Leonard Bernstein (/ˈbɜːrnstaɪn/ BURN-styne; 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.
1.1 Early life
2 Personal life
3 Social activism
4 Artful Learning
5 Influence and characteristics as a conductor
7 Influence and characteristics as a composer
8.4 Incidental music and other theatre
8.5 Film scores
8.8 Chamber music
8.9 Vocal music
8.10 Piano music
8.11 Other music
13 Further reading
14 External links
He was born Louis Bernstein in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the son of
Ukrainian Jewish parents Jennie (née Resnick) and Samuel Joseph
Bernstein, a hairdressing supplies wholesaler originating from Rovno
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
legally 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 hair
product store in downtown Lawrence (no longer standing) 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
orchestral concerts in his teenage years and eventually supported his
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
After graduation from
Boston Latin School
Boston Latin School in 1935, Bernstein attended
Harvard University, where he studied music with, among others, Edward
Burlingame Hill and Walter Piston. 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
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 the 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
After completing his studies at Harvard in 1939 (graduating with a
B.A. cum laude), he enrolled at the
Curtis Institute of Music
Curtis Institute of Music in
Philadelphia. During his time at Curtis, Bernstein studied conducting
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 not to have greatly enjoyed the formal
training environment of Curtis, although often in his later life he
would mention Reiner when discussing important mentors.
Lenny Bernstein and
Benny Goodman in rehearsal, ca. 1940–1949
After he left Curtis, Bernstein lived in New York. He shared an
apartment with his friend
Adolph Green and often accompanied Green,
Betty Comden, and
Judy Holliday in a comedy troupe called The Revuers
who performed in Greenwich Village. He took jobs with a music
publisher, transcribing music or producing arrangements under the
pseudonym Lenny Amber. (Bernstein in German = Amber in English.) 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
Koussevitzky) and Mitropoulos were propitious in helping him gain a
place in the class. Other students in the class included Lukas Foss,
who also became a lifelong friend. Koussevitzky 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 Symphony No. 2,
The Age of Anxiety, to him.
Photo of Bernstein by
Carl Van Vechten
Carl Van Vechten (1944)
Carnegie Hall playbill, November 14, 1943
On November 14, 1943, having recently been appointed assistant
Artur Rodziński of the
New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic Orchestra,
he made his major conducting debut at short notice—and without any
rehearsal—after guest conductor
Bruno Walter came down with the
flu. The program included works by Schumann, Miklós Rózsa,
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. The next day,
The New York Times
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 on CBS
Radio, and afterwards Bernstein started to appear as a guest conductor
with many U.S. orchestras.
From 1945 to 1947, Bernstein was the Music Director of the New York
City Symphony, which had been founded the previous year by the
conductor Leopold Stokowski. The orchestra (with support from the
Mayor) was aimed at a different audience than the New York
Philharmonic, with more modern programs and cheaper tickets. Also
in regard to a different audience, in 1945 Bernstein discussed the
possibility of acting in a film with Greta Garbo—playing Tchaikovsky
opposite her starring role as the composer's patron Nadezhda von
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
Bernstein conducting the
New York City
New York City Symphony (1945)
After World War II, Bernstein's career on the international stage
began to flourish. In 1946, he made his overseas debut with the Czech
Philharmonic in Prague. He also recorded Ravel's Piano Concerto in G
as soloist and conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra. On July 4,
1946, Bernstein conducted the European premiere of Fancy Free with the
Ballet Theatre at the Royal Opera House in London. 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
Orchestra, one of which again featured Bernstein as soloist in the
In 1947, Bernstein conducted in
Tel Aviv for the first time, beginning
a lifelong 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
Mount Scopus to
commemorate the Reunification of Jerusalem. During the 1970s,
Bernstein recorded his symphonies and other works with the Israel
Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon.
On December 10, 1949, he made his first television appearance as
conductor with the
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. The
concert, which also included an address by Eleanor Roosevelt,
celebrated the one-year anniversary of the United Nations General
Assembly's ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
and included the premiere of Aaron Copland's "Preamble" with Sir
Laurence Olivier narrating text from the UN Charter. The concert was
NBC Television Network.
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 orchestra and conducting departments at Tanglewood.
Bernstein, c. 1950s
In 1951, Bernstein conducted the
New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic in the world
première of the Symphony No. 2 of Charles Ives, which was written
around half a century earlier but had never been performed. Throughout
his career, Bernstein often talked about the music of Ives, who died
in 1954. The composer, old and frail, was unable (some reports say
unwilling) to attend the concert, but his wife did. 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's 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
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
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 American conductor to
La Scala in Milan, conducting
Maria Callas in Cherubini's
Medea. This Opera had been virtually abandoned by performers and the
pair learnt it in a week. It was to prove a fruitful collaboration and
Callas and Bernstein went on to perform together many times. That same
year, he produced his score to the musical
Wonderful Town at very
short notice, working again with his 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 from 1955 to 1958 (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 U.S.
in a DVD set in 2010.
In late 1956, Bernstein conducted the
New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic in
concerts that were to have been conducted by Guido Cantelli, who had
died 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
New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic in 1957, replacing Dimitri Mitropoulos. He
began his tenure in that position in 1958, having held the post
jointly with Mitropoulos from 1957 to 1958. In 1958, Bernstein and
Mitropoulos took the
New York Philharmonic
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
He became a well-known figure in the United States through his series
of fifty-three televised
Young People's Concerts for CBS, which grew
out of his Omnibus programs. His first Young People's Concert was
televised a few weeks after his tenure began as principal conductor of
the New York Philharmonic. 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
they were highly acclaimed by critics. Some of Bernstein's music
lectures were released on records; a recording of Humor in Music was
Grammy award for Best Documentary or Spoken Word Recording
(other than comedy) in 1961. The programs were shown in many
countries around the world, often with Bernstein dubbed into other
languages. All of them were released on DVD by Kultur Video (half of
them in 2013).
