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Leonard Bernstein:
About Leonard Bernstein

American-born Leonard Bernstein became famous all over the world as a composer, a conductor, and a pianist. In addition to writing classical music, composed classic Broadway musicals, including West Side Story.

Music heard in this episode:
Bernstein: Dances from West Side Story
Bernstein: For Elizabeth B. Ehrman
Bernstein: Chichester Pslams
Bernstein: Fancy Free
Bernstein: On the Town
Bernstein: Candide: Overture

Other shows about Leonard Bernstein:
Bernstein and Musical Theater
Operettas in English
American Composers with a Boston Connection

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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. 1.What name is on Leonard Bernsteinís birth certificate?






2.What musical ability didnít Bernstein possess?

Playing Piano


Composing Music

Conducting an Orchestra

3. How did Bernstein bring classical music to a much wider audience?







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