|Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
|Can You Guess? Bernstein's Chichester Psalms contains lyrics from Psalms 2, 23 and 100. Can You Guess in what language they are sung?
Go to the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
|1835 - William Fischer, American hymn composer was born.
1843 - Premiere of Mendelssohn's music for A Midsummer Night's Dream.
1856 - Death of Czech composer Johann Kaspar Mertz .
1883 - Premiere of Antonin Dvorák's Violin Concerto, Op. 53, in Prague.
1891 - Joseph E. Maddy, American music educator and conductor and cofounder of the National Music Camp at Interlochen was born.
1898 - Igor Stravinsky, 16, finishes his first composition a Tarantella for piano.
1904 - Debut in Berlin of 14 year old violinist Mischa Elman.
1924 - Premiere of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No.10. Vienna Philharmonic.
1924 - Premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's opera Die Glückliche Hand ('The Fateful Hand') at the Volksoper in Vienna.
1930 - Premiere of George Gershwin's musical Girl Crazy with songs Embraceable You and I Got Rhythm.
1943 - Anthony Iannacone, American composer, was born.
1957 - The Everly Brothers had their first No.1 on the US singles chart with Wake Up Little Susie.
1960 - Premiere of Walter Piston's Violin Concerto No. 2. Joseph Fuchs with Pittsburgh Symphony.
1970 - Premiere of Witold Lutoslawski's Cello Concerto. Mstislav Rostropovich with Bournemouth Symphony.
1995 - Premiere of George Tsontakis' The Dove Descending No. 3 of Four Symphonic Quartets based on poems of T.S. Eliot. Pasadena Symphony.
|"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable."
|Louis Bernstein was born in Lawrence, MA, August 25, 1918. The son of imigrants, he began piano lessons at age 10. From the time he was young he was called Leonard, his friends called him Lenny, and he formally changed his name to Leonard when he was 16. He grew up in Boston, attended the Boston Latin School, and attended Harvard University, graduating in 1939.|
|Upon graduation from Harvard, Bernstein had several paths open, but after consulting with Dimitri Mitropoulos and Aaron Copland, he chose studies at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia including conducting with Fritz Reiner.
Bernstein spent summers as the assistant of Serge Koussevitsky at Tanglewood before being hired by Artur Rodzinksi to his first permanent conducting post, Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic. November 19, 1943, Bernstein was called to the sick bed of conductor Bruno Walter. He was informed that he would conduct that afternoon's nationally broadcast concert. Receiving critical acclaim for the performance, he was soon sought as a guest conductor by orchestras worldwide.
In the years following, Bernstein served as Music Director of the New York City Symphony, was head of the conducting faculty at the Berkshire Music Center (Tanglewood) and professor of Music at Brandeis University. He conducted many of the world's major orchestras and was the first American to conduct at the Teatro Alla Scala (La Scala) in Milan during the regular season.
Bernstein became the New York Philharmonic's music director in 1958. From then until 1969 he led more concerts with the orchestra than any previous conductor. He was later given the lifetime title of laureate conductor, and appeared with the orchestra frequently. Bernstein made more than 400 recordings in his life, more than half with the New York Philharmonic.
As a composer, Bernstein created 3 symphonies (Jeremiah, Age of Anxiety and Kaddish), the Serenade for Violin and Orchestra, Chichester Psalms for Orchestra and Chorus, 3 ballets (Fancy Free, Facsimile and Dybbuk), and the operas Trouble in Tahiti and A Quiet Place. For the Theatre he wrote On the Town, Wonderful Town, Candide, West Side Story and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He also wrote Mass, a theatre piece for singers, players and dancers, that opened the Kennedy Center is Washington D.C. in 1971.
Bernstein was an unequaled musical educator. His televised concert and lecture series started with the Omnibus program in 1954. In 1958 Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic premiered Young People's Concerts, which endured for 14 seasons. Among his many appearances on the PBS series Great Performances was the 11-part acclaimed Bernstein's Beethoven. He began the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute in 1982 and helped create a world-class training orchestra at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.
Bernstein's writings were published in The Joy of Music (1959), Leonard Berstein's Young People's Concerts (1961), The Infinite Variety of Music (1966), and Findings (1982).
Bernstein received many honors. the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1981) the National Fellowship Award (1985) the MacDowell Colony's gold medal; medals from the Beethoven Society and the Mahler Gesellschaft; the Handel Medallion, New York City's highest honor for the arts. He received Kennedy Center honors in 1980.
In 1980 Bernstein was given the opportunity to speak about world peace at Johns Hopkins University and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York in 1983.
In 1978 the Israel Philharmonic sponsored a festival commemorating his years of dedication to Israel. The Israel Philharmonic also bestowed on him the lifetime title of laureate conductor in 1988.
In December 1989 Bernstein conducted the historic "Berlin Celebration Concerts" on both sides of the Berlin Wall, as it was being dismantled.
Leonard Bernstein may have been the most influential figure in classical music during the last half of the 20th Century. Composer, conductor, author, lecturer and controversial media personality, Bernstein had a dramatic impact on the popular audience's acceptance and appreciation of classical music and helped forge a new relationship between classical and popular music.
In 1990 Bernstein was ordered to retire from conducting by his physicians, He passed away October 14, 1990.
|Did You Guess? Honoring his Jewish heritage, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms is sung in the language in which the Psalms were written, Hebrew.|