Leonard Bernstein

  • August 25, 1918 Lawrence, Mass. (USA) - October 15, 1990 New York (USA)

Biography

Leonard Bernstein, the polymorphous musician

It is difficult to categorise Leonard Bernstein: pianist, composer, teacher or conductor. This prodigious musician was born into a family of Russian Jewish immigrants where music was an all-consuming and omnipresent passion. After studying at the Boston Latin School, the New England Conservatory of Music, Harvard and the Curtis Institute, the young Bernstein was noted and encouraged by great masters such as Mitropoulos and Koussevitzki. In 1943, while holding the post of assistant conductor to Artur Rodzinski’s at the New-York Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernstein was noticed for standing in for Bruno Walter at the last minute. The lightning speed with which Bernstein’s notoriety spread propelled him to conduct the greatest orchestras in the world. A committed artist, he performed with the Palestine Orchestra in the Holy Land and similarly, with the Wiener Philharmoniker, he would switch from works belonging to the great repertoire to first performances of Olivier Messiaen, Francis Poulenc and Hans Werner Henze.

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Leonard Bernstein

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