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Born: 1918, Lawrence, MassachusettsDied: 1990, New York, New York

Leonard Bernstein was like a force of nature – conductor, composer, pianist, lecturer, broadcaster, and writer were just a few of the hats he wore. He found success on Broadway and in the concert hall in the 1940s and ’50s with a style that mixed established old-world tradition with irrepressible New World optimism. Several of his works pose serious moral and religious questions, and, at his best, Bernstein was able to wed these concerns to music teeming with sheer physical energy and a mellifluous melodic gift.

Further listening:

Symphony No. 1, “Jeremiah” (1943)Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety” (1949)Chichester Psalms (1965)Christa Ludwig, mezzo; Lukas Foss, piano;Israel Philharmonic, Vienna Boys Choir,Bernstein (DG)