100 Years of Bernstein
Celebrating the centennial of conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein's birth. Bernstein's close relationship with the BSO spanned a half-century, from the time he became a protégé of legendary BSO conductor Serge Koussevitzky until the final concerts he conducted with the BSO in 1990.
Bernstein attends the Tanglewood Music Center (then called the Berkshire Music Center) during its inaugural year and studies conducting with BSO Music Director Serge Koussevitzky.Read more
July 26, 1940
Bernstein conducts the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in a performance of the second and fourth movements of Rimsky-Korsakoff’s Scheherazade. This is the first concert he conducted as a TMC student for which there is a sound recording.
Leonard Bernstein conducts members of the TMC in a surprise performance of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat, complete with words made up by Bernstein for the occasion, at Seranak during a tea given by Serge and Natalie Koussevitzky for the students at Seranak, their summer home near Tanglewood.
August 16, 1940
Bernstein conducts several works with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as a TMC Fellow including William Schuman’s American Festival Overture, Constant Lambert’s The Rio Grande, Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, and Gardner Read’s Prelude and Toccata. Click ‘Read more’ to view the programs.Read more
Bernstein returns to Tanglewood and is appointed Koussevitzky’s conducting assistant.Read more
August 14, 1942
The Tanglewood Festival and Tanglewood Music Center are suspended from 1943 to 1945 due to the war.
The Koussevitzky Music Foundation puts on concerts in the Lenox area, including a series of concerts at Sedgewick Hall in the Lenox Library.Read more
August 24, 1943
Bernstein performs the premiere of his work I Hate Music with Jennie Tourel as vocal soloist at Sedgewick Hall in the Lenox Library.
Bernstein returns to Tanglewood in 1946 to serve as Koussevitzky’s assistant at the Tanglewood Music Center following the center’s closure from 1943 to 1945 due to the war. Bernstein served as his assistant in 1942, and continued in this position from 1946 to 1950.
View Bernstein photos, 1946-1950
August 6, 1946
Bernstein conducts the American premiere of Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes in the Theatre-Concert Hall in a production featuring the TMC Opera Department and the TMC Opera orchestra. This was his first time conducting the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as a TMC faculty member.
Click ‘Read More’ to view program, photo, and review.Read more
July 6, 1947
Bernstein performs music from his ballet, Facsimile, on piano as part of a Composers’ Forum at Tanglewood.
July 27, 1947
Bernstein conducts the BSO at Tanglewood for the first time, performing Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9.
Click ‘Read More’ to view the program and the concert program bio for Bernstein.Read more
Bernstein arrives at Tanglewood for a Sunday afternoon concert. This home movie was made by Lenny’s younger brother, Burton Bernstein, circa 1948.Read more
August 12, 1949
Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, ‘Age of Anxiety’ is repeated at Tanglewood with Bernstein as piano soloist and Serge Koussevitzky conducting the BSO. This is the first time Bernstein appeared with the BSO at Tanglewood as a piano soloist.
Click ‘Read More’ to see the full Tanglewood on Parade program.Read more
July 30, 1950
Bernstein conducts the BSO in a performance of Lukas Foss’ Song of Songs: Second Biblical Solo Cantata for soprano and orchestra in the Tanglewood Music Shed. Click ‘Read more’ to see the concert program.Read more
August 6, 1950
August 9, 1951
Click ‘Read More’ to view the program and a concert review.Read more
August 10, 1951
August 8, 1952
A revision of Bernstein’s opera Trouble in Tahiti is performed by the Tanglewood Music Center Opera Department.Read more
August 9, 1952
Bernstein conducts the BSO in the Koussevitzky Memorial concert at Tanglewood.Read more
August 5, 1955
Bernstein conducts the BSO in a performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at Tanglewood for the Koussevitzky Memorial Concert.
August 11, 1955
Bernstein conducts the world premiere of his Symphonic Suite from “On the Waterfront” with the BSO as part of Tanglewood on Parade. This is also the first time Bernstein performed as a pianist with the Boston Pops, performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.Read more
August 12, 1961
Bernstein conducts the Koussevitzky Memorial concert at Tanglewood. The program includes Harold Shapero’s Symphony for Classical Orchestra, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
August 16, 1964
Bernstein attends Seiji Ozawa’s conducting debut with the BSO at Tanglewood where Ozawa conducts Bizet’s Symphony in C, Hindemith’s ‘Mathis der Maler’ Symphony, and Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.
Click ‘Read More’ to view the program.Read more
April 10, 1970
Bernstein is named Artistic Advisor at Tanglewood along with Seiji Ozawa and Gunther Schuller. Starting in 1970, responsibilities for Tanglewood were divided between a newly formed “Troika”: Schuller was put in charge of all educational activities, Ozawa was in charge of the Festival programs, and Bernstein served as a general advisor.
July 5, 1970
Bernstein conducts the BSO in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, ‘Resurrection’ in the Koussevitzky Music Shed.
July 22, 1972
Bernstein conducts the BSO in a performance of Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in the Tanglewood Music Shed.Read more
July 24, 1976
Bernstein records Liszt’s Faust Symphony with the BSO at Symphony Hall. Audio and video recordings were made simultaneously, with audio released by Deutsche Grammophon and video released by Amberson Video, Inc.
Watch a second clip and see the concert program by clicking on the Read More button.Read more
July 29, 1979
Bernstein conducts the BSO in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 at Tanglewood, his only performance of this work with the BSO.Read more
August 11, 1987
Leonard Bernstein conducts the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in a performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in the Shed, August 11, 1987.Read more
August 15, 1987
Leonard Bernstein conducts the BSO in a performance of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 on August 15, 1987 in the Shed as part of the Tanglewood 50th anniversary.Read more
Marin Alsop studies conducting with Bernstein as a TMC Fellow (1988, 1989). Watch an interview where she discusses Bernstein’s impact on her conducting career with Dean Robert Blocker (Courtesy Yale School of Music, 2018). Click Read More to see photos of Alsop and Bernstein.Read more
August 14, 1990
Bernstein conducts the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra for the last time in a performance of Copland’s Symphony No. 3.
Listen below to an audio excerpt.