Leonard Bernstein

Born 25 August 1918. Died 14 October 1990
Leonard Bernstein
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/960x540/p01bqm0y.jpg
1918-08-25
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/fa39bc82-9b27-4bbb-9425-d719a72e09ac
Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein Biography (BBC)

Leonard Bernstein has been described as a 20th-century Renaissance man and it is true that he dared to be versatile in an age of specialisation. The first indigenous American to really challenge the global domination of musical life by Europeans, or quasi- Europeans, he came to symbolise the optimism and can-do attitude of the American way, while representing also the flip-side of the Dream, incurably restless and variously unfulfilled. At the time of his death, his own music, especially his concert music, was generally reckoned a disappointment: its rampant eclecticism did not chime well with what Western art music was supposed to be about. Today, however, even his supposed failures are coming in from the cold. Those generously inflected Bernstein realisations, so effective in promulgating the music of his American contemporaries and that of Gustav Mahler, no longer represent a barrier to the rediscovery of his own music by a new generation of performers.

There was much that was conventional in Bernstein’s upbringing and education. Born in 1918, he studied at both Harvard and the Curtis Institute and was at various times the protégé of Dimitri Mitropoulos, Fritz Reiner and Serge Koussevitzky. Self-evidently gifted, he also had luck on his side. In 1943 he made his reputation as a conductor at a stroke when he replaced an indisposed Bruno Walter. Thereafter he was associated with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (from 1947), the Boston Symphony Orchestra and especially the New York Philharmonic (of which he was Music Director, 1958–69). Increasingly drawn to Europe, he forged a special relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic. A celebrated educator, writer, broadcaster and, in earlier years, a formidable pianist, he pursued an on-off career as a composer, like his idol Gustav Mahler, blurring the boundaries between high and popular culture in a personal mix of that composer with Copland, Stravinsky and elements drawn from Broadway and specifically Jewish traditions.

His works for commercial theatre, most notably the musicals Candide (1956) and West Side Story (1957), are currently more highly prized than his ballet Dybbuk (1974) or his most personal operatic statement, A Quiet Place (1983). His other magnum opus, the unclassifiable evening-length piece for singers, players and dancers entitled Mass (1971), continues to divide opinion. There are three symphonies but casual listeners often find most to admire in more modest concert works such as Prelude, Fugue and Riffs (1949), the Serenade (1954), a violin concerto in all but name, and the defiantly melodic Chichester Psalms (1965).

What distinguished Bernstein’s work as a composer is actually what distinguishes it from so many of the contemporary trends he latched on to, the better to throw his own meanings into relief. Whether pop, pap or post-Schoenbergian, it is the very contemporaneity of so much 20th century music that can make it seem anonymous. Trying everything as it does, reaching out for some ‘ebullient renewed will to survive the Apocalyptic’, Bernstein’s music is always cathartic and unmistakably his own.

Profile © David Gutman

Leonard Bernstein Biography (Wikipedia)

Leonard Bernstein (August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. According to music critic Donal Henahan, 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, Peter Pan, Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town, On the Waterfront, his Mass, and a range of other compositions, including three symphonies and many shorter chamber and solo works.

Bernstein was the first conductor to give a series of television lectures on classical music, starting in 1954 and continuing until his death. He was a skilled pianist, often conducting piano concertos from the keyboard.

As a composer he wrote in many styles encompassing symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music and pieces for the piano. Many of his works are regularly performed around the world, although none has matched the tremendous popular and critical success of West Side Story.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Leonard Bernstein Performances & Interviews


