examples of this style can be found in his Deutsche Grammophon recordings of Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations (1982), the end of Mahler's 9th Symphony (1985), and the finale of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony (1986), where in each case the tempos are well below those typically chosen.
Bernstein performed a wide repertoire from the baroque era to the 20th century, although perhaps from the 1970s onwards he tended to focus more on music from the romantic era. He was considered especially accomplished with the works of Gustav Mahler
and with American composers in general, including George Gershwin
, Aaron Copland
, Charles Ives
, Roy Harris
, William Schuman
, and of course himself. Some of his recordings of works by these composers would likely appear on many music critics' lists of recommended recordings. A list of his other well-thought-of recordings would probably include individual works from Haydn, Beethoven, Berlioz, Schumann
, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Hindemith, and Shostakovich, among others. His recordings of Rhapsody in Blue
(full-orchestra version) and An American in Paris
for Columbia Records, released in 1959, are considered definitive by many, although Bernstein cut the Rhapsody slightly, and his more 'symphonic' approach with slower tempi is quite far from Gershwin's own conception of the piece, evident from his two recordings. (Oscar Levant
, Earl Wild
, and others come closer to Gershwin's own style.) Bernstein never conducted Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F
, or Porgy and Bess
, although he did discuss the latter in his article Why Don't You Run Upstairs and Write a Nice Gershwin Tune?, originally published in The New York Times and later reprinted in his 1959 book The Joy of Music.
In addition to being an active conductor, Bernstein was a very influential teacher of conducting. During his many years of teaching at Tanglewood and elsewhere, he directly taught or mentored many conductors who are performing now, such as Marin Alsop
, Herbert Blomstedt
, Alexander Frey
, Paavo Järvi
, John Mauceri
, Eiji Oue
, Seiji Ozawa
(who made his US TV debut as the guest conductor on one of the Young People's Concerts), Carl St.Clair
, Michael Tilson Thomas
, and Jaap van Zweden
. He also undoubtedly influenced the career choices of many US musicians who grew up watching his television programmes in the 1950s and 60s.
RecordingsBernstein recorded extensively from the 1950s until just a few months before his death. Aside from a few early recordings in the mid-1940s for RCA Victor, Bernstein recorded primarily for Columbia Masterworks Records
, especially when he was music director of the New York Philharmonic. His typical pattern of recording at that time was to record major works in the studio immediately after they were presented in the orchestra's subscription concerts, with any spare time used to record short orchestral showpieces and similar works. Many of these performances were digitally remastered and reissued by Sony
as part of their 100 CD "Royal Edition" and their later "Bernstein Century" series. In 2010 many of these recordings were repackaged in a 60 CD "Bernstein Symphony Edition".
His later recordings (starting with Bizet's Carmen
in 1972) were mostly made for Deutsche Grammophon
, though he would occasionally return to the Columbia Masterworks label. Notable exceptions include recordings of Gustav Mahler
's Song of the Earth
's 15th piano concerto
and "Linz" symphony
with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
for Decca Records
's Symphonie fantastique
and Harold in Italy
(1976) for EMI
; and Wagner
's Tristan und Isolde
(1981) for Philips Records
, a label that like Deutsche Grammophon was part of PolyGram
at that time. Unlike his studio recordings for Columbia Masterworks, most of his later Deutsche Grammophon recordings were taken from live concerts (or edited together from several concerts with additional sessions to correct errors).
Many replicate repertoire that he recorded in the 1950s and 60s.
In addition to his audio recordings, many of Bernstein's concerts from the 1970s onwards were recorded on motion picture film by the German film company Unitel. This included a complete cycle of the Mahler symphonies (with the Vienna Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra), as well as complete cycles of the Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann symphonies recorded at the same series of concerts as the audio recordings by Deutsche Grammophon. Many of these films appeared on Laserdisc
and are now on DVD.
In total Bernstein was awarded 16 Grammys for his recordings in various categories including several for recordings released after his death. He was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1985.
