Leonard Bernstein was a very well educated man, having attended Boston Latin University, Harvard University, and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He began his conducting career in 1943 when he was appointed assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. When the head conductor came down with the flu at the last minute, Bernstein was left to conduct the Orchestra for the first time without any rehearsal whatsoever; and the event was to be nationally televised. He did very well that night, and received rave reviews from the press, and from then on his musical career skyrocketed. He stayed with the Philharmonic for a very long time, while pursuing composition as well. His most notable compositions were the music to the Broadway sensation West Side Story, as well as Candide and On the Town. He sadly passed away in 1990, but his influence certainly lives on, and his musical career was certainly one to be envied.
The Youtube videos that I watched of him were very insightful and unique, and I could certainly see why he had received such praise. The video ‘Bernstein at Harvard’ begins with Bernstein discussing the emotion behind a Beethoven composition. As he plays it on piano, he narrates what he feels the music is saying to him and it makes a great deal of sense. You can tell that he is completely in tune with every aspect of the music that he is playing, and utilizes every single facet of himself to accurately produce the music.
Another video I watched of Bernstein was called ‘Bernstein Conducts Mahler 9th Ending’. This video shows Bernstein in his element as he conducts the Vienna Philharmonic. This is an extremely emotional passage, with soft string swells acting as the focal point. As he sweats his brains out, Bernstein uses everything in him to portray the delicateness of the music: facial expression, body language, the gentleness of his hands. He abandons the baton, using...