The MacDowell Colony 

The Composers

Leonard Bernstein


Leonard Bernstein

Additional Links:

Official Leonard Bernstein Site

  Leonard Bernstein Collection

Leonard Bernstein Biography

Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Bernstein was educated at Harvard University and at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia. He studied composition under Walter Piston and conducting under Fritz Reiner and Serge Koussevitzky. In 1943 Bernstein made his conducting debut, leading the New York Philharmonic Society Orchestra. Bernstein was music director of the New York City Symphony (1945-1948), taught at the Berkshire Music Center (1948- 1955) and at Brandeis University (1951-1956), and directed the New York Philharmonic (1958- 1969). On his retirement in 1969 he was made laureate conductor for life. For two generations he made Tanglewood his second home, teaching classes in conducting and music appreciation. He was conducting and creating music until his death in 1990. 

Bernstein's works include, On the Town (1944), Wonderful Town (1953), and West Side Story (1957). He also composed the operetta Candide (1956); the opera Trouble in Tahiti (1952), Chichester Psalms (1965); the ballets Fancy Free (1944) and The Dybbuk Variations (1974); Mass (1971). In 1985 he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. 

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