Site powered by Weebly. Managed by iPage
As mentioned Leonard Bernstein(1918-1990) along with Herbert Von Karajan (1908-1989) were among the most famous conductors of the late 20th century. Herbert Von Karajan conducted the Berlin and Vienna orchestras. Bernstein was mainly associated with the New York Philharmonic. I remember his young peoples concerts as a child. He was the first conductor to give a lecture series on classical music beginning in 1954. He as also a great composer in his own right. West Side Story is one of his most famous works. although he was Jewish, he wrote a version of the Mass. Isaac Stern, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand have all played music associated with Christianity including Christmas songs. Barbra Streisand also sang a good rendition of The Lord's Prayer.
Bernstein was born in Lawrence Massachusetts to Jewish parents. he went to Harvard and studied with Walter Piston and Edward Burlingame Hill who were American Composers.
On Christmas 1989 he conducted Beethoven's 9th in Berlin as parte of the celebrations of the Berlin Wall coming down. he also conducted several other famous orchestras including the Dutch Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Bernstein was a proponent of the music of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) and helped to popularize it. I am not a fan of Mahler's music. He wrote 9 symphonies plus an incomplete 10th. He wrote several song cycles and a Piano Quintet. Much of his music is too depressing to me. Bernstein made several famed recordings of Mahler's symphonies. In 1980 he had protested against nuclear weapons.
he was also a political activist He conducted the Second Symphony of Mahler "Resurrection" in 1984 sponsored by a group called Musicians against Nuclear Arms. he supported liberal causes. He was friends with President John Kennedy, Who today might be labeled conservative.
In 1970, he and his wife held a party for Black Panther leaders. Bernstein did not endorse them. he claimed it was a fundraiser for their legal defense in the light of harassment by the FBI. In 1965 he performed alongside Sammy Davis Jr, Harry Belafonte etc. at the Civil rights march in Selma Alabama. Belafonte is known to be left leaning and has supported liberal causes. In 1962 he hired Violinist Stanford Allen as the first African American in the New York Philharmonic Fifteen years earlier in 1947 he called for affirmative action in American orchestras.
Bernstein was a supporter of Amnesty International. Especially after Chile became a dictatorship. His wife Felicia Montealegre was from Chile. She died in 1978 before Chile became free. H named a fund for Amnesty International in her honor.