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Leonard Bernstein

A composer, conductor, pianist, and educator, Leonard Bernstein was an American musician of international fame.

He studied music at Harvard University where he met fellow composer and lifelong friend Aaron Copland. Bernstein also attended Philadelphia's acclaimed Curtis Institute of Music.

In 1958 he became the first U.S.-born music director of the New York Philharmonic. He popularized the Young People's Concert series and conducted the orchestra in many recordings, including landmark performances of symphonies by Austrian composer Gustave Mahler.

Along with composers such as John Phillip Sousa, George Gershwin, and Copland, Bernstein helped define a uniquely American musical style. His score for West Side Story (1957), an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, reflects the cultural diversity of the 1950s in New York.

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