Bernstein at the piano, making annotations to a musical score
Around the time he was appointed music director of the New York
Philharmonic, Bernstein composed the music for two shows. The first
was for the operetta Candide, which was first performed in 1956 with a
Lillian Hellman based on Voltaire's novella. 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
New York Philharmonic on a tour of Europe and the
Soviet Union, portions of which were filmed by
CBS Television. 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 U.S.,
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, namely the numbers 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 recorded live in 1988 with the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra (one of the few recordings he made with
them, also including the Symphony No. 1).
In 1960 Bernstein and the
New York Philharmonic
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
New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic except the 8th Symphony which was recorded
London Symphony Orchestra
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, if not vital, part of the revival of interest in Mahler in
the 1960s, especially in the U.S.
Other non-U.S. composers that Bernstein championed to some extent at
the time include the Danish composer
Carl Nielsen (who was then only
little known in the U.S.) and Jean Sibelius, whose popularity had 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
Royal Danish Orchestra
Royal Danish Orchestra after a critically acclaimed public
performance in Denmark. Bernstein championed U.S. 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,
Betty Comden and Adolph Green. (The 1949 film version only
contains four of Bernstein's original numbers.) Bernstein also
collaborated with the experimental jazz pianist and composer Dave
Brubeck resulting in the recording "Bernstein Plays Brubeck Plays
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. In the book
Dinner with Lenny, published in October 2013, author Jonathan Cott
provided a thorough debunking, in the conductor's own words, of the
legend which Bernstein himself described in the book as "one ...
that won't go away". 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
New York Philharmonic moved from
Carnegie Hall to
Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen 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 intermission 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. Years later he
conducted at the funeral mass in 1968 for the late President Kennedy's
brother Robert Kennedy.
On November 23, 1963, the day after the assassination of President
John F. Kennedy,
Leonard Bernstein conducted the New York Philharmonic
and the Schola Cantorum of New York in a nationally televised memorial
featuring the "Resurrection Symphony" No. 2 by Gustav Mahler. This was
the first televised performance of the complete symphony. Mahler’s
music had never been performed for such an event, and since the
tribute to JFK, Mahler symphonies have become part of the standard
repertoire for national mourning.
In 1964 Bernstein conducted Franco Zeffirelli's production of Verdi's
Falstaff at the
Metropolitan Opera in New York. In 1966 he made his
debut at the
Vienna State Opera
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
Das Lied von der Erde with Fischer-Dieskau
and James King. He returned to the State Opera in 1968 for a
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's Khovanshchina, he unexpectedly entered the stage and
Claudio Abbado in front of a cheering audience.
With his commitment to the
New York Philharmonic
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 make more time to composition was probably a major
factor in his decision to step down as Music Director of the
Philharmonic in 1969, and to never again accept such a position
Leonard Bernstein by Allan Warren
After 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 to 1976.
All of these were filmed for Unitel with the exception of the 1967
Mahler 2nd, which instead Bernstein filmed with the London Symphony
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
Otto Schenk production of Fidelio, Bernstein playing the 1st
piano concerto and the Ninth Symphony with the
Vienna Philharmonic and
Plácido Domingo amongst the soloists. The program was first
telecast in 1970 on Austrian and British television, and then on CBS
in the U.S. 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. In the summer of 1970, during the Festival of
London, he conducted Verdi's Requiem Mass in St. Paul's Cathedral,
with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Bernstein's major compositions during the 1970s were his Mass: A
Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers; his score for the
ballet Dybbuk; his orchestral vocal work Songfest; and his U.S.
bicentenary musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue written with lyrics by
Alan Jay Lerner
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
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's Carmen, 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 recitatives 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
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. However, these
lectures were not televised until 1976. 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 series 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
Bernstein played an instrumental role in the exiling of the
world-renowned cellist and conductor, Mstislav Rostropovich, from the
USSR in 1974. Rostropovich, a strong believer in free speech and
democracy, was officially held in disgrace, his concerts and tours
both at home and abroad cancelled, and in 1972 he was prohibited to
travel outside of Russia. During a trip to USSR in 1974, Massachusetts
Ted Kennedy and his wife Joan, urged by Bernstein and others
in the cultural scene, brought up Rostropovich's situation to Soviet
Union Communist Party Leader Leonid Brezhnev. Two days later,
Rostropovich was granted his exit visa.
Chevy Chase states in his biography that
Lorne Michaels wanted
Bernstein to host
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live in the show's first season
(1975–76). Chase was seated next to Bernstein at a birthday party
Kurt Vonnegut and made the request in person. However, the pitch
involved a Bernstein-conducted SNL version of West Side Story, and
Bernstein was uninterested.
In October 1976,
Leonard Bernstein led the Bavarian Radio Symphony
Orchestra and legendary pianist
Claudio Arrau in an Amnesty
International Benefit Concert in Munich. To honor his late wife and to
continue their joint struggle for human rights, Leonard Bernstein
Felicia Montealegre Bernstein Fund of Amnesty
International USA to provide support for human rights activists who
have few resources beyond personal dedication.
In 1978, Bernstein returned to the
Vienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera to conduct a
revival of the
Otto Schenk production of Fidelio, now featuring
Gundula Janowitz and
René 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
played two U.S. 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
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for the
first 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
New York Philharmonic
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. One oddity of the
recording is that the trombone section fails to enter at the climax of
the finale, as a result of an audience member fainting just behind the
trombones a few seconds earlier.
Bernstein received the
Kennedy Center Honors
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
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower had made to him in 1960.
Maximilian Schell on
PBS Beethoven TV series (1982)
In 1982 in the U.S.,
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 Beethoven 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
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
Great 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 bohème.
