Young People's Concerts
The Young People's Concerts at the New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in New York City in the United States. It is one of the American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five"...

 are the longest-running series of family concerts of classical music in the world.


They began in 1924 under the direction of "Uncle" Ernest Schelling
Ernest Schelling
Ernest Henry Schelling was an American pianist, composer, and conductor.Born in Belvidere, New Jersey, Schelling was a child prodigy. His first teacher was his father. He entered the Academy of Music in Philadelphia at age 4. At age 7, Schelling traveled to Europe to study. He was admitted to the...

. Earlier Family Matinees had begun as far back as 1885 under conductor Theodore Thomas. Josef Stránský
Josef Stránský
Josef Stransky was a Czech conductor, composer, and art collector/dealer who moved to the United States and conducted the New York Philharmonic from 1911 to 1923.-Biography:...

 developed them further under the name Young People's Concerts beginning in 1914. They have run uninterrupted under this name since 1926. Ernest Schelling led his first Young People's Concert on March 27, 1924. By combining musical performances of the Philharmonic with lectures, Schelling set the stage for the program. During that time period, the show went on the road multiple times, travelling to Philadelphia, London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, and Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...


Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts on CBS 1958-1972

Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

 brought the Young People's Concerts to a new level of attention when he arrived as conductor of the New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in New York City in the United States. It is one of the American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five"...

 in 1958. Crucially, the first performance with him as music director, on January 18, 1958 at Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, was the first of these concerts to be televised. Beginning in 1962, the Young People's Concerts became the first series of concerts ever televised from Lincoln Center. Bernstein conducted a total of 53 such performances, all of which were telecast on CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 and syndicated in over 40 countries. Bernstein continued the concerts even during a sabbatical season from the orchestra 1964-65. Although Bernstein left as music director in 1969, he continued to lead the Young People's Concerts as Conductor Emeritus
Emeritus is a post-positive adjective that is used to designate a retired professor, bishop, or other professional or as a title. The female equivalent emerita is also sometimes used.-History:...

 until 1972. Bernstein's performances inspired generations of musicians and music-lovers, and twenty-five of them are now available on DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

. However, the airing of the program was halted in March of 1972, with a final Young People's Concert concentrating on Gustav Holst
Gustav Holst
Gustav Theodore Holst was an English composer. He is most famous for his orchestral suite The Planets....

's The Planets
The Planets
The Planets, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst...


Originally broadcast on Saturday (episodes 1-7) and Sunday (episodes 8-15), the concerts moved to prime time for episodes 16-40. This was likely a CBS counter to Newton N. Minow
Newton N. Minow
Newton Norman Minow is an American attorney and former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. His speech referring to television as a "vast wasteland" is cited even as the speech has passed its 50th anniversary...

’s speech referring to television as a vast wasteland
Wasteland Speech
The Wasteland Speech was a speech given by Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton N. Minow to the convention of the National Association of Broadcasters on May 9, 1961. The speech was Minow's first major speech after he was appointed chairman of the FCC by President John F Kennedy...

. The series returned to Sunday afternoons (episodes 41-53). The concerts were also syndicated to forty countries.
Episode # Title Original Airdate Performers
1 What Does Music Mean? 18 January 1958
2 What is American Music? 1 February 1958
3 What is Orchestration? 8 March 1958
4 What Makes Music Symphonic? 13 December 1958
5 What is Classical Music? 24 January 1959
6 Humor in Music 28 February 1959
7 What is a Concerto? 28 March 1959 John Corigliano Sr.; John Wummer; John Bernstein
8 Who is Gustav Mahler 7 February 1960 Reri Grist
Reri Grist
Reri Grist is an American coloratura soprano, one of the pioneer African-American singers to enjoy a major international career in opera.-Biography:...

; Helen Raab; William Lewis
William Lewis (tenor)
William L. Lewis is an American operatic tenor and academic.-Biography:William Lewis was educated at the University of Colorado, Texas Christian University and New York University. He began his career as a writer and an athlete before deciding to pursue a career in opera...

9 Young Performers No. 1 6 March 1960 Daniel Domb; Kenneth Schermerhorn
Kenneth Schermerhorn
Kenneth Dewitt Schermerhorn was an American composer and orchestra conductor, most notably for the Nashville Symphony.-Biography:Schermerhorn was born in Schenectady, New York, where he studied clarinet, violin, and trumpet in school. At age 14, he forged a baptismal certificate to appear older so...