Influence and characteristics as a composerBernstein was an eclectic composer whose music fused elements of jazz, Jewish music, theatre music and the work of older composers like Aaron Copland
, Igor Stravinsky
, Darius Milhaud
, George Gershwin
, and Marc Blitzstein
. Some of his works, especially his score for West Side Story
, helped bridge the gap between classical and popular music. His music was rooted in tonality but in some works like his Kaddish Symphony
and the opera A Quiet Place
he mixed in 12-tone elements. Bernstein himself said his main motivation for composing was "to communicate" and that all his pieces, including his symphonies and concert works, "could in some sense be thought of as 'theatre' pieces." According to the League of American orchestras, he was the second most frequently performed American composer by US orchestras in 2008-9 behind Copland, and he was the 16th most frequently performed composer overall by US orchestras. (Some performances were probably due to the 90th anniversary of his birth in 2008.) His most popular pieces were the Overture to Candide, the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, the Serenade for Violin, Strings, Harp and Percussion and the Three Dance Episodes from On the Town. His shows West Side Story
, On the Town, Wonderful Town
are regularly performed, and his symphonies and concert works are programmed from time to time by orchestras around the world. Since his death many of his works have been commercially recorded by artists other than himself. The Serenade, which has been recorded more than 10 times, is probably his most recorded work not taken from an actual theatre piece.
Despite the fact that he was a popular success as a composer, Bernstein himself is reported to have been disillusioned that some of his more serious works were not rated more highly by critics, and that he himself had not been able to devote more time to composing because of his conducting and other activities. Professional criticism of Bernstein's music often involves discussing the degree to which he created something new as art versus simply skillfully borrowing and fusing together elements from others. In the late 1960s, Bernstein himself reflected that his eclecticism
was in part due to his lack of lengthy periods devoted to composition, and that he was still seeking to enrich his own personal musical language in the manner of the great composers of the past, all of whom had borrowed elements from others. Perhaps the harshest criticism he received from some critics in his lifetime though was directed at works like his Kaddish Symphony, his MASS and the opera A Quiet Place, where they found the underlying message of the piece or the text as either mildly embarrassing, clichéd or offensive. Despite this, all these pieces have been performed, discussed and reconsidered since his death.
Although he taught conducting, Bernstein was not a teacher of composition as such, and he has no direct composing heirs. Perhaps the closest are composers like John Adams who from the 1970s onwards indirectly adopted elements of his eclectic, theatrical style.
- Fancy Free, 1944
- Facsimile - Choreographic Essay for Orchestra, 1946
- DybbukDybbuk (ballet)Dybbuk is a ballet made by New York City Ballet balletmaster Jerome Robbins to Leonard Bernstein's eponymous music and taking S. Ansky's play The Dybbuk as a source...
- Trouble in TahitiTrouble in TahitiTrouble in Tahiti is a one-act opera in seven scenes composed by Leonard Bernstein with an English libretto by the composer. The opera received its first performance on 12 June 1952 at Berstein's Festival of the Creative Arts on the campus of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts to an...
- Candide, 1956 (new libretto in 1973, operetta final revised version in 1989)
- A Quiet PlaceA Quiet PlaceA Quiet Place is an American opera in three acts, with music by Leonard Bernstein to a libretto by Stephen Wadsworth. The work is a sequel to Bernstein's 1951 short opera Trouble in Tahiti. In its initial form A Quiet Place was in one act; the premiere, on June 17, 1983, was a double bill: Trouble...
- On The Town, 1944
- Wonderful TownWonderful TownWonderful Town is a musical with a book written by Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Leonard Bernstein...
- West Side StoryWest Side StoryWest Side Story is an American musical with a script by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and choreographed by Jerome Robbins...
- The Race to UrgaThe Race to UrgaThe Race to Urga is a musical theatre play.The musical started in 1968 as an adaptation of the Bertolt Brecht play The Exception and the Rule, with the project soon renamed to A Pray by Blecht. The theme of Brecht's play was the exploitation of capitalism of the working class in the 1930s.Jerome...
- "By Bernstein" (a Revue), 1975
- 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (musical)1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a 1976 musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. It is considered to be a legendary Broadway flop, running only seven performances...
- The Madwoman of Central Park WestThe Madwoman of Central Park WestThe Madwoman of Central Park West is a semi-autobiographical one-woman musical with a book by Arthur Laurents and Phyllis Newman and songs by various composers and lyricists...
