Leonard Bernstein was a towering figure of 20th century music and culture, known the world over as the composer of West Side Story , Candide , On the Town and other stage and orchestral works; as the celebrated conductor of the New York Philharmonic and other leading orchestras, with whom he created a trove of acclaimed recordings; as an educator whose televised Young People’s Concerts with the New York Phi lharmonic created more than one generation of music lovers; and as a lifelong humanitarian who spoke out whenever he witnessed injustice.
Bernstein was born into a Russian immigrant family in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on August 25, 1918. At age 10, Leonard approached the upright piano left at his house by an aunt. As Bernstein tells it, he touched the keys, and his life was transformed.
Bernstein attended the Boston Latin School and later graduated cum laude from Harvard College. After Harvard, Bernstein enrolled in the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied conducting with Fritz Reiner. In the summers, he attended the newly formed Tanglewood Music Festival, the...