A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

Leonard Bernstein

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March 30, 1932: Leonard Bernstein (13) makes his first public performance as pianist, in a recital of the pupils of Susan Williams in Boston.
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May 14, 1934: Leonard Bernstein (15) plays the first movement of the Piano Concerto of Edvard Grieg (†26) with the Boston Public School Symphony Orchestra at Roxbury High School.
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July 11, 1937: During Parents’ Weekend at the all-Jewish Camp Onota in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, news arrives of the death of George Gershwin. One of the counselors, Leonard Bernstein (18), goes to the piano in the mess hall, plays a loud chord to quiet the din, and announces the passing of “America’s greatest Jewish composer.” He then plays Gershwin’s Prelude for Piano no.2.
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November 14, 1937: At a dance recital in New York, Leonard Bernstein (19) finds that his set is next to Aaron Copland (37) for the first time. Later in the evening, at a birthday party for Copland, Bernstein performs Copland’s Piano Variations and several other things at the keyboard. The two become life-long friends.
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June 12, 1938: Two new works by Leonard Bernstein (19) are performed for the first time, in Brookline, Massachusetts: Music for Two Pianos and Music for the Dance. It is his first appearance as pianist-composer.
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August 1, 1938: Leonard Bernstein (19) plays his first full-length piano recital, at the Scituate Yacht Club, Massachusetts.
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April 21, 1939: Incidental music to Aristophanes’ play The Birds by Leonard Bernstein (20) is performed for the first time, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, directed by the composer in his conducting debut.
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May 27, 1939: Marc Blitzstein (34) arrives in Boston for the local premiere of his The Cradle Will Rock. Sponsored by the Harvard Student Union, it is put on in Sanders Theatre by a Harvard senior named Leonard Bernstein (20) who serves as accompanist, takes two roles and has cast his 15-year-old sister as the prostitute. The two of them spend the afternoon walking along the Charles and talking. The performance, held tonight, enthralls Blitzstein and the two musicians become life-long friends.
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June 22, 1939: Leonard Bernstein (20) graduates from Harvard University.
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July 8, 1940: The opening ceremonies for the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in Lennox, Massachusetts take place. The first season includes the residency of Paul Hindemith (44) and Aaron Copland (39). Among the students are Norman Dello Joio (27), Leonard Bernstein (21) and Lukas Foss (17).
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July 12, 1940: Leonard Bernstein (21) conducts at Tanglewood for the first time, as a student of Serge Koussevitzky. He directs the Institute Orchestra in Randall Thompson’s Symphony no.2.
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April 26, 1941: Leonard Bernstein (22) conducts his first broadcast performance, directing the Curtis Institute Orchestra in the A major Serenade of Johannes Brahms (†44).
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May 3, 1941: Leonard Bernstein (22) graduates from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with a diploma in conducting.
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May 23, 1941: Incidental music to Aristophanes’ play The Peace by Leonard Bernstein (22) is performed for the first time, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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July 11, 1941: Leonard Bernstein (22) conducts a professional orchestra for the first time. He directs the Boston Pops on the Esplanade in the Prelude to Die Meistersinger of Richard Wagner (†58).
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December 5, 1941: Leonard Bernstein (23) sends out cards announcing “the opening of his studio for the teaching of Piano and Musical Analysis” in his newly acquired apartment on Huntington Avenue in Boston. He will attract one student.
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April 21, 1942: Clarinet Sonata by Leonard Bernstein (23) is performed for the first time, in the Institute of Modern Art, Boston, the composer at the piano.
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October 11, 1942: Leonard Bernstein (24) takes part in a Youth for Victory rally in Boston. The fact is entered into his FBI file because the printer who produced the programs has also done work for leftist organizations.
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December 9, 1942: The 20th anniversary of the League of Composers is celebrated in Town Hall, New York with several first performances, including String Quartet no.11 by Darius Milhaud (50), Quintet for flute and strings by Walter Piston (48), Danzón cubano for two pianos by Aaron Copland (42) performed by the composer and Leonard Bernstein (24), and Madrigal-Sonata for flute, violin, and piano by Bohuslav Martinu (52).
