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Leonard Bernstein: A Contemporary Master of Composition

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With a fruitful career, not only as a musical composer, but also as a writer, conductor and pianist, Leonard Bernstein was born in the United States, specifically in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on August 25, 1918. He comes from a family of Jewish background from Ukraine. Bernstein has been worldwide praised; he is specially known for conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Leonard’s childhood was very normal; he attended Garrison and Boston Latin School. At first, his father, Sam Bernstein was opposed to Leonard’s curiosity towards music; but then he started to understand his child’s preference and usually took him to orchestra concerts. Then, Leonard began his piano lessons.

Right after graduating in 1935, Bernstein went to Harvard University, where of course he studied music. The next step into his outstanding career was the Curtis Institute of Music, located in Philadelphia. In this institute, he studied piano next to Isabella Vengerova and Heinrich Gebhard.

His leap towards international recognition started after World War II; in 1949, he performed first as a conductor in the world première of the Turangalîla-Symphonie by Olivier Messiaen. Likewise, in 1957, he lead the inaugural concert of the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv. He took part of one of the biggest events in contemporary history; Bernstein conducted Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, as part of a celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall, on December 25, 1989.

Among the awards he won, it is worth mentioning his eight Grammy Awards, mostly granted to him because of his virtuosity and Best Orchestral and Choral Performance, Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Best Opera Performance, and so on.

His calling took him to walk through a variety of paths; one of those was writing. His legacy is profoundly shown in the lines of Findings, The Infinite Variety of Music, The Joy of Music and The Unanswered Question. Bernstein died on October 14, 1990.

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