Classical 101

Classical 101 is Central Ohio’s source for 'round-the-clock classical music. Our hosts provide insight into classical music news from Columbus and around the world.

Find concert previews, book and record reviews, arts features, and archived audio and video of local and visiting musicians. Listen your way through our podcast archives of Opera Abbreviated and the Mozart Minute for a deeper dive into the music we play.

And check back frequently from June through August this year as we celebrate A Bernstein Summer. We're marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great composer, conductor and educator Leonard Bernstein with a series of local radio programs, podcasts, modules and blog posts.

When we launched Replay! — Classical 101's musical instrument drive — last summer, we were absolutely blown away by the community response.

Warner Classics

It wasn't as if Leonard Bernstein was looking for work.

By 1953, at the age of 35, Bernstein had already created two Broadway hits and had been on top of the conducting game since his last-minute debut with the New York Philharmonic (a broadcast, yet) 10 years earlier.

Pexels

Music for summer — you probably think of Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons, maybe George Frideric Handel's Water Music or Summer Night on the River by Frederick Delius. Estimable choices, all.

But there's a world of work by less-familiar composers who wrote amazingly evocative music that captures the lazy, languid days and nights of summer.

color photo of Leonard Bernstein conducting
New York Philharmonic / youtube.com/watch?v=fHPRWEpyxfM

The year is 1941. War is raging in Europe.

Here on the home front, Leonard Bernstein is 23 years old, a student at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music and a mentee of two legendary conductors — Fritz Reiner and Serge Koussevitzky.

leonard bernstein in royal blue shirt holding conducting wand
Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons

On Oct. 22, 1983, the Metropolitan Opera threw an all-day bash celebrating its 100th birthday.

Tracey Nolan / Wikimedia Commons

When I was young and obnoxious, I had very little use for any music that approached large commercial success.

Paul de Hueck / The Leonard Bernstein Office Inc.

Conducting is both art and science

black-and-white photo of Leonard Bernstein pointing with his foot to notes on an oversized score of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
CBS / alexanderstreet.com

For more than a decade, Leonard Bernstein brought young people to classical music through his televised Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic. But before that series, Bernstein was a fixture on the major network TV series Omnibus.

black-and-white photo of Leonard Bernstein standing in front of a blackboard with staff lines on it
leonardbernstein.com

There's Leonard Bernstein, the composer of all that splashy, jazzy music for West Side Story. There’s Leonard Bernstein, the showy — some might say flamboyant — conductor of the New York Philharmonic and other top-flight orchestras.

And then there’s Leonard Bernstein, the generous mentor of aspiring conductors who today occupy the prestigious podiums where Bernstein himself once stood.

The #MeToo movement has been a cultural reckoning across industries, from Hollywood to restaurants — but one of the oldest that's been affected is classical music. In March, James Levine, a longtime conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, was fired for allegations of sexual misconduct. And now, centuries-old works from Carmen to Don Giovanni are being challenged for misogynistic plots and themes.

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