Leonard Bernstein Tracks

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Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 4 In G Major for soprano and orchestra; 4th mvt
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Symphony No. 4 In G Major for soprano and orchestra; 4th mvt
Leonard Bernstein
Candide - comic operetta in 2 acts
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Candide - comic operetta in 2 acts
Leonard Bernstein
Wonderful Town (Act I, A Little Bit in Love)
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Wonderful Town (Act I, A Little Bit in Love)
Leonard Bernstein
Divertimento for orchestra: Waltz
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Divertimento for orchestra: Waltz
Leonard Bernstein
Maria
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Maria
Joseph Haydn
Symphony No 88 in G major (4th mvt)
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Symphony No 88 in G major (4th mvt)
Georges Bizet
The Toreador Song (Carmen Suite No 2)
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The Toreador Song (Carmen Suite No 2)
Leonard Bernstein
'America', from West Side Story
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'America', from West Side Story
Leonard Bernstein
Candide - Glitter and be gay
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Candide - Glitter and be gay
Leonard Bernstein
Symphonic Dances from West Side Story: Mambo
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Symphonic Dances from West Side Story: Mambo
Joseph Haydn
Symphony No 88 in G major (4th mvt)
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Symphony No 88 in G major (4th mvt)
Jean Sibelius
Valse triste
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Valse triste
Leonard Bernstein
Jet Song from West Side Story (arr. for 2 pianos)
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Jet Song from West Side Story (arr. for 2 pianos)
Leonard Bernstein
On the Waterfront Suite (excerpt)
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On the Waterfront Suite (excerpt)
Leonard Bernstein
Candide (Overture)
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Candide (Overture)
Leonard Bernstein
Prelude, Fugue and Riffs for clarinet and jazz orchestra
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Prelude, Fugue and Riffs for clarinet and jazz orchestra
Alban Berg
Violin concerto
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Violin concerto
Aaron Copland
El salón México
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El salón México
Leonard Bernstein
West Side Story (1961): Quintet
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West Side Story (1961): Quintet
Gustav Mahler
Symphony No.5: IV. Adagietto
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Symphony No.5: IV. Adagietto
Leonard Bernstein
Sonata in A for clarinet and piano
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Sonata in A for clarinet and piano
Georges Bizet
Carmen Suite No 2 (Nocturne)
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Carmen Suite No 2 (Nocturne)
Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek
Donna Diana - Overture
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Donna Diana - Overture
Robert Schumann
Genoveva Op 81 - Overture
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Genoveva Op 81 - Overture
Leonard Bernstein
Candide - Make our garden grow
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Candide - Make our garden grow
Leonard Bernstein
Candide - Nothing more than this
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Candide - Nothing more than this
George Gershwin
An American In Paris
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An American In Paris
Leonard Bernstein
Serenade - Agathon
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Serenade - Agathon
Leonard Bernstein
Rondo for Lifey
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Rondo for Lifey
Aaron Copland
Quiet City
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Quiet City
Pyotr Tchaikovsky, New York Philharmonic & Leonard Bernstein
The Sleeping Beauty (Waltz)
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The Sleeping Beauty (Waltz)
Leonard Bernstein
Make Our Garden Grow Finale
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Make Our Garden Grow Finale
Hector Berlioz
Le Carnaval romain - overture (Op.9)
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Le Carnaval romain - overture (Op.9)

Le Carnaval romain - overture (Op.9)

Orchestra
Orchestra di Roma della RAI
Leonard Bernstein
New York, New York from On The Town
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New York, New York from On The Town
Aaron Copland
Appalachian Spring, No.2, Allegro
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Appalachian Spring, No.2, Allegro
Leonard Bernstein
Chichester Psalms
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Chichester Psalms
Kiri Te Kanawa
I Have a Love
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I Have a Love
Kiri Te Kanawa
I Feel Pretty
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I Feel Pretty
Kiri Te Kanawa
Somewhere
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Somewhere
Leonard Bernstein
Piano Trio
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Piano Trio

Piano Trio

Ensemble
Seattle Chamber Music Society
Darius Milhaud
Saudades do Brasil, Op.67
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Saudades do Brasil, Op.67
Antonio Vivaldi
Concerto in C 'con molti strumenti', RV 558
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Concerto in C 'con molti strumenti', RV 558
Leonard Bernstein
Prelude, Fugue and Riffs
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Prelude, Fugue and Riffs
Leonard Bernstein
Take care of this house [from "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue"]
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Take care of this house [from "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue"]
Charles Ives
The Unanswered Question
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The Unanswered Question
Leonard Bernstein
Candide Overture
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Candide Overture
Leonard Bernstein
On the Town - Times Square
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On the Town - Times Square
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Playlists featuring Leonard Bernstein


Past BBC Events

Proms 1988: Prom 04
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/exgrzc
Royal Albert Hall
1988-07-24T07:02:00
24
Jul
1988

Proms 1988: Prom 04

19:30
Royal Albert Hall
Proms 1987: Prom 63
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e6hc8g
Royal Albert Hall
1987-09-10T07:02:00
10
Sep
1987

Proms 1987: Prom 63

19:00
Royal Albert Hall

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