Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein

72 (passed away Oct. 14th, 1990)
Aug. 25th, 1918
Born in
Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA

Leonard Bernstein's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Omnibus TV Show

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Renowned composer ("West Side Story", "Candide", "On The Town"), conductor, arranger, pianist, educator, author, TV/radio host, educated at the Boston Latin School and Harvard University (BA) with Walter Piston. Edward Burlingame Hill and A. Tillman Merritt. He studied piano with Helen Coates, Heinrich Gebhard and Isabelle Vengerova, at the Curtis Institute with Fritz Reiner, and at the Berkshire Music Center with Serge Koussevitzky (and became an assistant to Koussevitzky). He was assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic in 1943-1944, and conductor of the New York Symphony, 1945-1948.

He was music advisor to the Israel Philharmonic from 1948-1949, and a member of the faculty at the Berkshire Music Center from 1948 (though he did take leaves of absence), and head of the conducting department there in 1951. He was Professor of Music at Brandeis University, 1951-1956; and co-conductor of the New York Philharmonic, 1957-1958, and music director there after 1958. He won an Emmy award for his televised Young People's Concerts. He was guest conductor of symphony orchestras in the USA and Europe, and conducted the Israel Philharmonic seven times between 1947 and 1957. He toured the US with Koussevitzky in 1951, and was the first American to conduct at the La Scala Opera House in Milan, in 1953. He was awarded the Sonning Prize in Denmark, and was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

He joined ASCAP in 1944, and his chief musical collaborators included Betty Comden, Adolph Green, John Latouche, and Stephen Sondheim. His song compositions include "New York, New York", "Lonely Town", "Some Other Time", "I Can Cook, Too", "I Get Carried Away", "Lucky to Be Me", "Ohio", "A Quiet Girl", "It's Love", "A Little Bit in Love", "Wrong Note Rag", "Glitter and Be Gay", "El Dorado", "The Best of All Possible Worlds", "Maria", "Tonight", "Something's Coming", "I Feel Pretty", "Cool", "America", and "Gee, Officer Krupke".

  • Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972.
  • The production of Candide was awarded a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2000 (1999 season) for Outstanding Musical Production.
  • Graduated from Harvard.
  • As a sickly infant, he sometimes turned blue from asthma. He became a prodigious pianist, conductor, composer, and lecturer, although he suffered from asthma throughout his life. Audiences often heard him wheezing above the orchestra.
  • He made his professional conducting debut on November 14, 1943 without even rehearsing the orchestra because there had not been enough time. He created a sensation partly because one of the pieces he conducted was Richard Strauss's enormously complicated symphonic poem "Don Quixote".
  • Because of his many appearances on television, Bernstein became the most popular and famous conductor in the United States, and one of the most famous in the world, seen and loved by millions of families who tuned in to his pioneering "Young People's Concerts". Through these concerts, children all over the world were introduced to classical music.
  • Such world-famous musicians as pianist Andre Watts and conductor Seiji Ozawa were first introduced to the general public on his "Young People's Concerts".
  • It has been mistakenly assumed by some that all of Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts have been issued on VHS and DVD. They have not. There were more than fifty Young People's Concerts broadcast on CBS-TV between 1958 and 1973. Only the 25 concerts that the Bernstein family deemed the best were issued. The rest, as of 2004, have yet to be issued or even re-broadcast on television.

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