Friday, March 6, 2009

Out in Film: Leonard Bernstein

Idol worship: Leonard Bernstein, composer/conductor/ musician.

- Known as "one of the most prodigally talented and successful musicians in American history", he was one of the first conductors born and educated in the United States to receive worldwide acclaim.

- His many compositions include three symphonies, two operas, five musicals and numerous other pieces. He is also known for his long conducting relationship with the New York Philharmonic, which included the acclaimed Young People's Concerts series.

- He was the first classical music conductor to make numerous television appearances, putting a face to the art and making it accessible to millions of viewers. For this, he won five Emmy Awards out of 11 nominations. He also won 16 Grammys during his career, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1980.

- In addition to the screen adaptations of his stage works, he is best known in the film world for his innovative score to On the Waterfront, which garnered him an Academy Award nomination.

- Today, he is arguably best known for his Tony Award-winning contributions to musical theater, namely such classics as On the Town, Wonderful Town, Candide and the masterpiece West Side Story, which returns to Broadway next week in an eagerly awaited revival.

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