The Musical Life of Leonard Bernstein

The world knows the American Leonard Bernstein for his numeroustalents and position such as a skilled pianist, music lecturer,composer and music conductor. Bernstein was amongst the first U.Sconductors to receive international acclaims for exemplary works(Lehrman and Peyser 205). According toMuch, Bernstein was the most successful musicians to have a record ofthe American History (9). The New York Philharmonic derives most ofhis fame and attributes as the composer of music life. Bernsteinspent most of his life composing, conduction and directing musicconcerts and orchestras in The New York Philharmonic. This piece ofwriting discusses his musical part of life from early times to deathwith bits of the normal life that he lived.

According to Much, Bernstein developed music interest at a tenderage. One day after listening to the piano, he immediately becamecaptivated by it (10). The captivation led to his more liking andlearning especially when the family had acquired an unwanted pianofor his cousin. As a child who was close to her sister, Bernsteinwould often play the entire Beethoven symphonies and operas with thepiano. Growing up, he had a variety of piano tutors whom one wouldeventually become his secretary (Seldes 51).

Bernstein`s life as music composer officially began in New York afterleaving the Curtis Institute of Music. In 1940, he first took a musictranscribing, producing and publishing job under the alias LennyAmber (Much 12). Later during the same period, he enrolled at BostonSymphony Orchestra summer school with Serge Koussevitzky as theconductor. Later, Bernstein became the conductor`s assistant with thededication of &quotThe Age of Anxiety, Symphony 2&quot until 1943(Rorem 17). During the late year, he served as assistant conductorfor the Philharmonic Orchestra’s Artur Rodzinski in New York. Itwas during this time when Bernstein made his first major entrancewith a massive attention after representing Bruno Walter who hadtaken ill with the flu. His performance drew attention across allmedia outlets.

In 1944, Bernstein conducted the first opening of the JeremiahSymphony and scored the Fancy-Free ballet they later developedthe On the Town musical that made an appearance on theBroadway (Seldes 51). Bernstein enjoyed the music directors` positionat the Symphony Orchestra, New York City in the years 1945 to 1947.The Year 1946 was a flourishing one to Bernstein as he made overseasfirst appearances with Czech Philharmonic, Piano Concerto andPhilharmonic Orchestra (Lehrman and Peyser206). He then conducted the Fancy-Free in London atthe Royal Opera House and an opera for the foremost time inTanglewood. His dedication to music and performance continuedthroughout 1949 where he premiered the Olivier Messiaen`s TurangalilaSymphonies with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Two years passedon to follow the death of Koussevitzky, which prompted Bernstein`sposition as the head of Orchestral and Conducting Departments ofTanglewood where he stayed for many years (Rorem 19).

The world remembers Bernstein for conducting the premiere of CharlesIves, Symphony 2 in 1951 that had been written without beingperformed for almost a century (Lehrman and Peyser206). Bernstein extended his music talent to serve as a visitingmusic professor at the Brandeis University during the years 1951 to1956 where he then established the Creative Arts Festival. Hecontinued conduction more variety of productions even during thefirst festival of Three Penny Opera, which granted him thehonour of naming this festival after him in 2005 (Seldes 52). He madethe first television lecture in 1954 at the Omnibus CBS arts program.At this session, he explained a lot about musicians, symphonies andrecorded a Serenade for violin along with Isaac Stern. These lecturesfollowed to the year 1958 covering American musical comedy, grandopera, jazz and modern music among others. During the same year, hebecame the music director of New York Philharmonic and began bytaking it a tour of South America. He returned in 1959 and recordedsymphony for Columbia (Rorem 19).

In the years that followed 1960 to his death, Bernstein continuedteaching, composing, producing and conducting music. He won theKennedy Centre Honours in 1980 (Seldes 52). A Quiet Place isthe most significant compositions he created with Stephen Wadsworthand made a debut in 1983. The magnitude of his talent employed him toserve as an artistic director in the then newly found Los AngelesPhilharmonic Institute in 1984. He took the European Community YouthOrchestras for a peace tour around Japan and Europe in 1985. In thesame year, he conducted the famous recording of the West Side Story(Lehrman and Peyser 207). The Queen onattended the London Symphony Orchestra dubbed the Bernstein Festivalin 1986 and celebrated his seventieth birthday in style with atelevised gala at Tanglewood in 1988. In 1989, he conducted liveperformances together with the Beethoven Symphony 9 during thehistorical celebration of the Berlin Wall (Rorem 22). Michael in 1990Tilson and Bernstein found the Pacific Music Festival and after thatfocused on music education because he was already suffering from alung disease which eventually took him in October same year.

The United States knew him through the Young People`s Concert at CBs,a series that ran for fifty-three episodes. Bernstein grew famous forcreating shows, conducting concerts and influenced music appreciationbeyond critics. Bernstein has been a large influence to the musicalfraternity (Seldes 53). For instance, Bernstein`s life a musiccomposer involved writing in various styles that included orchestralmusic, film, ballet, symphonic music, chamber music, choral works,opera as well as the theatre music. These styles form part of hisabsolute liking and influences for music. His musical life alsoinvolved conducting many television lectures about classical music atthe beginning of 1954 all way through his demise (Much 15-20). Unlikeother past musicians, Bernstein spent his life exploring music to thefullest and in every accessible aspect. Going over the written andpast compositions were not his tasks because he found that to beboring to death (Lehrman and Peyser 206). He enjoyed teaching music, playing the piano, writing for Hollywood.A majority of his activities revolved around trying to maintain everysense of a musician including writing poetry and books.

Apart from the many musical words associating with Bernstein,adventurous spirit, entertainer, humanitarian and thinker also fithim. He manipulated his multiple talents with his enticingpersonality to transform the people`s perspectives of music andeventually to make them learn and appreciate it. His influence on themusic life shall be unforgettable for the rules he broke, theprecedents he shuttered and the openings that insisted and focused onthe artistic part of music. He has been a total embrace of themusical life. Many will remain knowing him in history as the mostinfluential music teacher. In all ways, Leonard Bernstein lives inmany people`s various musical aspects.

Works Cited

Lehrman, Leonard J., and Joan Peyser. &quotBernstein:A Biography.&quot American Music(2012): 207. Print.

Much, Charles. TheContributions of Leonard Bernstein and Frederick Fennell to the World

Of Music[email protected], 2014. Print.

Rorem, Ned. OtherEntertainment Collected Pieces. NewYork: Open Road, 2013. Print.

Seldes, Barry. LeonardBernstein: The Political Life of an American Musician.Berkeley: U

Of California, 2012. Print.