, (contributed to) 1979
Incidental music and other theatre
- Peter PanPeter Pan (1950 musical)Peter Pan is a musical adaptation of J. M. Barrie's play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, first produced in 1950, with music and lyrics by Leonard Bernstein...
- The LarkL'Alouette (The Lark)L'Alouette is a 1952 play by Jean Anouilh about Joan of Arc. It was presented on Broadway in English in 1955, starring Julie Harris as Joan and Boris Karloff as Pierre Cauchon. It was produced by Kermit Bloomgarden.The English adaptation was by Lillian Hellman and the incidental music was by...
- The FirstbornChristopher FryChristopher Fry was an English playwright. He is best known for his verse dramas, notably The Lady's Not for Burning, which made him a major force in theatre in the 1940s and 1950s.-Early life:...
- MassMass (theatre)MASS is a musical theatre work composed by Leonard Bernstein with text by Bernstein and additional text and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy, it premiered on September 8, 1971, conducted by Maurice Peress. The performance was part of the opening of the John F...
(theatre piece for singers, players and dancers), 1971
- On the TownOn the Town (film)On the Town is a 1949 musical film with music by Leonard Bernstein and Roger Edens and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It is an adaptation of the Broadway stage musical of the same name produced in 1944, although many changes in script and score were made from the original stage...
, 1949 (only part of his music was used)
- On the WaterfrontOn the WaterfrontOn the Waterfront is a 1954 American drama film about union violence and corruption among longshoremen. The film was directed by Elia Kazan and written by Budd Schulberg. It stars Marlon Brando, Rod Steiger, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb and Karl Malden. The soundtrack score was composed by Leonard...
- West Side StoryWest Side Story (film)West Side Story is a 1961 musical film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was adapted from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. It stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno,...
- Symphony No. 1Symphony No. 1 (Bernstein)Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 Jeremiah was composed in 1942. Jeremiah is a programmatic work, following the Biblical story of the prophet Jeremiah. It uses texts from the Book of Lamentations in the Hebrew Bible...
, Jeremiah, 1942
- Fancy Free and Three Dance Variations from "Fancy Free,", concert premiere 1946
- Three Dance Episodes from "On the Town," concert premiere 1947
- Symphony No. 2Symphony No. 2 (Bernstein)Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 The Age of Anxiety was composed from 1948 to 1949 in the US and Israel. It is titled after W. H. Auden's poem of the same name. It was dedicated to Serge Koussevitzky. The symphony was revised in 1965.-Instrumentation:...
, The Age of Anxiety, (after W. H. AudenW. H. AudenWystan Hugh Auden , who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet,The first definition of "Anglo-American" in the OED is: "Of, belonging to, or involving both England and America." See also the definition "English in origin or birth, American by settlement or citizenship" in See also...
) for Piano and Orchestra, 1949 (revised in 1965)
- Serenade for Solo Violin, Strings, Harp and Percussion (after Plato's "Symposium"), 1954
- Prelude, Fugue, and RiffsPrelude, Fugue, and RiffsPrelude, Fugue and Riffs is a "written-out" jazz-in-concert hall composition written by Leonard Bernstein for a jazz ensemble, which features a solo clarinet....
for Solo Clarinet and Jazz Ensemble, 1949
- Symphonic Suite from "On the Waterfront", 1955
- Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story", 1961
- Symphony No. 3Symphony No. 3 (Bernstein)Kaddish is Leonard Bernstein's third symphony. The 1963 symphony is a dramatic work written for a large orchestra, a full choir, a boys' choir, a soprano soloist and a narrator. The name of the piece, Kaddish, refers to the Jewish prayer that is chanted at every synagogue service for the dead but...
, KaddishKaddishKaddish is a prayer found in the Jewish prayer service. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God's name. In the liturgy different versions of the Kaddish are used functionally as separators between sections of the service...
, for Orchestra, Mixed Chorus, Boys' Choir, Speaker and Soprano Solo, 1963 (revised in 1977)
- Dybbuk, Suites No. 1 and 2 for Orchestra, concert premieres 1975
- Songfest: A Cycle of American Poems for Six Singers and OrchestraSongfest: A Cycle of American Poems for Six Singers and OrchestraSongfest: A Cycle of American Poems for Six Singers and Orchestra is a 1977 song cycle by Leonard Bernstein. The cycle includes 12 settings of 13 American poems, performed by six singers , both singly and in various combinations.The work was intended as a tribute to the 1976 American Bicentennial...