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
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
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.
Bernstein also continued to make his own TV documentaries during the
1980s, including The Little Drummer Boy, in which he discussed the
music of Gustav Mahler, perhaps the composer he was most passionately
interested in, and The Love of Three Orchestras, in which he discussed
his work in New York, Vienna, and Israel.
In his later years, Bernstein's life and work were celebrated around
the world (as they have been since his death). The
celebrated his involvement with them at Festivals in
Austria in 1977. In 1986 the
London Symphony Orchestra
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 rewrites 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.
Bernstein's grave in Green-Wood Cemetery
On December 25, 1989, Bernstein conducted Beethoven's Symphony No. 9
in East Berlin's Schauspielhaus 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
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
Leonard Bernstein received the Praemium Imperiale, an
international prize awarded by the Japan Arts Association for lifetime
achievement in the arts. Bernstein used the $100,000 prize to
establish The Bernstein Education Through the Arts (BETA) Fund,
Leonard Bernstein provided this grant to develop an
arts-based education program. The
Leonard Bernstein Center was
established in April 1992, and initiated extensive school-based
research, resulting in the Bernstein Model, the Leonard Bernstein
Artful Learning Program.
Bernstein made his final performance as a conductor at
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 during the Third Movement of
the Beethoven Symphony, however the maestro continued to conduct the
piece until its conclusion, leaving the stage during the ovation,
appearing exhausted and in pain. The concert was later issued on
Leonard Bernstein – The Final Concert by Deutsche Grammophon
(catalog number 431 768).
After much personal struggle and a turbulent on-off engagement, he
married the Chilean-born American 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. In a book
released in October 2013, The
Leonard Bernstein Letters, his wife
reveals his homosexuality. Felicia writes: "you are a homosexual and
may never change—you don’t admit to the possibility of a double
life, but if your peace of mind, your health, your whole nervous
system depend on a certain sexual pattern what can you do?" 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, 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 Bernstein and his wife
didn't love each other. 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.
A major period of upheaval in Bernstein's personal life began in 1976
when he decided that he could no longer conceal his homosexuality and
he left his wife Felicia for a period to live with the musical
director of the classical music radio station KKHI-FM in San
Francisco, 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. Bernstein is reported to have
often spoken of his terrible guilt over his wife's death. Most
biographies of Bernstein state 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
Bernstein announced his retirement from conducting on October 9,
1990, and died of a heart attack five days later, brought on by
mesothelioma. 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, calling out "Goodbye, Lenny."
Bernstein is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York,
next to his wife and with a copy of Mahler's Fifth lying across his
While Bernstein was very well known for his music compositions and
conducting, he was 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, by Marc Blitzstein, about
the disparity between the working and upper class. His first opera,
Trouble in Tahiti, was dedicated to Blitzstein and has a strong social
theme, criticizing American civilization and suburban upper-class life
in particular. 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 western nuclear weapons.
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
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
on January 14, 1970. Bernstein and his wife held the event seeking to
raise awareness and money for the defense of several members of the
Black Panther Party
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 magazine New York. 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
Bernstein was named in the book Red Channels: The Report of Communist
Influence in Radio and Television (1950) as a Communist along with
Aaron Copland, Lena Horne, Pete Seeger, Artie Shaw and other prominent
figures of the performing arts.
Red Channels was issued by the
right-wing journal Counterattack and was edited by Vincent Hartnett,
who was later found to have libeled and defamed the noted radio
personality John Henry Faulk.
Among 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 in 1990, he used the
$100,000 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
Artful Learning is based on Bernstein's philosophy that the arts can
strengthen learning and be incorporated in all academic subjects.
The program is based on "units of study," which each consist of four
core elements: experience, inquire, create, and reflect. After two
decades of research and implementation across the United States,
Artful Learning Schools demonstrate that Units of Study that utilize
rigor, cognitive complexity and deep understanding through a
commitment to collaborative and independent learning demonstrate high
levels of student engagement and academic achievement.
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Influence and characteristics as a conductor
Leonard Bernstein in 1971
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Bernstein was one of the major figures in orchestral conducting in the
second half of the 20th century. He was held in high regard amongst
many musicians, including the members of the Vienna Philharmonic
Orchestra, evidenced by his honorary membership; the London Symphony
Orchestra, of which he was President; and the
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, Liszt, Nielsen,
Sibelius, Stravinsky, Hindemith, and Shostakovich, among others.
His recordings of
Rhapsody in Blue
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 more than a few excerpts from 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 an 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, including John Mauceri, Marin Alsop, Herbert
Blomstedt, Edo de Waart, Alexander Frey, Paavo Järvi, Eiji Oue,
Seiji Ozawa (who made his American TV debut as the
guest conductor on one of the Young People's Concerts), Carl St.Clair,
Helmuth Rilling, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Jaap van Zweden. He also
undoubtedly influenced the career choices of many American musicians
who grew up watching his television programmes in the 1950s and 60s.
Bernstein recorded extensively from the mid-1940s until just a few
months before his death. Aside from those 1940s recordings, which were
made for RCA Victor, Bernstein recorded primarily for Columbia
Masterworks Records, especially when he was music director of the New
York Philharmonic between 1958 and 1971. 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 or on one of the Young People's Concerts, with any spare time
used to record short orchestral showpieces and similar works. Many of
these performances were digitally remastered and reissued by
part of their 100 Volume, 125 CDs "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 and Mozart's 15th
piano concerto and "Linz" symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic
Decca Records (1966); Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique
Harold in Italy
Harold in Italy (1976) for EMI; and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde
(1981) for Philips Records, a label that like
Deutsche Grammophon was
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
Laserdisc and are now on DVD.
In total Bernstein was awarded 16
Grammys for his recordings in
various categories, including several for posthumously released
recordings. He was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement
Grammy in 1985.
