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Leonard Bernstein:
American Composers with a Boston Connection

Leonard Bernstein grew up in the Boston area. Here are some more composers who spent time in and around that city.

Music heard in this episode:
Bernstein: Candide:Overture
Billings: Chester
Billings: When Jesus Wept
Chadwick: Hobgoblin
Paine: Symphony No. 2
Foote: Rigaudon
MacDowell: Forest Spirits
Beach: Fireflies
Piston: Incredible Flutist: Finale
Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine

Other shows about Leonard Bernstein:
About Leonard Bernstein
Bernstein and Musical Theater
Operettas in English

Download this month's activity sheet

About Leonard Bernstein
8/25/1918 - 10/14/1990
Born in America

Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and grew up in the Boston area. His father sold wigs and beauty supplies, and wanted his oldest son to take over the business. But after Leonard -- or Lenny, as all his friends called him -- composed the class song for his high school graduation, he went on to Harvard and majored in music.

Leonard Bernstein got his big break when he was the 25-year-old assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. At the last minute, he stepped in to conduct a concert in Carnegie Hall that was broadcast live over the radio all across America. The audience loved him, and the event made front page headlines in the newspaper.

When Bernstein was eventually named music director of the New York Philharmonic, he was the first American to become permanent conductor of a major American orchestra. Leonard Bernstein used television, which was brand new at the time, to bring classical music to a very wide audience through his "Young People's Concerts."

Bernstein also loved to compose musical theater. His musicals include "On The Town," "Wonderful Town," and "West Side Story."

See other composers born in America


This Week's Quiz:

1. William Billings wrote music during what war?

Civil War

War of 1812

World War I

Revolutionary War

World War II

2.What is Americas oldest independent music school?

Manhattan School of Music

The Juilliard School

New England Conservatory of Music

Eastman School of Music

The Curtis Institute of Music

3. Who was the first American music professor?

John Knowles Paine

Edward Macdowell

Amy Beach

Arthur Foote

Walter Piston


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