- Three Meditations from "Mass" for Violoncello and Orchestra, 1977
- Slava! A Political OvertureSlava! A Political OvertureSlava! A Political Overture for Orchestra is a short orchestral composition by Leonard Bernstein. It was written for the inaugural concerts of Mstislav Rostropovich's first season with the National Symphony Orchestra in 1977...
for Orchestra, 1977
- Divertimento for Orchestra, 1980
- HalilHalil (Bernstein)Halil is a work for flute and chamber orchestra composed by Leonard Bernstein composed in 1981. The work is sixteen minutes in length. Bernstein composed Halil in honor of a young Israeli flutist Yadin Tanenbaum who was killed at the Suez Canal in during the 1973 Yom Kippur war...
, nocturne for Solo Flute, Piccolo, Alto Flute, Percussion, Harp and Strings, 1981
- Concerto for Orchestra, 1989 (Originally Jubilee Games from 1986, revised in 1989)
- Overture to Candide
- Hashkiveinu for Cantor (tenor), Mixed Chorus and Organ, 1945
- Missa Brevis for Mixed Chorus and Countertenor Solo, with Percussion, 1988
- Chichester PsalmsChichester PsalmsChichester Psalms is a choral work by Leonard Bernstein for boy treble or countertenor, solo quartet, choir and orchestra...
for Boy Soprano (or CountertenorCountertenorA countertenor is a male singing voice whose vocal range is equivalent to that of a contralto, mezzo-soprano, or a soprano, usually through use of falsetto, or far more rarely than normal, modal voice. A pre-pubescent male who has this ability is called a treble...
), Mixed Chorus, and Orchestra, 1965 (Reduced version for Organ, Harp and Percussion)
- Piano TrioPiano Trio (Bernstein)Leonard Bernstein's Piano Trio for piano, violin, and cello was written in 1937 while he was attending Harvard University as a student of Walter Piston. He was influenced by the conductor Dmitri Mitropoulos. Several melodic ideas were recycled for use in later pieces...
, 1937, Boosey & HawkesBoosey & HawkesBoosey & Hawkes is a British music publisher purported to be the largest specialist classical music publisher in the world. Until 2003, it was also a major manufacturer of brass, string and wind musical instruments....
- Sonata for Clarinet and PianoSonata for Clarinet and Piano (Bernstein)Leonard Bernstein's Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, written during 1941-42 and published in 1942, was Bernstein's first published piece. It is dedicated to clarinetist David Oppenheim, whom Bernstein met at the Tanglewood school....
- Brass Music, 1959
- Dance SuiteDance Suite (Bernstein)Leonard Bernstein's Dance Suite for Brass Quintet was written in 1989. It consists of five short movements, each of which is dedicated to a friend of Bernstein's.-Instrumentation:...
- I Hate Music: A cycle of Five Kids Songs for Soprano and Piano, 1943
- Big Stuff, sung by Billie HolidayBillie HolidayBillie Holiday was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing...
- La Bonne Cuisine: Four Recipes for Voice and Piano, 1948
- Silhouette (Galilee), 1951
- Two Love Songs, 1960
- So Pretty, 1968
- Piccola Serenata, 1988
- Arias and Barcarolles for Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone and Piano four-hands, 1988
- Music for Two Pianos, 1937
- Piano Sonata, 1938
- 7 Anniversaries, 1944
- 4 AnniversariesFour Anniversaries for the Piano- Background :The piano composition Four Anniversaries was composed in 1948 by American composer Leonard Bernstein and consists of four movements, each written for a different person in Bernstein’s life...
