On this day, August 25 in 1918 in Lawrence, MA was born the legendary conductor, composer, and pianist, Leonard Bernstein. One of the great American conductors, Mr. Bernstein composed some beautiful music for symphonic orchestras. His “West Side Story”, maybe his most famous work, is one of the most beloved musicals with so many beautiful show tunes. Sadly Leonard Bernstein died at the young age of 72 on Oct 14, 1990 in New York City.
From the Leonard Bernstein Website: “In 1945, he was appointed Music Director of the New York City Symphony Orchestra, a post he held until 1947. After Serge Koussevitzky died in 1951, Bernstein headed the orchestral and conducting departments at Tanglewood, teaching there for many years. In 1951, he married the Chilean actress and pianist, Felicia Montealegre.”
“Bernstein became Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in 1958. From then until 1969 he led more concerts with the orchestra than any previous conductor. He subsequently held the lifetime title of Laureate Conductor.”
“Bernstein was a leading advocate of American composers, particularly Aaron Copland. The two remained close friends for life.”
Also, from his website: “While Bernstein’s conducting repertoire encompassed the standard literature, he may be best remembered for his performances and recordings of Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Sibelius and Mahler. Particularly notable were his performances of the Mahler symphonies with the New York Philharmonic in the 1960s, sparking a renewed interest in the works of Mahler.”
“Inspired by his Jewish heritage, Bernstein completed his first large-scale work: Symphony No. 1: “Jeremiah” (1943).”
Please turn up the volume and enjoy some beautiful music from the legendary American modern composer, Leonard Bernstein.
West Side Story Symphonic Dances:
‘Maria’ from West Side Story:
Symphony #1, Jeremiah:
Happy 103rd Birthday, Leonard Bernstein!