Leonard Bernstein’s New York Years


Half a century ago Leonard Bernstein took the helm of the New York Philharmonic — and changed American music. We’ll celebrate the maestro.

Conductor Leonard Bernstein in Austria, October 26, 1984. (AP)

Conductor Leonard Bernstein in Austria, October 26, 1984. (AP)

In the heart of the American Century, New York City was on top of the world.

The colossus of world wealth and energy and culture. And in the pinnacle of energy and culture stood Leonard Bernstein. From Broadway and West Side Story, to Carnegie Hall and Shostakovich, to CBS and the television nation, Bernstein –- conductor, composer, magnetic showman –- was everywhere.

Up next in an archive edition of On Point: New York looks back on Leonard Bernstein and the American Century.

-Tom Ashbrook


Barbara Haws, archivist and historian of the New York Philharmonic since 1984. She’s co-author of the new book “Leonard Bernstein: American Original.” The Philharmonic’s Bernstein festival begins on September 24.

Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, and former managing director of the London Symphony Orchestra. A cellist, he played under Leonard Bernstein for the LSO. Carnegie Hall’s website features a special section devoted to this season’s Bernstein festival.

Tim Page, former music critic for The Washington Post, where he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997. He’s now a visiting professor of musicology at the University of Southern California. He contributed an essay to “Leonard Bernstein: American Original.”

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly.


Candide Overture: Leonard Bernstein conducting


Rebroadcast Aug. 30, 2011 at 11 am.

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