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Leonard Bernstein

"I can't think of a greater modern all-rounder than..."

95

Great

by 1 Jurors

Leonard Bernstein (/ˈbɜrnstaɪn/; August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. According to music critic Donal Henahan, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."
His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, and from his music for West Side Story, Peter Pan, Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town and his own Mass.
Bernstein was the first conductor to give numerous television lectures on classical music, starting in 1954 and continuing until his death. He was a skilled pianist, often conducting piano concertos from the keyboard.
As a composer he wrote in many styles encompassing symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music and pieces for the piano. Many of his works are regularly performed around the world, although none has matched the tremendous popular and commercial success of West Side Story.

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I put him in the "conductor" category because he is best known for his conducting, but he is also a composer, a pianist, and an educator with an eagerness to reach out and communicate with people whether they be illustrious contemporaries or the average man in the street whose knowledge of music may be non-existent.

As a composer, not only did he write popular works, but he also took inspiration and analysis and perspective from non-classical formats. As a conductor, he was eager to tackle different genres of music. However, it would be folly to rate him to be among as high as all-time giants like Beethoven and Bach in the composer category. I think it's only fair to rate each role differently.

on April 15, 2016
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Leonard Bernstein

I can't think of a greater modern all-rounder than Leonard Bernstein
Book rating: 95 out of 100 with 1 ratings