Influence and characteristics as a composer
Bernstein was an eclectic composer whose music fused elements of jazz,
Jewish music, theatre music and the work of earlier 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 U.S.
orchestras in 2008–09 behind Copland, and he was the 16th most
frequently performed composer overall by U.S. orchestras. (Some
performances were probably due to the 2008 90th anniversary of his
birth.) 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 and
Candide 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
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.
Bernstein's works were performed several times for Pope John Paul II,
World Youth Day
World Youth Day in
Denver on August 14, 1993
(excerpts from MASS), and at the Papal Concert to Commemorate the
Shoah on April 7, 1994, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Chichester Psalms and Symphony No. 3,
Kaddish [excerpt]) in the Sala
Nervi at the Vatican. Both performances were conducted by Gilbert
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.
Main article: List of compositions by Leonard Bernstein
Fancy Free, 1944
Facsimile – Choreographic Essay for Orchestra, 1946
Dybbuk (ballet), 1974
Trouble in Tahiti, 1952
Candide, 1956 (new libretto in 1973, operetta final revised version in
A Quiet Place, 1983, revised in 1986
On The Town, 1944
Wonderful Town, 1953
West Side Story, 1957
The Race to Urga (incomplete), 1969
"By Bernstein" (a Revue), 1975
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 1976
"A Party with
Betty Comden and Adolph Green", 1977
The Madwoman of Central Park West, (contributed to) 1979
Incidental music and other theatre
Peter Pan, 1950
The Lark, 1955
The Firstborn, 1958
MASS (theatre piece for singers, players and dancers), 1971
"Side by Side by Sondheim"* 1976
On the Town, 1949 (only part of his music was used)
On the Waterfront, 1954 (no vocal singing, not adapted from a stage
West Side Story, 1961
Symphony No. 1, Jeremiah, 1942
Fancy Free and Three Dance Variations from "Fancy Free", concert
Three Dance Episodes from "On the Town", concert premiere 1947
Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety, (after W. H. Auden) for piano and
orchestra, 1949 (revised in 1965)
Serenade after Plato's "Symposium" for solo violin, strings, harp and
Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs for solo clarinet and jazz ensemble, 1949
Symphonic Suite from "On the Waterfront", 1955
Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story", 1961
Symphony No. 3, Kaddish, 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 Orchestra,
Three Meditations from "MASS" for violoncello and orchestra, 1977
Slava! A Political Overture
Slava! A Political Overture for orchestra, 1977
Divertimento for Orchestra, 1980
Halil, nocturne for solo flute, piccolo, alto flute, percussion, harp
and strings, 1981
Concerto for Orchestra, 1989 (Originally Jubilee Games from 1986,
revised in 1989)
Hashkiveinu for cantor (tenor), mixed chorus and organ, 1945
Missa Brevis for mixed chorus and countertenor solo, with percussion,
Chichester Psalms for boy soprano (or countertenor), mixed chorus, and
orchestra, 1965 (Reduced version for organ, harp and percussion)
Piano Trio, 1937, Boosey & Hawkes
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, 1942
Brass Music, 1959
Dance Suite, 1988
Variations on an Octatonic Scale for recorder and cello, 1988
I Hate Music: A cycle of Five Kids Songs for Soprano and Piano, 1943
Big Stuff, sung by Billie Holiday
La Bonne Cuisine: Four Recipes for Voice and Piano, 1948
Silhouette (Galilee), 1951
Two Love Songs, 1960
So Pretty, 1968
Piccola Serenata, 1979
Arias and Barcarolles for mezzo-soprano, baritone and piano
Music for Two Pianos, 1937
Piano Sonata, 1938
7 Anniversaries, 1944
4 Anniversaries, 1948
5 Anniversaries, 1952
Bridal Suite, 1960
Moby Diptych, 1981 (republished as Anniversaries nos. 1 and 2 in
13 Anniversaries, 1988
Other occasional works, written as gifts and other forms of memorial
"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
"Shivaree: A Fanfare" for double brass ensemble and percussion. 1970.
Commissioned by and dedicated to the
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New
York in honor of its Centenary. Musical material later used in
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Bernstein, Leonard (1993) . Findings. New York: Anchor Books.
Bernstein, Leonard (1993) . The Infinite Variety of Music. New
York: Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-42438-8.
Bernstein, Leonard (2004) . The Joy of Music. Pompton Plains,
New Jersey: Amadeus Press. ISBN 1-57467-104-9.
Bernstein, Leonard (2006) . Young People's Concerts. Milwaukee;
Cambridge: Amadeus Press. ISBN 1-57467-102-2.
Bernstein, Leonard.  The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at
Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-92001-5.
Bernstein, Leonard.  The
Leonard Bernstein Letters, Yale
University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-17909-5.
The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard. West Long Branch, New
Jersey: Kultur Video. VHS ISBN 1-56127-570-0. DVD
ISBN 0-7697-1570-2. (videotape of the Charles Eliot Norton
Lectures given at Harvard in 1973.)
Young People's Concerts with the New York
Philharmonic. West Long Branch, New Jersey: Kultur Video. DVD
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,
Bernstein: Reflections (1978), Euroarts.