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January 24, 1943: Sonatina for violin and piano by Ulysses Kay (26) is performed for the first time, in New York, Leonard Bernstein (24) at the piano.
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August 24, 1943: Leonard Bernstein’s cycle for voice and piano I Hate Music to his own words, is performed for the first time, by Jennie Tourel and Bernstein, in the public library of Lenox, Massachusetts, one day before the composer’s 25th birthday.
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August 25, 1943: Leonard Bernstein meets the new music director of the New York Philharmonic, Artur Rodzinski, at his summer home in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Rodzinski tells Bernstein that last year he saw Bernstein conduct the Tanglewood student orchestra. He was so impressed, he now offers Bernstein the post of assistant conductor in New York. It is Bernstein’s 25th birthday.
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November 14, 1943: After guest conductor Bruno Walter becomes ill, assistant conductor and last-minute replacement Leonard Bernstein (25) gives his debut directing the New York Philharmonic in a nationally broadcast concert. It is a triumph of incalculable proportions, and launches Bernstein into the public eye. Over the next two weeks he will be interviewed by 17 newspapers and magazines.
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January 28, 1944: Symphony no.1 “Jeremiah” for mezzo-soprano and orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (25), to words from the Bible, is performed for the first time, in Pittsburgh under the baton of the composer.
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April 18, 1944: Leonard Bernstein’s (25) ballet Fancy Free, to a scenario by Robbins, is performed for the first time, at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York conducted by the composer. Agnes de Mille will write, “The volume of the reaction nearly threw them [the dancers] off their counts…At the conclusion there was a genuine ovation with approximately twenty curtains and a house cheering from its heart.” (Oja, 17)
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May 7, 1944: A suite from music for the film Our Town by Aaron Copland (43) is performed for the first time, in Boston, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (25).
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May 14, 1944: Seven Anniversaries for piano by Leonard Bernstein (25) is performed for the first time, in the Opera House, Boston by the composer.
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June 2, 1944: Producers Paul Feigay and Oliver Smith sign a contract with Betty Comdon, Adolph Green, Jerome Robbins, and Leonard Bernstein (25) for a musical to be called On the Town to be produced before 26 January 1945. All of the authors are in their 20s.
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November 13, 1944: French horn player Gunther Schuller (18) first meets Leonard Bernstein (26) when Bernstein steps in for the ailing Eugene Goosens at a Cincinnati Orchestra concert in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  After the concert, Bernstein calls Schuller to his dressing room to compliment him on playing the horn solo in the Firebird as Stravinsky (62) intended.
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December 13, 1944: On the Town, a musical by Leonard Bernstein (26) to words of Comden, Green, and the composer, is performed for the first time, at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. See 28 December 1944.
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December 28, 1944: On the Town, a musical by Leonard Bernstein (26) to words of Comden and Green, opens in New York at the Adelphi Theatre. It is a smash with the public. Critics are generally happy. It will run for 426 performances. See 13 December 1944.
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January 14, 1945: An orchestral suite from the ballet Fancy Free by Leonard Bernstein (26) is performed for the first time, in Pittsburgh conducted by the composer. See 18 April 1944.
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March 27, 1945: A symphonic allegro by Peter Mennin (21) is performed for the first time, in New York conducted by Leonard Bernstein (26). See 27 November 1945.
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May 11, 1945: Jewish sacred works are performed for the first time, in Park Avenue Synagogue, New York: Kaddish op.250 for cantor, chorus, and organ by Darius Milhaud (52), Hashkiveinu for cantor, chorus, and organ by Leonard Bernstein (26), and excerpts from the cantata Yigdal by Stefan Wolpe (42) to words of Maimonedes.
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August 25, 1945: Leonard Bernstein is offered the directorship of the New York City Symphony on his 27th birthday. He accepts.
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October 8, 1945: Leonard Bernstein (27) takes up duties as director of the New York City Symphony.
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January 21, 1946: Three Dance Variations from Fancy Free for orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (27) is performed for the first time, in New York conducted by the composer. See 18 April 1944.
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February 3, 1946: Three dance episodes from On the Town by Leonard Bernstein (27) are performed for the first time, in San Francisco conducted by the composer.
