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Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein Photo © Susech Batah, Berlin (DG)
1918 - 1990


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Leonard Bernstein is one of the most widely performed composers of the 20th-century * Works successfully bridge divide between classical and popular idioms * Music combines jazz-inspired energy, theatrical panache and active stylistic eclecticism * Acclaimed stage works include West Side Story, On the Town and Candide * Dance collaborations with Jerome Robbins including Fancy Free, Facsimile and The Dybbuk * One of the most admired conductors of the post-war era, particularly associated with the New York, Israel and Vienna Philharmonics, Boston and London Symphony Orchestras and Tanglewood Festival * Important role as an educator, including pioneering work on television * Output recorded extensively on Sony and Deutsche Grammophon

Works by Leonard Bernstein include:
Symphony No.2 'The Age of Anxiety' (1949) for piano and orchestra
Candide (1956/88) Comic operetta in two acts
Symphonic Dances from 'West Side Story' (1960) for orchestra
Mass (1971) A theatre piece for singers, players and dancers
Looking Ahead: The Leonard Bernstein Centennial is celebrated this summer and throughout the 2018-2019 season, with series and special programming being planned by artists and presenters all over the world.

American events this summer are led by the Tanglewood Festival, which had such a close relationship with the composer and conductor across half a century. The birthday celebration sees a host of conducting talent sharing the Tanglewood podium including Andris Nelsons, Christoph Eschenbach, Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas and John Williams, with performers including Audra McDonald, Midori, Yo-Yo Ma, Susan Graham and Thomas Hampson.

In Europe, Bernstein is the most performed composer at the BBC Proms with eight major works including On the Town with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Wilson on the birthday itself.

August 25 is also a celebration day at the Grafenegg Festival in Austria, with a Bernstein Hommage concert featuring the Tonkünstler Orchestra conducted by Yutaka Sado providing a survey of the composer’s oeuvre.

For full details of centennial events visit
"Bernstein's music is cross-over without compromise, a corpus of work that simply had to be." — Independent

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Featured Composer

Leonard Bernstein

American composer who combined classical and jazz in works like West Side Story and On the Town