Last month we looked at Bernstein’s life as a conductor and the famous story about how he got his start. Today let’s focus on the area of his life for which Bernstein was most proud – his life as an educator.
Bernstein had a passion for learning and devoted much of his life to absorbing knowledge on all subjects he found fascinating, including music. He would then take his acquired knowledge and share it with others. One of the ways he did this was thru television, which had recently become popular. During the early 1950s, Bernstein created several music segments for the educational show Omnibus, hosted by Alistair Cooke. Eventually, he convinced CBS to carry his Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic. These concerts aimed to teach children about music-related topics in a fun and relatable way. Bernstein created over 50 programs that aired between 1958 and 1972. These concerts are what sparked many children of the mid-twentieth century to become today’s leading musicians. Mark Gibson is Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He studied with Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood but before that, attended a Young People’s Concert in New York City when he was just a boy. Listen to Gibson describe the impact Bernstein’s teaching had on him at this concert:
Hear more from Mark Gibson and others who were impacted by Bernstein on an upcoming special from WGUC that will air August 19 at 8pm – Leonard Bernstein: A Legacy.
Did you ever see Leonard Bernstein on television? What program did you see and what did he teach you about music? Let me know in the comments below and check back next month as we explore how Bernstein’s Jewish heritage impacted his life as a composer.