Bernstein/Beethoven (1982), Deutsche Grammophon, DVD
Bernstein Conducts "West Side Story" (1985) (retitled The Making of
West Side Story
West Side Story in re-releases) Deutsche Grammophon. DVD
"The Rite of Spring" in Rehearsal
"Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note" (1998) Documentary on his
life and music. Originally aired on PBS's American Masters series. DVD
Main article: List of
Leonard Bernstein awards
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1951
Sonning Award (Denmark), 1965
Ditson Conductor's Award, 1958
George Peabody Medal – Johns Hopkins University, 1980
Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
Ernst von Siemens Music Prize 1987
Royal Philharmonic Society
Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal (UK), 1987
Knight Grand Cross Order of Merit (Italy), 1989
Grammy Award for Best Album for Children
Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance
Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance
Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording
Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance
Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance
Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition
Grammy Award for Best Classical Album
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
Tony Award for Best Musical
Special Tony Award
Japan Arts Association Lifetime Achievement Award
Gramophone Hall of Fame entrant
Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur, 1986
Leonard Bernstein is also a member of both the American Theater Hall
of Fame, and the Television Hall of Fame. In 2015 he was
inducted into the Legacy Walk.
^ Karlin, Fred (1994). Listening to Movies 8. New York: Schirmer.
p. 264. Bernstein's pronunciation of his own name as he
introduces his Peter and the Wolf.
^ a b Henahan, Donal (October 15, 1990). "Leonard Bernstein, 72,
Music's Monarch, Dies". New York Times. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
Leonard Bernstein, one of the most prodigally talented and successful
musicians in American history, died yesterday evening at his apartment
at the Dakota on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He was 72 years
old. Mr. Bernstein's spokeswoman, Margaret Carson, said he died of a
heart attack caused by progressive lung failure.
^ Laird, Paul R. Leonard Bernstein: A Guide to Research. Routledge,
2002. p. 10.
^ Dougary, Ginny (March 13, 2010). "Leonard Bernstein: 'charismatic,
pompous – and a great father'". The Times. UK. Retrieved March
^ Oliver, Myrna (October 15, 1990). "
Leonard Bernstein Dies;
Composer Music: Renaissance man of his art was 72. The
longtime leader of the N.Y. Philharmonic carved a niche in history
with `West Side Story.'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 12,
^ Peyser, Joan (1987). Bernstein, a Biography. New York: Beech Tree
Books. pp. 22–24. ISBN 0-688-04918-4.
^ Peyser (1987), p. 34.
^ Peyser (1987), pp. 39–40.
^ a b See for instance Bernstein's 1980 TV Documentary, Teachers and
Teaching available on a
Deutsche Grammophon DVD.
^ Peyser (1987) (Bernstein complained later that she taught him an
incorrect piano technique), pp. 38–39.
^ "Bernstein Chronology".
^ "About Bernstein".
Leonard Bernstein official site. Retrieved
January 15, 2007.
^ "Leonard Bernstein – Biography".
Sony Classical. Archived
from the original on October 13, 2005. Retrieved January 15,
^ Program and recording (except Wagner's Prelude to Die
New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic Digital Archives
^ Deems Taylor (July 25, 2007), Pathétique, Music-Appreciation
^ David Hamilton, "Dorle Jarmel Soria", Opera News 67 (October 2002),
p. 84. The "event" was due in part to the efforts of
Dorle Soria who
had been on the staff of the
New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic since the late
^ Weinstock, Matt (August 25, 2016). "
Leonard Bernstein and the
Youngest, Poorest Symphony in the World,"
New York City
New York City Center blog.
^ Rockwell, John (December 15, 2013). "Maestro 'The Leonard Bernstein
Letters'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
^ Arturo Toscanini: the
NBC years. Amadeus Press. 2002.
^ 1961-, Bradley, Mark,. The world reimagined : Americans and
human rights in the twentieth century. New York, NY, USA.
ISBN 0521829755. OCLC 946031535.
^ "Leonard Bernstein". www.leonardbernstein.com.
^ "Young People's Concerts". Leonard Bernstein. Retrieved September
^ "Honors: A Selected List –
Grammy Awards". The Leonard Bernstein
Office, Inc. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
^ Transcription of Bernstein's
Glenn Gould Introduction Archived
October 31, 2000, at the Wayback Machine. (from a Rutgers University
^ Glenn Gould: Variations, Ed. John McGreevy (1983).
^ "JFK: The Philharmonic and
Leonard Bernstein Respond". nyphil.org.
^ Kennedy, Joan (1994-09-01). The Joy of Classical Music: A Guide for
You and Your Family (Reissue ed.). New York: Main Street Books.
^ 1932-2009,, Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), (2009). True
compass : a memoir (1st ed.). New York: Twelve.
ISBN 0446539252. OCLC 434905205.
^ Fruchter, I'm Chevy Chase... and you're not, p. 184
^ Barbara., Hendricks,. Lifting my voice : a memoir. Chicago.
ISBN 1613748523. OCLC 879372080.
^ a b c d Burton, Humphrey (1994). Leonard Bernstein. New York:
Leonard Bernstein and
Maximilian Schell discussing Beethoven's 6th
and 7th Symphony on YouTube, video clip, 9 minutes
^ Naxos (2006). "Ode To Freedom – Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
(NTSC)". Naxos.com Classical Music Catalogue. Archived from the
original on November 22, 2006. Retrieved November 26, 2006.
^ "Prelude, Fugue & Riffs, Fall/Winter 2005" (PDF). The Leonard
^ "History of the
Leonard Bernstein Center for Learning". Retrieved
Garrison Keillor (August 25, 2003). "The Writer's Almanac". American
Public Media. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
^ Kozinn, Allan (October 10, 1990). "Bernstein Retires From
Performing, Citing Poor Health". The New York Times. Retrieved October
^ Clark, Sedgewick (June 13, 1993). "Recording View: Bernstein: Yet
More Surprises?". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
^ Charles Kaiser, The Gay Metropolis, New York City: 1940–1996.
^ a b Meryle Secrest (1995), Leonard Bernstein: A Life.
^ Peyser (1987), pp. 196, 204, 322.
Leonard Bernstein a gay man who dabbled in the straight world".
July 12, 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
^ "» Died On This Date (October 14, 1990)
Leonard Bernstein / World
Composer The Music's Over". October 14, 2009. Retrieved May
^ Stanton, Scott (September 1, 2003). "The Tombstone Tourist:
Musicians". Simon and Schuster – via Google Books.
