Tonight from West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein) Easy Piano Solo arr. sheet music
The essential melodies of the composer Leonard Bernstein
Despite his family’s reluctance to dedicate his life to music, Leonard Bernstein , born a century ago today – on August 25, 1918, in Lawrence, USA – became one of the most famous conductors of all time.
A vocation that he never abandoned since he joined the New York Philharmonic Orchestra , which he conducted for more than a decade, until his death in 1990.
The composer and pianist became famous as the first American conductor to achieve worldwide recognition. In addition to directing important orchestras in various cities, such as Berlin, Vienna or Tel Aviv, Bernstein tried to popularize classical music through televised concerts that were broadcast on CBS from 1958 and 1972 – Concerts for young people.
Among other pieces, the musician composed three symphonies, the operetta Candide , two operas and five musicals – West side story and On the Town -. Of the latter, the well-known theme New York, New York stands out . Well regarded and loved by musicians, he conducted Maria Callas in Cherubini’s Medea and Bellini’s La sonnambula , as well as a Tristan and Isolde in Munich. Operas that are only a small piece in his extensive curriculum.
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The composer, who grew up in a Jewish family in the Rivne Oblast (Ukraine), set the pace for the works of Gustav Mahler, Aaron Copland, Johannes Brahms, Dmitri Shostakovich, George Gershwin -especially Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris -, in addition to representing his own compositions. One of the main peculiarities of him as a conductor was his somewhat exaggerated gesticulation.
On the personal front, Bernsetin married the Costa Rican actress Felicia Cohn Montealegre , with whom he had three children. But over time he came to recognize his bisexuality and left with his partner Tom Cothran , a decision he regretted after a year when he returned to Felicia’s side. Unfortunately, she died a few months after reconciling with her husband from lung cancer.
Some critics believe that this difficult moment in the composer’s life affected his work, but other classical music experts believe that this was precisely Bernstein’s best musical period. A character that continues to be highly remembered, as evidenced by the fact that in the last edition of the Grammy Awards, the compilation album Leonard Bernstein. The Composer (from Sony Classical) was awarded in the Best Historical Album category.
A distinction that coincides with the centenary of his birth. “Few composers capture their time and become the iconic voice of their age,” wrote conductor John Mauceri, paying tribute to his former mentor, considered one of the few figures to have revolutionized 20th-century classical music. Here are some of the most representative melodies of the composer, pianist and conductor:
Symphony No. 2 The age of Anxiety (1949)
New York, New York para ‘On the Town’ (1944)