Leonard Bernstein and Me
Personal recollections of the legendary American conductor and composer on the centenary of his birth.
Composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein is perhaps the most influential American musician of all time. A champion of cultural inclusivity, he tore down musical barriers to declare the symphony hall open to all and offered the classical music world a dynamic new model of what a maestro could be.
As a conductor he achieved early worldwide acclaim, as a composer his work defied genre divisions and brought him popular and critical success, notably with his most well-known work West Side Story. As an educator, he opened up the world of classical music to generations of American children through his long running series of television lectures.
On the centenary of his birth, musician and broadcaster Jon Tolansky meets the people who continue to be inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s all-embracing approach to music and life and who are now breaking down boundaries themselves. He hears personal recollections from his son Alexander Bernstein as well as former pupils and world class musicians Marin Alsop, Thomas Hampson, Jason Robert Brown and David Charles Abell.
Jon also speaks to Bernstein fans Elizabeth TeSelle, Kathy Anderson and Ivan Rodrigues, none of whom knew him personally, but for whom he has had a life-changing effect.
Photo: Leonard Bernstein