Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein was born in Earth Horse - Mou Wu Year of the 60-year Cycle of the Chinese Zodiac

Born on August 25, 1918 Leonard Bernstein was a well-known composer, author, music teacher, conductor and pianist. He was one of the first American conductors to receive worldwide recognition. He was director of the New York Philharmonic for many years, conducted concerts with most of the world?€™s great orchestras, and his music for West Side Story is unsurpassed. He also wrote the music for Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town and Mass. Bernstein gave television seminars on classical music beginning in 1954 and continuing until his death. He conducted piano concertos from the piano keyboard. He wrote ballet, film and theater music. His choral works are awesome and he also wrote opera and chamber music for the piano. Bernstein?€™s early career included jobs as a music publisher, transcriber and arranger. He was known as a partier and included relationships with men and women. His career started at the Boston Symphony Orchestra?€™s summer institute. Bernstein learned conducting under Serge Koussevitzky. His breakout assignment was as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. His debut in conducting was spur-of-the moment when the original conductor became ill. Critical acclaim from this performance made Bernstein a household name. Bernstein married Felicia Cohn Montealegre in September of 1951. They had three children and Bernstein continued to enjoy relationships with men. His wife seemed to be open to his lifestyle. Bernstein received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1980 and he continued to teach, compose and produce television documentaries and work with the New York Philharmonic. He wrote a concert A Quiet Place which premiered in Houston in 1983. In 1989 Bernstein conducted the live performance of his operetta Candide with the London Symphony Orchestra. Bernstein conducted Beethoven?€™s Symphony No. 9 in 1989 as a tribute to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. In 1990 Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas founded the Pacific Music Festival in Japan and this summer training school is still in existence. Bernstein?€™s final performance was conducting Beethoven?€™s Seventh Symphony and Four Sea Interludes with the Boston Symphony. Halfway through the concert Bernstein endured a fit of coughing. As a result of his declining health, Bernstein retired on October 9, 1990. He died of a heart attack on October 14, 1990. He was 72 years old.
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