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American Music Monarch Leonard Bernstein on WRTI

Leonard Bernstein, 1944
Leonard Bernstein, 1944

Concerts from the Library of Congress
Sunday, January 10
5 to 6 pm

Join us for a look back in time at an American icon: composer, conductor, and pianist Leonard Bernstein. When Bernstein died in 1990 at age 72, the New York Times described him in memoriam as "one of the most prodigally talented and successful musicians in American history...his fast-burning energies, his bewildering versatility and his profuse gifts for both music and theater coalesced to make him a high-profile figure in a dozen fields, among them symphonic music, Broadway musicals, the ballet, and films."

This program includes rare recordings that showcase Bernstein as pianist, including two early recordings from the '40s.
First, you'll hear a skit called "The Girl with the Two Left Feet," with Bernstein as pianist for the comedy sketch troupe The Revuers. Next, the recording he made of his Clarinet Sonata - his first published composition - with his longtime friend, clarinetist David Oppenheim. The centerpiece of the show is his amazing performance of the Schumann Piano Quintet, as guest artist with the Juilliard String Quartet. This is a live recording from the Library of Congress Concert Hall from 1963.

Watch and Listen: Leonard Bernstein plays Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" in 1976

Take a peek into the Library's exceptional Leonard Bernstein Collection, which documents the composer's extraordinary life and career. The online collection contains more than 1,000 items, including music and literary manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, audio and video recordings, and fan mail

Explore the Library of Congress' online exhibition about the 50th anniversary of Bernstein's West Side Story

Watch and Listen: Behind-the-Scenes with Bernstein during a recording session with tenor Jose Carreras singing "Maria" in 1985