^ a b See the TV Documentary: Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note
originally shown in the series American Masters on
PBS in the U.S.,
now on DVD.
^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000
Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 3707–3708). McFarland
& Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
^ Davis, Peter G. (May 17, 2011). "When Mahler Took Manhattan."
Retrieved 2011-5-18. "Small wonder that Bernstein is buried with the
score of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony placed over his heart."
^ Bernstein:The Best of All Possible Worlds. "Causes and Effecting
Change". Archived from the original on December 24, 2010.
^ Seldes, Barry (2009). Leonard Bernstein: The Political Life of an
American Musician. University of California Press.
^ "Radical Chic". Hope for America: Performers, Politics and Pop
Culture. Library of Congress. Archived from the original on July 25,
2012. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
^ "False Note on Black Panthers". The New York Times. January 16,
^ Wolfe, Tom. "Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's". New York. "Tom
Wolfe on Radical Chic and Leonard Bernstein's Party for the Black
Panthers". Retrieved December 11, 2010.
^ Wolfe, Tom (June 8, 1970). "Radical Chic: that Party at Lenny's"
(PDF). New York. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
^ "Leonard Bernstein: A political life". The Economist. May 28, 2009.
Retrieved December 12, 2010.
^ Bernstein, Felicia M. (January 21, 1970). "Letters to the Editor of
The Times: Panthers' Legal Aid". The New York Times.
^ "The Social Activist". Bernstein: The Best of All Possible Worlds.
Carnegie Hall Corporation. Archived from the original on December 23,
2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
^ "Bernstein, Copland, Seeger and others are named as Communists".
^ "Fear On Trial" by John Henry Faulk
^ "The Jury Returns" by Louis Nizer
^ "Temple Emanuel".
^ Harrison, Eric (August 9, 1993). "The maestro's legacy reverberates
in Nashville : Leonard Bernstein's dream of creating a center
that integrates the arts and the classroom is in full swing". Los
Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved Oct 11, 2011.
Artful Learning Model: A Case Study of an
Elementary School". Retrieved 2013-12-01.
^ "Leonard Bernstein's Arts-Based Education Revolution". Retrieved
Artful Learning Model". The
Leonard Bernstein Center. Retrieved 7
^ Holmes, John L. (1982). Conductors on Record. UK: Greenwood Press.
^ In the 1978 Peter Rosen documentary Leonard Bernstein: Reflections,
now available on a Medici Arts DVD.
^ "2008–2009 Season, Orchestra Repertoire Report" (PDF). League of
American Orchestras. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
^ Gruen, John and Heyman, Ken (1968).The Private World of Leonard
Bernstein. New York: The Viking Press.
^ Copland, Aaron and Perlis, Vivian (1984). Copland Since 1943, p.
^ Finding aid for the George Trescher records related to The
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art Centennial, 1949, 1960-1971 (bulk
1967-1970). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of
Arts and Sciences. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
Leonard Bernstein (composer, conductor and pianist)".
^ "Theater Hall of Fame members".
Television Hall of Fame Honorees: The Complete List".
Legacy Walk unveils five new bronze memorial plaques – 2342 –
Gay Lesbian Bi Trans News – Windy City Times".
Bernstein, Burton (1982). Family Matters: Sam, Jennie, and the Kids.
Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0595133420.
Bernstein, Burton; Haws, Barbara, eds. (2008). Leonard Bernstein:
American Original. Contains chapters by Alan Rich, Paul Boyer, Carol
J. Oja, Tim Page, Burton Bernstein, Jonathan Rosenberg, Joseph
Horowitz, Bill McGlaughlin, James M. Keller, and John Adams. New York:
HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-153786-1.
Bernstein, Shirley (1963). Making Music: Leonard Bernstein. Chicago:
Encyclopædia Britannica Press. ASIN B0007E073Y.
Briggs, John (1961). Leonard Bernstein: The Man, His Works and His
World. World Publishing Co. ISBN 978-1163810798.
Burton, Humphrey (1994). Leonard Bernstein. New York: Doubleday.
Burton, William W. (1995). Conversations about Bernstein. New York:
Oxford University Press, New York. ISBN 978-0195079470.
Chapin, Schuyler (1992). Leonard Bernstein: Notes from a Friend. New
York: Walker. ISBN 0-8027-1216-9.
Cone, Molly & Robert Galster (1970). Leonard Bernstein. New York:
Thomas Y. Crowell Co. ISBN 978-0690487862
Ewen, David (1960). Leonard Bernstein, A Biography for Young People.
Philadelphia: Chilton Co. ISBN 978-1376190656
Fluegel, Jane (ed.) (1991). Bernstein: Remembered: a life in pictures.
New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. ISBN 9780881847222.
Freedland, Michael (1987). Leonard Bernstein. London, England: Harrap.
Ltd. ISBN 978-0245544996.
Gottlieb, Jack (ed.) (1992). Leonard Bernstein's Young People's
Concerts (revised ed.). New York: Anchor Books.
ISBN 0-385-42435-3. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list
Gottlieb, Jack (2010). Working With Bernstein. Amadeus Press.
Green, Diane Huss (1963). Lenny's Surprise Piano. San Carlos,
California: Golden Gate Junior Books. ASIN B0006AYE10.
Gruen, John (1968). The Private World of Leonard Bernstein. New York:
The Viking Press. ISBN 978-0670578559.
Hurwitz, Johanna (1963). Leonard Bernstein: A Passion of Music.
Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society.
Ledbetter, Steven (1988). Sennets & Tuckets, A Bernstein
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra in association with
David Godine Publisher, Inc.. ISBN 978-0879237752.
