Leonard Bernstein would have been 100

Leonard Bernstein described how composers are able to create an astonishing variety of musical works from just thirteen notes of the Western tuning system

Leonard BernsteinThis 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)

West Side Story -Tonight Quintet and Chorus (1961)

Bernstein explains beautifully and eloquently exactly what a conductor does

Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major, “The Titan” with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra , conducted by Leonard Bernstein

His Overture to Candide, conducted by Bernstein himself

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.”

Bernstein at 100

Religion & Spirituality In The Music Of Leonard Bernstein

10 Must-See Artifacts in This Powerful Centennial Exhibition

Amy Biancolli interview with Jamie Bernstein, Lenny’s daughter

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Leonard Bernstein would have been 100”

  1. I loved the Young People’s Concerts, got turned on the the recording of West Side Story in 8th grade English class, saw the movie many years later – thought the recording was better, and always made a point of watching any time he was on TV with the NY Philharmonic. He was legend – wait for it- dary, legendary!

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