- 5 Anniversaries, 1952
- Bridal Suite, 1960
- Moby Diptych, 1981 (republished as Anniversaries nos. 1 and 2 in Thirteen Anniversaries)
- Touches, 1981
- 13 Anniversaries, 1988
- Other occasional works, written as gifts and other forms of memorial and tribute
- "The Skin of Our Teeth": An aborted work from which Bernstein took material to use in his "Chichester Psalms"
- "Simhu Na" (arrangement of traditional song)
- "Waltz for Mippy III" for Tuba and Piano
- "Elegy for Mippy II" for Trombone alone
- "Elegy for Mippy I" for Horn and Piano
- "Rondo for Lifey" for Trumpet and Piano
- "Fanfare for Bima" for Brass Quartet: composed in 1947 as a birthday tribute to Koussevitzky using the tune he whistled to call his cocker spaniel
- "Shivaree: A Fanfare" for Double Brass Ensemble and Percussion. 1970. Commissioned by and dedicated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in honor of its Centenary. Musical material later used in "Mass."
- The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard. West Long Branch, New Jersey: Kultur Video. VHS ISBN 1561275700. DVD ISBN 0769715702. (videotape of the Charles Eliot Norton LecturesCharles Eliot Norton LecturesThe Charles Eliot Norton Professorship of Poetry at Harvard University was established in 1925 as an annual lectureship in "poetry in the broadest sense" and named for the university's former professor of fine arts. Distinguished creative figures and scholars in the arts, including painting,...
given at Harvard in 1973.)
- Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic. West Long Branch, New Jersey: Kultur Video. DVD ISBN 0769715036.
- Bernstein on Beethoven: A Celebration in Vienna/Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1. West Long Branch, Kultur Video. DVD
- Leonard Bernstein: Omnibus – The Historic TV Broadcasts ,2010, E1 Ent.
- Bernstein: Reflections (1978), Euroarts.
- Bernstein/Beethoven (1982), Deustche Grammophon, DVD
- Bernstein Conducts "West Side Story" (1985) (retitled The Making of West Side Story in re-releases) Deutsche Grammophon, DVD
- "The Rite of Spring" in Rehearsal
- Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and SciencesAmerican Academy of Arts and SciencesThe American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...
- Sonning Award (Denmark), 1956
- Ditson Conductor's AwardDitson Conductor's AwardThe Ditson Conductor's Award, established in 1945, is the oldest award honoring conductors for their commitment to the performance of American music. The US$5,000 purse endowed by the Alice M. Ditson Fund at Columbia University was increased in 1999 from US$1,000.Upon the death of Alice M. Ditson,...
- George Peabody MedalGeorge Peabody MedalThe George Peabody Medal is the highest honour the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University bestows. The award, established in 1980, honours individuals who have made exceptional contributions to music in America....
– Johns Hopkins UniversityJohns Hopkins UniversityThe Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...
- Ernst von Siemens Music PrizeErnst von Siemens Music PrizeThe international Ernst von Siemens Music Prize is an annual music prize given by the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste on behalf of the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung , established in 1972. The foundation was established by Ernst von Siemens...
- Royal Philarmonic Society Gold Medal (UK)Royal Philharmonic SocietyThe Royal Philharmonic Society is a British music society, formed in 1813. It was originally formed in London to promote performances of instrumental music there. Many distinguished composers and performers have taken part in its concerts...
- Knight Grand Cross Order of Merit (Italy)OmriOmri was a king of Israel, successful military campaigner and first in the line of Omride kings that included Ahab, Ahaziah and Joram.He was "commander of the army" of king Elah when Zimri murdered Elah and made himself king. Instead, the troops at Gibbethon chose Omri as king, and he led them to...
- Grammy Award for Best Album for ChildrenGrammy Award for Best Album for ChildrenThe Grammy Award for Best Album for Children has been awarded since 1959. Prior to 1992, the award was known as Best Recording for Children and was therefore open to any audio recording, whether it was an album, a single song, a recording of a book, or the audio from a television show or movie...
- Grammy Award for Best Orchestral PerformanceGrammy Award for Best Orchestral PerformanceThe Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance has been awarded since 1959. There have been several minor changes to the name of the award over this time:*From 1959 to 1964 it was awarded as Best Classical Performance - Orchestra...
- Grammy Award for Best Choral PerformanceGrammy Award for Best Choral PerformanceThe Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance has been awarded since 1961. There have been several minor changes to the name of the award over this time:*In 1961 the award was known as Best Classical Performance - Choral ...
