Leonard Bernstein: Teachers and Teaching

An Autobiographic Essay by Leonard Bernstein

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Program notes

This 60-minute program honors the great American conductor, pianist and composer Leonard Bernstein as a teacher.

It assesses his importance, his credo and his sense of obligation to pass on to following generations what he himself learned and experienced. Leonard Bernstein saw himself as a link in a long chain of musical tradition leading from Koussevitzky, Mitropoulos, Reiner and Copland to himself and on to a younger generation represented by Seiji Ozawa and Michael Tilson Thomas, and to the youngest musicians he particularly enjoyed teaching, those who were still dreaming of a career.

The film shows Leonard Bernstein as the great "roaming rabbi" of music and love, two concepts which were synonyms for him, just like learning and teaching. We see the great musician who offered his knowledge without reservation and was still developing himself in his last years, eager to learn from other artists. The film also shows Bernstein during rehearsals with orchestras, with famous soloists (e.g. Krystian Zimerman), in conversation with friends and pupils and at work in Vienna, New York, Tanglewood and Salzau.

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