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
January 18
Did You Guess?
Leonard Bernstein was born "Louis," but was called "Leonard" even while he was young. He legally changed his name to Leonard at age 16.
Can You Guess?
"Leonard" Bernstein is not found on his birth certificate.  He changed his first name to Leonard.  Can You Guess what Bernstein was actually named by his parents?

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
What Else
1729 - Handel and John James Heidegger were allowed to produce operas at the King's Theater by London's Royal Academy.

1765 - Mozart dedicated his 6 sonatas for violin and harpsichord, op. 3, to Queen Charlotte.

1835 - Cesar Cui Russian composer, was born.

1861 - Raymond Huntington Woodman, US composer, was born.

1893 - John Laurence Seymour, US composer was born.

1903 - Berthold Goldschmidt, English composer and conductor, was born.

1904 - Anthony Galla-Rini, US composer, was born.

1911 - Gábor Darvas, Hungarian composer, was born.

1930 - Premiere of D. Shostakovich's opera The Nose from Nikolai Gogo's work, at the Maliiy.

1942 - Premiere of Jacque Ibert's Ouverture de fête in Paris.

1947 - Premiere of Elie Siegmeister's Prairie Legend. New York Philharmonic, Leopold Stokowski conducting.

1960 - Alla Penkina, Russian composer, was born.

1963 - Premiere of Roy Harris' Symphony No. 9. Philadelphia Orchestra, Ormandy conducted. 

1968 - Premiere of Richard Rodney Bennett's Symphony No. 2 in NYC.

1996 - Adriana Le Haule, pianist and recorder player, was born.  Happy birthday, Big A!

2003 - Premiere of Robert Kapilow's This New, Immense, Unbounded World. Louisiana Philharmonic, conducted by Kapilow.
Young People's Concerts were already a tradition with the New York Philharmonic. The first was played March 27, 1924, and was conducted by Ernest Schelling.  Schelling had good reason to want to teach young people.  He was a child prodigy.  He entered the Academy of Music in Philadelphia at age 4, and at age 7 was already studying in Europe.  The concerts were designed to encourage the love of music in children.  They combined the orchestra's performance with a lecture about some aspect of the orchestra or the music itself with a picture or demonstration, so that children were exposed to a variety of stimuli.  The children, and their parents, loved them.  Schelling held these concerts in New York and took them on the road.  Such cities as Philadelphia, London, Rotterdam and Los Angeles hosted them. 
Leonard Bernstein directed the first of his famous Young People's Concerts on January 18, 1958. The televised concerts were produced regularly until 1972.

Bernstein was born in 1918. He studied music at Harvard under Edward Burlingame Hill and Walter Piston, then continued his studies at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.
During the summers of 1940 and 1941, Bernstein worked at Tanglewood with Serge Koussevitzky, who became his mentor. In 1943, he became assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. On November 14, 1943, Bernstein's big break occurred.  Bruno Walter, the Philharmonic's conductor, was scheduled to conduct a nationally broadcast program.  He was too ill to conduct, and the task fell to Bernstein, his assistant conductor.  The program was an astounding success, and Bernstein bacame internationally famous almost overnight.

In November, 1957, Bernstein was named Music Director of the Philharmonic.  He was the first American-born and trained conductor to hold the post.  Bernstein took the baton for his first concert as co-conductor on January 2, 1958.
Leonard Bernstein
New York Philharmonic
Young People's Concerts
These concerts are excellent introductions to music for kids.  I watched them when I was young, and I still think they are fabulous!  The fact that they have stayed in production for all these years should let you know their quality!
The music of Shostakovich, Hindemith, Holst and Copland were explored.  Music theory was discussed.  Bernstein even used the concerts to introduce young musicians to the world, as with pianist André Watts

Bernstein planned the programs for the Young People's Concerts based on repertory from the New York Philharmonic's regular concert season. He wrote the scripts himself, then worked with the program's production staff to make any needed cuts, to clarify or simplify wording and analogies.

The actual production schedule was intense.  Technical rehearsals began as early as 6 a.m. the day of the concert.  Bernstein rehearsed with the orchestra at 8 a.m.  There was a short break, and dress rehearsal began at 10.  The actual concert began at noon, and was always sold out.  The concerts proved so popular that in later years the dress rehearsals were also performed before an audience.  Unlike today's television, Bernstein and the Philharmonic performed live.  Mistakes and all were broadcast to the entire nation.

The programs were considered so important that for three seasons CBS presented them at 7:30 p.m. (prime time for television viewing). Eventually the programs were moved to Sunday afternoons. The concerts were translated into other languages and syndicated to forty countries.

Bernstein conducted a total of 53 of these programs, continuing to conduct them for three years after he left the Philharmonic.

The New York Philharmonic has a WONDERFUL kids' site!  (I like the Minuet Mixer) 
Click Here to Visit
Leonard Bernstein felt he had an "educational mission," and he too made the concerts a centerpiece of his work. 

Bernstein's first program was, What Does Music Mean? The concerts' topics ranged far and wide.
Bernstein Young People's Concerts
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