Laird, Paul R. (2002). Leonard Bernstein: A Guide to Research. New
York: Routledge. ISBN 0-8153-3517-2. (online Life at Google
Oja, Carol (2014). Bernstein Meets Broadway. Oxford University Press.
Peyser, Joan (1987). Bernstein, A Biography. New York: Beech Tree
Books/William Morrow. ASIN B01K2JCIX0.
Reidy, John P. & Norman Richards (1967). People of Destiny:
Leonard Bernstein. Chicago: Children's Press. ASIN B0092UTPIW.
Robinson, Paul (1982). Bernstein (The Art of
Conducting Series). New
York: Vangard Press. ASIN B01K92K1OI.
Rozen, Brian D. (1997). The Contributions of
Leonard Bernstein to
Music Education: An Analysis of his 53 Young People's Concerts. Thesis
(PhD). Rochester, New York: University of Rochester.
Secrest, Meryle (1994).
Leonard Bernstein A Life. Alfred A. Knopf.
Seldes, Barry (2009). Leonard Bernstein: The Political Life of an
American Musician. University of California Press.
Shawn, Allen (2014). Leonard Bernstein: An American Musician. Yale
University Press. ISBN 978-0300144284.
Simeone, Nigel (2013). The
Leonard Bernstein Letters. Yale University
Press. ISBN 9780300179095.
Wolfe, Tom (1987). Radical Chic and Mau Mauing the Flak Catchers. New
York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux. ASIN B01NAOARU3.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leonard Bernstein.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein at Encyclopædia Britannica
Leonard Bernstein Collection at the
Library of Congress
Library of Congress Music
Leonard Bernstein discography at MusicBrainz
Discography at SonyBMG Masterworks
Bernstein's Boston, a
Harvard University research project
Leonard Bernstein at Find a Grave
FBI file on Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts
Gay Great – Leonard Bernstein
Radical Chic, a book by
Tom Wolfe describing a gathering at
Bernstein's apartment of New York's social elite and the Black Panther
Leonard Bernstein: A Total Embrace of Music, written by Peter Gutmann,
Arias and Barcarolles, The
Leonard Bernstein Pages
Leonard Bernstein on IMDb
Leonard Bernstein at the
Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Leonard Bernstein at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
Leonard Bernstein's maximum card from Israel
Obituary, New York Times, October 15, 1990
Leonard Bernstein: American Original (HarperCollins, 2008) Chapters by
Alan Rich, Paul Boyer, Carol J. Oja, Tim Page, Burton Bernstein,
Jonathan Rosenberg, Joseph Horowitz, Bill McGlaughlin, James M.
Keller, John Adams
Pacific Music Festival, founded by
Leonard Bernstein and Michael
Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
Benjamin Britten (1974)
Olivier Messiaen (1975)
Mstislav Rostropovich (1976)
Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan (1977)
Rudolf Serkin (1978)
Pierre Boulez (1979)
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1980)
Elliott Carter (1981)
Gidon Kremer (1982)
Witold Lutosławski (1983)
Yehudi Menuhin (1984)
Andrés Segovia (1985)
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1986)
Leonard Bernstein (1987)
Peter Schreier (1988)
Luciano Berio (1989)
Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze (1990)
Heinz Holliger (1991)
H. C. Robbins Landon
H. C. Robbins Landon (1992)
György Ligeti (1993)
Claudio Abbado (1994)
Harrison Birtwistle (1995)
Maurizio Pollini (1996)
Helmut Lachenmann (1997)
György Kurtág (1998)
Arditti Quartet (1999)
Mauricio Kagel (2000)
Reinhold Brinkmann (2001)
Nikolaus Harnoncourt (2002)
Wolfgang Rihm (2002)
Alfred Brendel (2004)
Henri Dutilleux (2004)
Daniel Barenboim (2005)
Brian Ferneyhough (2007)
Anne-Sophie Mutter (2008)
Klaus Huber (2009)
Michael Gielen (2010)
Aribert Reimann (2011)
Friedrich Cerha (2012)
Mariss Jansons (2013)
Peter Gülke (2014)
Christoph Eschenbach (2015)
Per Nørgård (2016)
Pierre-Laurent Aimard (2017)
Beat Furrer (2018)
Léonie Sonning Music Prize Laureates
Igor Stravinsky (1959)
Leonard Bernstein (1965)
Birgit Nilsson (1966)
Witold Lutosławski (1967)
Benjamin Britten (1968)
Boris Christoff (1969)
Sergiu Celibidache (1970)
Arthur Rubinstein (1971)
Yehudi Menuhin (1972)
Dmitri Shostakovich (1973)
Andrés Segovia (1974)
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1975)
Mogens Wöldike (1976)
Olivier Messiaen (1977)
Jean-Pierre Rampal (1978)
Janet Baker (1979)
Marie-Claire Alain (1980)
Mstislav Rostropovich (1981)
Isaac Stern (1982)
Rafael Kubelík (1983)
Miles Davis (1984)
Pierre Boulez (1985)
Sviatoslav Richter (1986)
Heinz Holliger (1987)
Peter Schreier (1988)
Gidon Kremer (1989)
György Ligeti (1990)
Eric Ericson (1991)
Georg Solti (1992)
Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1993)
Krystian Zimerman (1994)
Yuri Bashmet (1995)
Per Nørgård (1996)
András Schiff (1997)
Hildegard Behrens (1998)
Sofia Gubaidulina (1999)
Michala Petri (2000)
Anne-Sophie Mutter (2001)
Alfred Brendel (2002)
György Kurtág (2003)
Keith Jarrett (2004)
John Eliot Gardiner
John Eliot Gardiner (2005)
Yo-Yo Ma (2006)
Lars Ulrik Mortensen (2007)
Arvo Pärt (2008)
Daniel Barenboim (2009)
Cecilia Bartoli (2010)
Kaija Saariaho (2011)
Jordi Savall (2012)
Simon Rattle (2013)
Martin Fröst (2014)
Thomas Adès (2015)
Herbert Blomstedt (2016)
Leonidas Kavakos (2017)
Mariss Jansons (2018)
Musicals and operas of Leonard Bernstein
On the Town
Trouble in Tahiti
West Side Story
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
A Quiet Place
The Race to Urga
New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic Music Directors
Ureli Corelli Hill
Ureli Corelli Hill (1842)
Theodore Eisfeld (1848)
Carl Bergmann (1855)
Leopold Damrosch (1876)
Theodore Thomas (1877)
Adolf Neuendorff (1878)
Anton Seidl (1891)
Emil Paur (1898)
Walter Damrosch (1902)
Vasily Safonov (1906)
Gustav Mahler (1909)
Josef Stránský (1911)
Willem Mengelberg (1922)
Arturo Toscanini (1928)
John Barbirolli (1936)
Artur Rodziński (1943)
Bruno Walter (1947)
Leopold Stokowski (1949)
Dimitri Mitropoulos (1949)
Leonard Bernstein (1958)
George Szell (1969)
Pierre Boulez (1971)
Zubin Mehta (1978)
Kurt Masur (1991)
Lorin Maazel (2002)
Alan Gilbert (2009)
Kennedy Center Honorees (1980s)
Agnes de Mille
Gian Carlo Menotti
Alan Jay Lerner
Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe
Hume Cronyn & Jessica Tandy
Sammy Davis Jr.