; Barry Finclair; Stefan B. Mengelberg; Alexandra Wager
10 Unusual Instruments of Present, Past, and Future 27 March 1960 New York Pro Musica
New York Pro Musica
New York Pro Musica was a vocal and instrumental ensemble that specialized in Medieval and Renaissance early music. It was co-founded in 1952, under the name Pro Musica Antiqua, by Noah Greenberg, a choral director, and Bernard Krainis, a recorder player who studied with Erich Katz.The ensemble is...

; Noah Greenberg
Noah Greenberg
Noah Greenberg was an American choral conductor.In 1937, aged 18, Greenberg joined the Socialist Workers Party of Max Schachtman, and worked as a lathe operator and party activist. He lost work-related draft deferment in 1944 and joined the U.S. Merchant Marine till 1949. By this time he had lost...

; Vladimir Ussachevsky
Vladimir Ussachevsky
Vladimir Kirilovitch Ussachevsky was a composer, particularly known for his work in electronic music.-Biography:...

; Anita Darian
Anita Darian
Anita Darian is an American singer and actress who has had an active career since the 1950s. Aa a soprano, Darian has performed roles with the New York City Opera and been a featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic. She has also performed and recorded several roles from musicals during her...

11 The Second Hurricane 24 April 1960 The High School of Music & Art
The High School of Music & Art
The High School of Music & Art, informally known as "Music & Art", was a public alternative high school at 443-465 West 135th Street, New York, New York, USA that existed from 1936 through 1984, and then merged into the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing...

12 Overtures and Preludes 8 January 1961
13 Aaron Copland Birthday Party 12 February 1961 Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers"...

; William Warfield
William Warfield
William Caesar Warfield , was an American concert bass-baritone singer and actor.-Early life and career:Warfield was born in West Helena, Arkansas and grew up in Rochester, New York, where his father was called to serve as pastor of Mt. Vernon Church. He gave his recital debut in New York's Town...

14 Young Performers No. 2 19 March 1961 Lynn Harrell
Lynn Harrell
Lynn Harrell is an American classical cellist.-Biography:Harrell was born in New York City of musician parents; his father was the baritone Mack Harrell and his mother, Marjorie Fulton, was a violinist. At the age of eight he decided to learn to play the cello. When Lynn was 12, his family moved...

; Elyakum Shapirra
Elyakum Shapirra
Elyakum Shapirra is an Israeli conductor who has appeared in a number of countries. He studied with Leonard Bernstein, becoming one of his assistant conductors at the New York Philharmonic...

; Jung-Ja Kim; Russell Stanger; Veronica Tyler; Gregory Millar; Henry Chapin
15 Folk Music in the Concert Hall 9 April 1961 Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon
Marni Nixon is an American soprano and playback singer for featured actresses in movie musicals. She has also spent much of her career performing in concerts with major symphony orchestras around the world and in operas and musicals throughout the United States.-Biography:Born Margaret Nixon...

16 What is Impressionism? 23 November 1961
17 The Road to Paris 18 January 1962 Zara Nelsova
Zara Nelsova
Zara Nelsova was a prominent cellist.She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to parents of Russian descent, and first performed at the age of five in Winnipeg...

18 Happy Birthday, Igor Stravinsky 26 March 1962
19 Young Performers No. 3 14 April 1962 Seiji Ozawa
Seiji Ozawa
is a Japanese conductor, particularly noted for his interpretations of large-scale late Romantic works. He is most known for his work as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera.-Early years:...

; Gary Karr
Gary Karr
Gary Karr b. November 20, 1941 in Los Angeles, California, is an American classical double bass virtuoso and teacher.- Biography :Although he comes from seven generations of bassists, he was not encouraged by them to go into music...

; Maurice Peress
Maurice Peress
Maurice Peress is an American orchestra conductor, educator and author. After serving as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein beginning in 1961, Peress went on to stand as leader of the orchestra in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1962. In 1970, he also became leader...

; John Canarina; Ruth & Naomi Segal; Paula Robison; Paul Green; Tony Cirone; David Hopper
20 The Sound of a Hall 21 November 1962 John Corigliano, Sr.; Frank Gullino; Joseph Bernstein; William Dembinsky
21 What is a Melody? 21 December 1962
22 Young Performers No. 4 15 January 1963 Joan Weiner; Yuri Krasnopolsky; Claudia Hoca; Zoltán Rozsnyai
Zoltán Rozsnyai
Zoltán Rozsnyai was an Hungarian conductor and musical director.Born in Budapest, he was a graduate of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, where he studied under Zoltan Kodaly, Bela Bartok, and Ernest von Dohnányi, among others. Already a concert pianist at the age of 10, he was one of the youngest...

; Pamela Paul; Serge Fournier; André Watts
André Watts
André Watts is a classical pianist and professor at the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University.-Life and early performances:...

