Anyone who encountered Leonard Bernstein (1918–1990) never forgot the experience. Here was the great American maestro and composer of three symphonies, the Broadway tunesmith, the concert pianist and jazzy improviser, the teacher you wish you’d had in 7th grade, and the Jewish musician who wrote Mass for the Kennedy Center’s opening. He was the man who could do anything—and who was an enigma even to himself.
Popular Smithsonian music lecturer Saul Lilienstein, who studied conducting with Bernstein and frequently performed with him, explores the dimensions of his musical contributions. Savor the man’s charisma and learn about the complexities of his life in this engaging seminar highlighted with musical recordings and film clips. It’s the perfect prelude to the upcoming Maestro, a Bernstein biopic in which Bradley Cooper doubles as director and star.
10 a.m. Beginnings
Follow Bernstein’s early years and education, his spectacular rise to fame in his early 20s, and his start as a conductor. Recorded excerpts are featured from his New York Philharmonic debut, and film clips capture Bernstein on the podium, rehearsing, and conducting classical selections.
11:15 a.m. In the Concert Hall
Bernstein as a composer and conductor. His symphonic works, including the suite from On the Waterfront, Chichester Psalms, and Mass, are illustrated with film clips.
12:45 p.m. Break
1:15 p.m. On Broadway
Delve into music and film clips from Fancy Free, On the Town, Candide, and West Side Story and clips from A White House Cantata and the 1984 video Bernstein Conducts West Side Story.
3 p.m. A Personal View
Lilienstein shares his recollections, as well as clips of Bernstein lecturing on Beethoven, Brahms, and Mahler.