This is true: I have a stuffed lion named Lenny, named after Leonard Bernstein. He has a wild and magnificent mane, just like the composer/educator often had when he was conducting a symphony.
If he only did those Young People’s Concerts on CBS-TV during my growing-up period (1958-1972) , that would have been enough to make him an important figure in my life.
But, of course, he also composed the music to West Side Story, a movie I saw when I was about 10, and which I’ve seen in various iterations of plays and ballets at least a half dozen times. The Quintet version of Tonight was revelatory.
Leonard Bernstein had such a vast and varied career, I can hardly do it justice.
Here’s a bunch of links:
Leonard Bernstein: Young People’s Concerts | What Does Music Mean (Part 1 of 4) (1958)
Bernstein and Glenn Gould: Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor (BWV 1052) (1960)
Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major, “The Titan” with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra , conducted by Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein, conductor AND pianist, George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue – New York Philharmonic, the Royal Albert Hall (1976)
Leonard Bernstein – Kennedy Center Honors, 1980
Jaquandor writing about John Williams: “There’s a wonderful essay by Leonard Bernstein called ‘The Infinite Variety of Music,’ which appears in the book of the same title. The essay is actually the script of one of the wonderful episodes he used to do for the educational teevee program Omnibus.
“In this particular episode, Bernstein described how composers are able to create an astonishing variety of musical works from just thirteen notes of the Western tuning system, by reducing things even further and showing how a number of great composers wrote amazing pieces, many of which are very familiar, by using as their main motif the exact same four-note melody.”
Religion & Spirituality In The Music Of Leonard Bernstein
Amy Biancolli interview with Jamie Bernstein, Lenny’s daughter