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February 6, 1946: After playing a Brahms (†48) concerto in New York, pianist Claudio Arrau invites the conductor, Leonard Bernstein (27) to his birthday party. There he meets a young Chilean, Felicia Montealegre y Cohn, and there, according to Bernstein, “we fell in love.” See 9 September 1951.
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April 1, 1946: Symphony: The Airborne for chorus and orchestra of Marc Blitzstein (41) to his own words is performed for the first time, at the City Center, New York conducted by Leonard Bernstein (27). Orson Welles is the narrator. The audience is very appreciative, the critics mixed.
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May 15, 1946: Leonard Bernstein (27) conducts for the first time outside of North America with the Czech Philharmonic in Prague.
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October 24, 1946: Facsimile, a ballet by Leonard Bernstein (28) to a scenario by Robbins, is performed for the first time, in the Broadway Theatre, New York conducted by the composer.
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December 23, 1946: In Boston, Serge Koussevitzky writes to his protégé Leonard Bernstein (28), telling him to stop programming his own music when he conducts.
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March 5, 1947: Facsimile, a choreographic essay based on the ballet of the same name by Leonard Bernstein (28), is performed for the first time, in Poughkeepsie, New York, the composer conducting. See 18 April 1944.
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March 31, 1947: A Short Overture for orchestra by Ulysses Kay (30) is performed for the first time, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Leonard Bernstein (28) conducting.
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April 9, 1947: Leonard Bernstein (28), his father and sister set sail from New York for Cherbourg. He has been engaged to conduct several concerts in Europe and Palestine.
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April 27, 1947: Leonard Bernstein (28) gives the first of nine concerts with the Palestine Symphony Orchestra.
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September 22, 1947: Leonard Bernstein (29) conducts Mahler (†36) for the first time, the Resurrection Symphony, at the City Center, New York.
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November 24, 1947: The full orchestra version of The Cradle Will Rock by Marc Blitzstein (42) is performed for the first time, in a concert setting, in City Center, New York conducted by Leonard Bernstein (29). Bernstein decided to stage it in direct confrontation to the increasing attacks on the Left and the labor movement in the Congress and the country.
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January 23, 1948: Symphony no.4 by David Diamond (32) is performed for the first time, in Boston Leonard Bernstein (29) conducting.
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February 28, 1948: A farewell concert in honor of Hanns Eisler (49) is presented in Town Hall, New York. Among those sponsoring the event are Walter Piston (54), Roger Sessions (51), Roy Harris (50), Aaron Copland (47), David Diamond (32), Leonard Bernstein (29), and Randall Thompson. Eisler will be deported next month.
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March 7, 1948: Leonard Bernstein (29) resigns as music director of the New York City Symphony in protest against budget cuts.
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April 22, 1948: Leonard Bernstein (29) sails from New York aboard RMS Queen Mary. He is to conduct in several European cities, and then take up duties as the artistic director of the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra.
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May 19, 1948: Leonard Bernstein (29) withdraws his resignation as conductor of the New York City Symphony.
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October 1, 1948: Four Anniversaries for piano by Leonard Bernstein (30) is performed for the first time, in Cleveland.
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October 2, 1948: Leonard Bernstein (30) becomes music director of the Israel Philharmonic.
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October 10, 1948: La bonne cuisine for voice and piano by Leonard Bernstein (30) to words of Dutoit (tr. Bernstein), is performed for the first time, in New York.
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October 14, 1948: A performance in Jerusalem of Beethoven’s (†121) Leonore Overture no.3 by the Israel Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (30), is accompanied by artillery explosions.
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October 24, 1948: Afterthought for voice and piano by Leonard Bernstein (30) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in Town Hall, New York.
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November 20, 1948: Leonard Bernstein (30) conducts members of the Israel Philharmonic in a concert at Beersheba for the Israeli soldiers who liberated it only a month ago. Among the thousands of listeners, sitting mostly on the ground, are soldiers, airmen, civilians, local Arabs, and a number of camels. The Egyptians, seeing the mass of people as a possible attack, withdraw troops from the Jerusalem front to counter the expected Israeli assault.
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November 28, 1948: “Dirge” from the Symphony no.2 “Age of Anxiety” by Leonard Bernstein (30) is performed for the first time, in Tel Aviv the composer playing the piano part. See 8 April 1949.
