Leonard Bernstein (composer, conductor and pianist)
August 25, 1918 - October 14, 1990
Leonard Bernstein conducting the LSO in his own Candide Overture, a performance filmed at the Barbican in London in December 1989, during the period he recorded the work for DG
A pupil of Fritz Reiner, Bernstein was music director of the New York Philharmonic (1958-69), and later forged close links with the Israel PO, VPO and LSO. He conducted for Maria Callas at La Scala and recorded extensively: first for CBS (now Sony Classical) and DG. Throughout his life he was active as a composer, writing many of his great musical theatre works during the 1950s, with West Side Story (1957) the best known. He was one of the first musicians to use the medium of television to evangelise about classical music, and his Young People's Concerts, which were filmed and broadcast by CBS, reached hundreds of thousands of people.
Bernstein: a tribute by Marin Alsop
'Leonard Bernstein’s contribution to music in the 20th century was immense, whether as composer, conductor, pianist or teacher, and it’s hard to think of another human so prodigiously talented. He threw himself into every piece as if his life depended on it, and never stopped searching and plumbing the depths of a work or a composer. Giving every human being equal access to great music is the conductor’s ultimate responsibility, and Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts infected me with the passion to become a conductor, while his mentorship at Tanglewood inspired, buoyed and helped me through many difficult times on my way. As a composer, he brought joy to audiences from Broadway to Carnegie Hall, with music infused by his huge generosity of spirit, and in Mass – for me, his masterpiece – the diversity and fundamental embrace that summarised his world view were crystallised into a single work. His genuine enthusiasm and obvious deep love for music made numerous converts, and he touched tens of thousands of lives.'
Bernstein - Interview (Gramophone, September 1970) by Alan Blyth
'The Bernstein Sessions' (Gramophone, November 2006) by Edward Greenfield