23 The Latin American Spirit 8 March 1963 Netania Davrath
24 A Tribute to Teachers 29 November 1963
25 Young Performers No. 5 23 December 1963 Heidi Lehwalder; Amos Eisenberg; Weldon Berry, Jr.; Claudio Abbado
Claudio Abbado
Claudio Abbado, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI , is an Italian conductor. He has served as music director of the La Scala opera house in Milan, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Vienna State Opera,...

; Shulamith Ran; Pedro Calderon; Stephen E. Kates; Zdeněk Košler
Zdenek Košler
Zdeněk Košler was a Czech conductor, who played an important role in Czech musical life of the second half of 20th century, notably during the sixties and the eighties. He was particularly well-known as an opera conductor....

26 The Genius of Paul Hindemith 23 February 1964
27 Jazz in the Concert Hall 11 March 1964 Gunther Schuller
Gunther Schuller
Gunther Schuller is an American composer, conductor, horn player, author, historian, and jazz musician.- Biography and works :...

; Aaron Copland
28 What is Sonata Form? 6 November 1964 Veronica Tyler
29 Farewell to Nationalism 30 November 1964
30 Young Performers No. 6 28 January 1965 Patricia Michaelian; James Boswell
31 A Tribute to Sibelius 19 February 1965 Sergiu Luca
Sergiu Luca
Sergiu Luca was a Romanian-born American violinist, renowned as an early music pioneer who first introduced playing J. S...

32 Musical Atoms: A Study of Intervals 29 November 1965
33 The Sound of an Orchestra 14 December 1965
34 A Birthday Tribute to Shostakovich 5 January 1966
35 Young Performers No. 7 22 February 1966 Paul Schoenfeld; David Oei
David Oei
David Oei is a classical pianist .Oei was born in Hong Kong, into a family that had emigrated from Amoy , Fujian in 1934 to open a branch of The China & South Sea Bank founded by his great grandfather Oei Ik-Tjoe...

; Horacio Gutiérrez
Horacio Gutiérrez
Horacio Gutiérrez is a Cuban-American virtuoso classical pianist.-Early life and education:Gutiérrez was born in Havana, Cuba, the eldest of four children, to Tomás V. Gutiérrez and Josefina Fernandez Gutiérrez. His mother was his first piano teacher, and was herself, an accomplished pianist. His...

; James DePreist
James DePreist
James Anderson DePreist is an American conductor. One of the few African American conductors on the world stage, he is currently the director of conducting and orchestral studies at the Juilliard School and laureate music director of the Oregon Symphony.-Biography:DePreist was born in Philadelphia...

; Jacques Houtmann; Edo de Waart
Edo de Waart
Edo de Waart is a Dutch conductor, and the Music Director of both the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra....

36 What Is a Mode? 23 November 1966
37 Young Performers No. 8 27 January 1967 Elmar Oliveira
Elmar Oliveira
Elmar Oliveira is a contemporary American violinist.The son of Portuguese immigrants, Elmar Oliveira was born on June 28, 1950, in Naugatuck, Connecticut. Mr. Oliveira was nine when he began studying the violin with his brother John. He later continued his studies with Ariana Bronne and Raphael...

; Mark Salkind; Fred Alston; Donald Green; Juan Pablo Izquierdo; Sylvia Caduff; George Reid; Young Uck Kim
38 Charles Ives: American Pioneer 23 February 1967
39 Alumni Reunion 19 April 1967 Stephen E. Kates; Veronica Tyler; André Watts
40 A Toast to Vienna in ¾ Time Christa Ludwig
Christa Ludwig
Christa Ludwig is a retired German mezzo-soprano, distinguished for her performances of opera, Lieder, oratorio and other major religious works like masses and passions, and solos contained in symphonic literature...

; Walter Berry
41 Forever Beethoven 28 January 1968 Joseph Kalichstein
Joseph Kalichstein
Joseph Kalichstein is a renowned Israeli-born American classical pianist who performs in the concerto, solo recital and chamber music repertoire, the latter mainly with Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson in the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio...

; Paul Capolongo
42 Young Performers No. 9 31 March 1968 Lawrence Foster
Lawrence Foster
Lawrence Foster is an American conductor.He became the conductor of the San Francisco Ballet at the age of 18, and served as Assistant Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta...

