Composer, pianist and conductor of incomparable flamboyance, Leonard Bernstein coaxed the world’s leading orchestras to give some of the most memorable performances of the twentieth century. His versatility was legendary, his classical accomplishments equalled only by his natural genius for popular music, with such immortal hits as On the Town and West Side Story, written in collaboration with Jerome Robbins. Bernstein composed symphonies, the scores for ballets, the music for the film On the Waterfront – and a satirical operetta based on Voltaire’s Candide.
Beyond these professional triumphs, he was the greatest advocate for music ever seen on television, whose pedagogic flair convinced a generation of young people and transformed the tastes of middle America. And his life was as multifaceted as his musical identity: a committed Zionist, a democrat and activist fascinated by race and social change (for whom the phrase ‘radical chic’ was invented), a cultural icon who came of humble Ukrainian Jewish stock, a homosexual who was also a loving husband and father of three children.
Join us for a multimedia celebration of an American master who commanded all media – guided by Humphrey Burton, Bernstein’s friend and professional colleague for thirty years, with whom he directed almost two hundred music films, and whose unrivalled closeness made him the ideal choice as Bernstein’s official biographer. And Clemency Burton-Hill, award-winning violinist and BBC Radio 3 presenter.