Leonard BernsteinLeonard Bernstein ( ; August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, pianist, music educator, author, and humanitarian. Considered to be one of the most important conductors of his time, he was the first American conductor to receive international acclaim. Bernstein was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history" according to music critic Donal Henahan. Bernstein received numerous honors and accolades including seven Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, and 16 Grammy Awards (including the Lifetime Achievement Award) as well as an Academy Award nomination. He received the Kennedy Center Honor in 1981.
As a composer, Bernstein wrote in many genres, including symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music, and pieces for the piano. His best-known work is the Broadway musical ''West Side Story'', which continues to be regularly performed worldwide, and has been adapted into two (1961 and 2021) feature films. Bernstein's works include three symphonies, ''Serenade after Plato's "Symposium"'' (1954), and ''Chichester Psalms'' (1965), the original score for the Elia Kazan drama film ''On the Waterfront'' (1954), and theater works including ''On the Town'' (1944), ''Wonderful Town'' (1953), ''Candide'' (1956), and his ''Mass'' (1971).
Bernstein was the first American-born conductor to lead a major American symphony orchestra. He was music director of the New York Philharmonic and conducted the world's major orchestras, generating a significant legacy of audio and video recordings. Bernstein was also a critical figure in the modern revival of the music of Gustav Mahler, in whose music he was most passionately interested. A skilled pianist, Bernstein often conducted piano concertos from the keyboard. He was the first conductor to share and explore classical music on television with a mass audience through dozens of national and international broadcasts, including ''Young People's Concerts'' with the New York Philharmonic.
A lifelong humanitarian, Bernstein worked in support of civil rights, protested against the Vietnam War, advocated nuclear disarmament, raised money for HIV/AIDS research and awareness, and engaged in multiple international initiatives for human rights and world peace. He conducted Mahler's ''Resurrection Symphony'' to mark the death of president John F. Kennedy, and in Israel at a world famous concert, ''Hatikvah on Mt. Scopus'', after the 1967 war. The sequence of events was preserved for posterity in a documentary entitled ''Journey to Jerusalem''. At the end of his life, Bernstein conducted a historic performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. Provided by Wikipedia