Celebrating
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.

Spring 1935

Graduates Boston Latin School. Composes class song, ‘All for One and One for All’.

 

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1939

First formal appearance as a conductor, leading his own incidental music to a student production of The Birds, at Sanders Theatre, Harvard University.

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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.

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February 18, 1944

Bernstein performs with the BSO in Symphony Hall for the first time, conducting his own Symphony No. 1, ‘Jeremiah’ and Aaron Copland’s El Salón México. This is the BSO’s first performance of one of Bernstein’s works.

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July 6, 1947


Bernstein performs music from his ballet, Facsimile, on piano as part of a Composers’ Forum at Tanglewood.

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April 8, 1949

World premiere of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, ‘Age of Anxiety’ at Symphony Hall conducted by Serge Koussevitzky with Bernstein as piano soloist.

Listen below to an excerpt from Movement 3 – The Seven Stages from the April 9th performance.


 
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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.

Click ‘Read More’ to see the full Tanglewood on Parade program.

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June 12, 1952

World premiere of Bernstein’s opera Trouble in Tahiti at Brandeis’ first Creative Arts Festival in Waltham, MA. Several BSO members participate in the Festival.

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August 8, 1952

A revision of Bernstein’s opera Trouble in Tahiti is performed by the Tanglewood Music Center Opera Department.

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September 12, 1954


World premiere of Bernstein’s Serenade at the Venice Festival. Bernstein conducts the Teatro La Fenice Orchestra with Isaac Stern as the violin soloist.

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April 15, 1955


Charles Munch conducts the BSO in the American premiere performance of Bernstein’s Serenade for solo violin, string orchestra, harp and percussion at Symphony Hall with Isaac Stern as the violin soloist.

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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.

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December 10, 1963

World premiere of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3, ‘Kaddish’ by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Tel Aviv, by permission of the BSO.

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January 31, 1964


Charles Munch conducts the BSO in the American premiere performance of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3, ‘Kaddish’ in Symphony Hall. The work was commissioned by the BSO and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in conjunction with the BSO’s 75th anniversary. Listen below to an excerpt from the February 1st performance.

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June 8, 1964

Bernstein shares conducting duties with Arthur Fiedler at Harvard Night at the Pops in conjunction with the 25th Harvard Reunion of Bernstein’s Class of 1939. Listen below to Bernstein addressing the audience:

Click ‘Read More’ to hear Bernstein conducting Rossini’s Overture to the Barber of Seville.

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September 25, 1980

Seiji Ozawa conducts the BSO in the world premiere performance of Bernstein’s Divertimento for Orchestra in Symphony Hall. The work was commissioned by the BSO for its 100th anniversary. Bernstein conducts a repeat performance at Tanglewood on July 4, 1981.

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July 4, 1981

Bernstein conducts the BSO at Tanglewood in the American premiere of his work Ḥalil with Doriot Anthony Dwyer as flute soloist. The concert also includes a performance of Bernstein’s Divertimento for Orchestra.

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June 1985


John Williams and the Boston Pops record works by Leonard Bernstein for a recording released in 1986 on the Philips label titled Bernstein by Boston.

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August 25, 1988

Tanglewood Gala Concert for Bernstein birthday. Lauren Bacall sings Sondheim’s “The Saga of Lenny” with Paul Ford at the piano and lyrics adapted for “Bernstein at 70!”.

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