; Alois Springer; Martin and Steven Vann; Helen Quach
43 Quiz-Concert: How Musical Are You? 26 May 1968
44 Fantastic Variations (Don Quixote) 25 December 1968
45 Bach Transmogrified 27 April 1969
46 Berlioz Takes a Trip 25 May 1969
47 Two Ballet Birds 14 September 1969
48 Fidelio: A Celebration of Life 29 March 1970 Forest Warren; Anita Darian
Anita Darian
Anita Darian is an American singer and actress who has had an active career since the 1950s. Aa a soprano, Darian has performed roles with the New York City Opera and been a featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic. She has also performed and recorded several roles from musicals during her...

; Howard Ross; David Cumberland
49 The Anatomy of a Symphony Orchestra 24 May 1970
50 A Copland Celebration 27 December 1970 Stanley Drucker
Stanley Drucker
Stanley Drucker is an American clarinetist. Of Ukrainian ancestry, he began clarinet studies at age ten with Leon Russianoff, and remained his student for five years. He attended the High School of Music & Art...

51 Thus Spoke Richard Strauss 4 April 1971
52 Liszt and the Devil 13 February 1972
53 Holst: The Planets 26 March 1972

Young People’s Concerts on DVD

Kultur International Films released a nine DVD set with 25 of the 53 concerts in September 2004.

Young People's Concerts After Bernstein

Each season, several different conductors led the Young People's Concerts. Michael Tilson Thomas
Michael Tilson Thomas
Michael Tilson Thomas is an American conductor, pianist and composer. He is currently music director of the San Francisco Symphony, and artistic director of the New World Symphony Orchestra.-Early years:...

 became a regular during the 1970s, but other conductors included figures like Erich Leinsdorf
Erich Leinsdorf
Erich Leinsdorf was a naturalized American Austrian conductor. He performed and recorded with leading orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States and Europe, earning a reputation for exacting standards as well as an acerbic personality...

, Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez is a French composer of contemporary classical music, a pianist, and a conductor.-Early years:Boulez was born in Montbrison, Loire, France. As a child he began piano lessons and demonstrated aptitude in both music and mathematics...

, Igor Buketoff
Igor Buketoff
Igor Buketoff was an American conductor, arranger and teacher. He had a special affinity with Russian music and with Sergei Rachmaninoff in particular. He also strongly promoted British contemporary music, and new music in general.- Biography :Buketoff was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son...

, Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta is an Indian conductor of western classical music. He is the Music Director for Life of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.-Biography:...

, Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers"...

, and later Kurt Masur
Kurt Masur
Kurt Masur is a German conductor, particularly noted for his interpretation of German Romantic music.- Biography :Masur was born in Brieg, Lower Silesia, Germany and studied piano, composition and conducting in Leipzig, Saxony. Masur has been married three times...

, Leonard Slatkin
Leonard Slatkin
Leonard Edward Slatkin is an American conductor and composer.-Early life and education:Slatkin was born in Los Angeles to a musical family that came from areas of the Russian Empire now in Ukraine. His father Felix Slatkin was the violinist, conductor and founder of the Hollywood String Quartet,...

, and André Previn
André Previn
André George Previn, KBE is an American pianist, conductor, and composer. He is considered one of the most versatile musicians in the world, and is the winner of four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings. -Early Life:Previn was born in...


Currently, the New York Philharmonic presents four Young People's Concerts each season, in addition to concerts on tour, most recently in Hong Kong on February 17, 2008. In New York, Delta David Gier is conductor and host - the first person to lead all such concerts in a season since 1952. Each season is themed as a unit - for instance the four Ages of Music - and the live performance is complemented by live images projected on a large screen, in addition to actors, dancers, and singers who help bring themes to life. Noted playwright Tom Dulack scripts the concerts. Each concert is preceded by Kidzone Live, an interactive music fair engaging over 1000 children in the themes of the concert with hands-on activities on all four level of the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall
Avery Fisher Hall
Avery Fisher Hall is a concert hall, in New York City and is part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts complex. It is the home of the New York Philharmonic, with a capacity of 2,738 seats.-History:...


In 2005, the New York Philharmonic initiated a sister series called Very Young People's Concerts, performed by an ensemble of eight to ten musicians of the Philharmonic at Merkin Concert Hall. Children arrive for musical games played with individual musicians, then sit down for a 30-minute concert featuring a story set to a major piece of music, like one of The Four Seasons
The Four Seasons (Vivaldi)
The Four Seasons is a set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Composed in 1723, The Four Seasons is Vivaldi's best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces of Baroque music. The texture of each concerto is varied, each resembling its respective season...

of Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

, or a portion of Maurice Ravel
Maurice Ravel
Joseph-Maurice Ravel was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects...

's String Quartet in F. Children try small string instruments before they leave. The Very Young People's Concerts also sell out on subscription.


External links

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