- Grammy Award for Best Opera RecordingGrammy Award for Best Opera RecordingThe Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording has been awarded since 1961. The award was originally titled Best Classical Opera Production. The current title has been used since 1962....
- Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal PerformanceGrammy Award for Best Classical Vocal PerformanceThe Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo has been awarded since 1959. There have been several minor changes to the name of the award over this time:...
- Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) PerformanceGrammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with orchestra)The Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance was awarded from 1959 to 2011. From 1967 to 1971 and in 1987 the award was combined with the award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance and awarded as the Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist or...
- Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary CompositionGrammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary CompositionThe Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition was first awarded in 1961. This award was not presented from 1967 to 1984.The award has had several minor name changes:...
- Grammy Award for Best Classical AlbumGrammy Award for Best Classical AlbumThe Grammy Award for Best Classical Album was awarded from 1962 to 2011. The award had several minor name changes:*From 1962 to 1963, 1965 to 1972 and 1974 to 1976 the award was known as Album of the Year - Classical...
- Grammy Lifetime Achievement AwardGrammy Lifetime Achievement AwardThe Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording."...
- Tony Award for Best MusicalTony Award for Best MusicalThis is a list of winners and nominations for the Tony Award for Best Musical, first awarded in 1949. This award is presented to the producers of the musical.-1940s:* 1949: Kiss Me, Kate – Music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Samuel and Bella Spewack...
- Special Tony AwardSpecial Tony AwardThe Special Tony Award category includes the Lifetime Achievement Award and Special Tony Award. These are non-competitive awards, and the titles have changed over the years...
- Japan Arts Association Lifetime Achievement Award
- Leonard Bernstein official site
- The Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress Music DivisionLibrary of CongressThe Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...
- Discography at SonyBMG Masterworks
- Bernstein's Boston, a Harvard UniversityHarvard UniversityHarvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...
- FBI file on Leonard Bernstein
- Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts
- Gay Great – Leonard Bernstein
- Radical Chic, a book by Tom WolfeTom WolfeThomas Kennerly "Tom" Wolfe, Jr. is a best-selling American author and journalist. He is one of the founders of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and 1970s.-Early life and education:...
describing a gathering at Bernstein's apartment of New York's social elite and the Black Panther PartyBlack Panther PartyThe Black Panther Party wasan African-American revolutionary leftist organization. It was active in the United States from 1966 until 1982....
- Leonard Bernstein: A Total Embrace of Music, written by Peter GutmannPeter Gutmann (Washington, D.C.)Peter Gutmann is a professional journalist and attorney. He graduated from Wesleyan University, cum laude, with a B.A. in 1971, and attended the University of North Carolina, where he earned a M.A. in Communications in 1974. He earned a J.D...
, music journalist.
- Arias and Barcarolles, The Leonard Bernstein Pages
- Leonard Bernstein's maximum card from Israel
- Obituary, New York Times, October 15, 1990
- Leonard Bernstein: American Original (HarperCollins, 2008) Chapters by Alan RichAlan RichAlan Rich was an American music critic who served on the staff of many newspapers and magazines on both coasts. Originally from Brookline, Massachusetts, he first studied medicine at Harvard University before turning to music...
, Paul BoyerPaul S. BoyerPaul Samuel Boyer is a U.S. cultural and intellectual historian and is Merle Curti Professor of History Emeritus and former director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin–Madison...
, Carol J. Oja, Tim PageTim Page (music critic)Tim Page is a writer, editor, music critic, producer and professor. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic for the Washington Post and also played an essential role in the revival of American author Dawn Powell.-Career:Page grew up in Storrs, Connecticut, where his father, Ellis B...
, Burton Bernstein, Jonathan Rosenberg, Joseph HorowitzJoseph HorowitzJoseph Horowitz is an American cultural historian whose seven books mainly deal with the institutional history of classical music in the United States. As a producer of concerts, he has played a pioneering role in promoting thematic programming and new concert formats...
, Bill McGlaughlinBill McGlaughlinWilliam "Bill" McGlaughlin is an American composer, conductor, music educator, and Peabody Award-winning classical music radio host...
, James M. Keller, John Adams