Leonard Bernstein's Omnibus: Introduction to Modern Music

Episode 5

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Program notes

This Omnibus episode, broadcast in 1957, is dedicated to "learned" modern music, a theme selected by Leonard Bernstein because of his personal interest in the genre. Over the course of the episode, he introduces the musical "avant-garde" of the 1950s.

Launched by the Ford Foundation in the 1950s as a way of improving Americans' cultural knowledge, the hit television series quickly drew a cult following, winning multiple awards, including no less than seven Emmys. It was broadcast first by ABC, then CBS, and finally NBC. offers here the seven episodes curated and hosted by Leonard Bernstein, episodes in which he made his TV debut as a music educator. To say that these appearances proved incredibly successful is an understatement: on November 29, 1954—just 15 days after the critically-acclaimed first episode on Beethoven's Fifth Symphony—he was on the cover of Life magazine!

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