The American Sound

Saturdays at 6 p.m. on Classical 101. Rebroadcast Tuesdays at 7pm on Classical 101.

The American Sound showcases a variety of the most beautiful, inspiring classical music with an American accent.

Each week we’ll explore masterworks by great American composers past and present like Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber, and contemporaries Eric Whitacre, Michael Daugherty and John Adams.

Plus, we’ll go back to our American roots with George Gershwin’s jazz-inspired music, performances by America’s bluegrass greats and more. Think Bernstein with the Boston Symphony or Bach on a banjo!

Ways to Connect

Alexander Kahle, RKO Radio / Wikimedia Commons

Like many people in the 1940s, Leonard Bernstein was a fan of actress Bette Davis. And, as Bernstein's conducting and composing careers skyrocketed, the feelings became mutual.

United Artists

Even if you’ve never seen the 1957 hit musical West Side Story, I'll bet you can hum the tune from "Tonight," "Maria," "America" or any number of the show's signature songs and dance pieces on command.

Columbia Pictures

Lawrence of Arabia is, hands down, one of the classics.

Odeon Films / Lionsgate

A violin with a past is fated to keep dooming the present.

The Mirisch Co. and Alpha Productions / United Artists Corp.

John Sturges' 1960 Western remake of Akira Kurosawa's classic film Seven Samurai features an intense musical score by one of the great composers of film music, Elmer Bernstein. 

Pxhere

Ah, the joys of summer — sunshine, long days, grilling on the patio — and movies.

b&w headshot of the young Leonard Bernstein
The Leonard Bernstein Office Inc. / leonardbernstein.com

Here’s the story of one of Leonard Bernstein’s college capers.

black-and-white photo of a young Leonard Bernstein at a piano, marking a score
Al Ravenna / Library of Congress

If all you know of Leonard Bernstein is the thrilling music from West Side Story, you’re in for an eye-opening summer.

Bernstein was a groundbreaking composer, conductor, mentor and educator. At a time when classical music was often spoken of in measured, reverent tones, Bernstein was passionate, outspoken and sometimes controversial.

color photo of Pluto
NASA / Wikimedia Commons

You could say that Pluto is the Rodney Dangerfield of planets.

b&w photo of the young Leonard Bernstein
The Leonard Bernstein Office Inc.

Leonard Bernstein was famous. Not just famous for a musician. Famous, period. As in household name, as in friends with movie stars, as in appearing frequently in sentences with the word "genius."

Bernstein the musician belonged to the world. But he was also a devoted family man.

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