Roger L. Stevens
Television Hall of Fame Class of 1990
I Love Lucy
Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album
Stan Freberg – The Best of the
Stan Freberg Shows (1959)
Carl Sandburg –
Lincoln Portrait (1960)
Robert Bialek (producer) – FDR Speaks (1961)
Leonard Bernstein – Humor in Music (1962)
Charles Laughton – The Story-Teller: A Session With Charles Laughton
Edward Albee (playwright) –
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1964)
That Was the Week That Was
That Was the Week That Was – BBC Tribute to
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy (1965)
Goddard Lieberson (producer) –
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy - As We Remember Him
Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow –
Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow - A Reporter Remembers, Vol. I
The War Years (1967)
Everett Dirksen – Gallant Men (1968)
Rod McKuen – Lonesome Cities (1969)
Art Linkletter &
Diane Linkletter – We Love You Call Collect
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. – Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam (1971)
Les Crane – Desiderata (1972)
Bruce Botnick (producer) – Lenny performed by the original Broadway
Richard Harris –
Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1974)
Peter Cook and
Dudley Moore – Good Evening (1975)
James Whitmore –
Give 'em Hell, Harry!
Give 'em Hell, Harry! (1976)
Henry Fonda, Helen Hayes,
James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones and
Orson Welles - Great
American Documents (1977)
Julie Harris –
The Belle of Amherst
The Belle of Amherst (1978)
Orson Welles –
Citizen Kane Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
John Gielgud – Ages of Man - Readings From
Pat Carroll – Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein,
Gertrude Stein (1981)
Orson Welles –
Donovan's Brain (1982)
Tom Voegeli (producer) –
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark - The Movie on
Record performed by Various Artists (1983)
William Warfield –
Lincoln Portrait (1984)
Ben Kingsley – The Words of Gandhi (1985)
Mike Berniker (producer) & the original Broadway cast – Ma
Rainey's Black Bottom (1986)
Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chips Moman, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison,
Carl Perkins and
Sam Phillips – Interviews From the Class of '55
Recording Sessions (1987)
Garrison Keillor –
Lake Wobegon Days (1988)
Jesse Jackson – Speech by Rev.
Jesse Jackson (1989)
Gilda Radner – It's Always Something (1990)
George Burns – Gracie: A Love Story (1991)
Ken Burns – The Civil War (1992)
Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Robert O'Keefe – What You Can Do to Avoid
Maya Angelou –
On the Pulse of Morning
On the Pulse of Morning (1994)
Henry Rollins – Get in the Van (1995)
Maya Angelou – Phenomenal Woman (1996)
Hillary Clinton –
It Takes a Village (1997)
Charles Kuralt – Charles Kuralt's Spring (1998)
Christopher Reeve –
Still Me (1999)
LeVar Burton – The Autobiography of
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. (2000)
Sidney Poitier, Rick Harris & John Runnette (producers) – The
Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (2001)
Quincy Jones, Jeffrey S. Thomas, Steven Strassman (engineers) and
Elisa Shokoff (producer) – Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones
Maya Angelou and Charles B. Potter (producer) – A Song Flung Up to
Heaven / Robin Williams, Nathaniel Kunkel (engineer/mixer) and Peter
Asher (producer) – Live 2002 (2003)
Al Franken and Paul Ruben (producer) – Lies and the Lying Liars Who
Tell Them (2004)
Bill Clinton – My Life (2005)
Barack Obama –
Dreams from My Father
Dreams from My Father (2006)
Jimmy Carter – Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis / Ossie
Ruby Dee - With Ossie and Ruby (2007)
Barack Obama and Jacob Bronstein (producer) – The Audacity of Hope
Cynthia Nixon and
Blair Underwood – An Inconvenient
Al Gore (2009)
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox – Always Looking Up (2010)
Jon Stewart – The Daily Show with
Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The
Betty White – If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't) (2012)
Janis Ian – Society's Child (2013)
Stephen Colbert – America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never
Joan Rivers – Diary of a Mad Diva (2015)
Jimmy Carter – A Full Life: Reflections at 90 (2016)
Carol Burnett – In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter,
Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox (2017)
Carrie Fisher –
The Princess Diarist
The Princess Diarist (2018)
ISNI: 0000 0003 6857 3393
BNF: cb138914334 (data)