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Bernstein, Leonard
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Bernstein, Leonard

(Born; Lawrence, MA, 25 Aug 1918; Died;New York, 14 Oct 1990 ). American conductor, composer and pianist. He studied at Harvard and the Curtis Institute and was a protégé of Koussevitzky. In 1944 he made his reputation as a conductor when he stepped in when Bruno Walter was ill; thereafter he was associated particularly with the Israel PO(from 1947), the Boston SO and the New York PO (musical director, 1958-69), soon achieving an international reputation, conducting in Vienna and at La Scala. During his tenure the New York PO flourished as never before. A gifted pianist, he often performed simultaneously as soloist and conductor. At the same time, he pursued a career as a composer, cutting across the boundaries between high and popular culture in his mixing of Mahler and Broadway, Copland and Bach. His theatre works are mostly in the Broadway manner: they include the ballet Fancy Free (1944) and the musicals Candide (1956) and West Side Story (1957). His more ambitious works, many of them couched in a richly chromatic, intense post-Mahlerian idiom, often have a religious inspiration, for example the 'Jeremiah' Symphony with mezzo (1942), 'Kaddish', with soloists and choirs (1963) and the theatre piece Mass (1971).

Operas Trouble in Tahiti (1952), rev. as A Quiet Place (1983)Musicals On the Town (1944); Wonderful Town (1953); Candide (1956); West Side Story (1957)

Other dramatic musicFancy Free, ballet (1944); Facsimile, ballet (1946); On the Waterfront, film score (1954); Mass, theatre piece (1971); Dybbuk, ballet (1974)

Orchestral and choral musicSym. no.1, 'Jeremiah' (1942); Sym. no.2, 'The Age of Anxiety' (1949); Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, cl, jazz ens (1949); Serenade, vn, str, harp, perc (1954); Sym. no.3, 'Kaddish' (1963); Chichester Psalms (1965); Slava!, ov. (1977); Songfest (1977); Divertimento (1980); Halil (1981)

Chamber and instrumental music Cl Sonata (1942); Seven Anniversaries, pf (1943); Four Anniversaries, pf (1948); Brass Music (1948); Five Anniversaries, pf (1954); Touches, pf (1981)

Solo vocal music I Hate Music (1943); La bonne cuisine (1947); Two Love Songs (1949); Piccola serenata (1979)

(c)Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK

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