Leonard Bernstein

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.

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.

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.

HarperCollins Publishers

Leonard Bernstein and his wife, Chilean-born actress Felicia Montealegre, had three children: Jamie, Alexander and Nina. Montealegre died in 1978. Bernstein died in 1990, at the age of 72. 

amazon.com / Oxford University Press

If you go through life with a name like John Latouche, you'd better be talented.

Luckily, John Treville Latouche (1914-1956) was immensely talented. He made his name as the go-to guy for witty, biting lyrics, inspiring Duke Ellington, Jerome Moross, Vernon Duke and Leonard Bernstein.

Opera & Lyric Theatre / Ohio State University

Candide — a show with music by Leonard Bernstein, book by Lillian Hellman, lyrics by Richard Wilbur with help from John Latouche and Dorothy Parker, and based on Voltaire no less — opened on Broadway the night of Dec. 1, 1956.

Paul Sherwood / Wikimedia Commons

Here's a doozy: Bill Murray is going classical.

The actor and comedian who never ceases to surprise has, according to the New York Times, teamed up with cellist  Jan Vogler, who has performed as a guest artist with the New York Philharmonic, and a group of chamber musicians for a projected album and touring show. Murray will sing Gershwin and Bernstein and recite Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and Ernest Hemingway.

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