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January 6, 1949: Jerome Robbins visits Leonard Bernstein (30) in New York with an idea for a musical based on a modern treatment of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
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March 2, 1949: Concerned that President Truman might have to appear at a function with Leonard Bernstein (30), White House official David Niles asks the FBI for evidence of Bernstein’s politics.
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March 13, 1949: Extinguish My Eyes, a song for voice and piano by Leonard Bernstein (30) to words of Rilke (tr. Lemont), is performed for the first time, in Town Hall, New York. Also premiered is Fantasy for piano by Arthur Berger (36).
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March 15, 1949: The trustees of the Boston Symphony Orchestra decide not to hire Leonard Bernstein (30) as successor to Serge Koussevitzky as music director.
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April 8, 1949: Symphony no.2 “The Age of Anxiety” for piano and orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (30) is performed for the first time, in Boston, the composer at the keyboard.
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April 19, 1949: The US House Un-American Activities Committee releases its report on the Waldorf Conference recently held in New York featuring Aaron Copland (48), Marc Blitzstein (44), Dmitri Shostakovich (42), Leonard Bernstein (30), and Lukas Foss (26). It lists names of the participants and describes the “threat” posed by the conference which they call “a supermobilization of inveterate wheelhorses and supporters of the Communist Party and its auxiliary organizations...”
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April 28, 1949: Leonard Bernstein (30) wins the Boston Symphony Orchestra merit award of $1,000 for his Symphony no.2.
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November 28, 1949: NBC broadcasts a 30-minute program of Leonard Bernstein (31) rehearsing the Boston Symphony Orchestra in preparation for the premiere of Olivier Messiaen’s (40) Turangalîla-symphonie.
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December 2, 1949: Turangalîla-symphonie for piano, ondes martenot, and orchestra by Olivier Messiaen (40) is performed for the first time, in Symphony Hall, Boston conducted by Leonard Bernstein (31) in the presence of the composer and Maurice Martenot. Yvonne Loriod plays the piano part and Ginette Martenot (sister of the inventor) plays the Ondes Martenot. See 15 February 1948.
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December 8, 1949: A film based on the musical On the Town with music by Leonard Bernstein (31) is shown publicly for the first time, in New York. Much of Bernstein’s music has been cut or rearranged.
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December 10, 1949: Preamble for a Solemn Occasion for speaker and orchestra by Aaron Copland (49), commissioned by NBC for the first anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is performed for the first time, in New York, Leonard Bernstein (31) conducting. The speaker is Laurence Olivier.
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December 13, 1949: 13 important figures in the artistic world, including Leonard Bernstein (30), Clifford Odets, Cole Porter, Tennessee Williams, and Jerome Robbins, place an add in the New York Times urging their readers to see Regina by Marc Blitzstein (44). The opera will close in four days after 56 performances.
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February 26, 1950: The anti-communist periodical Counterattack names Leonard Bernstein (31) as a subversive.
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April 24, 1950: Incidental music to Leonard Bernstein’s (31) Peter Pan after Barrie is performed for the first time, in the Adelphi Theatre, New York.
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May 21, 1950: Leonard Bernstein (31) writes to Aaron Copland (49) that his efforts to convince Serge Koussevitzky to premiere Copland’s Clarinet Concerto at Tanglewood have come to naught. “Benny [Goodman] and Tanglewood don’t mix in his mind.”
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January 7, 1951: The Israel Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (32) opens its first North American tour in Washington. They will visit 41 cities.
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February 22, 1951: Symphony no.2 by Charles Ives (76) is performed for the first time, in New York, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (32) 50 years after it was completed by the composer. See 4 March 1951.
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May 2, 1951: The name of Leonard Bernstein (32) is placed in the Prominent Individuals Subsection of the Security Index. These are American citizens who will be arrested without due process in the case of a national emergency.
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September 9, 1951: Leonard Bernstein (33) marries Felicia Montealegre, an actress and daughter of businessman Roy Cohn, at Temple Mishkan Tefilah, Roxbury, Massachusetts.
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June 12, 1952: Leonard Bernstein’s (33) opera Trouble in Tahiti, to his own words, is performed for the first time, at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts under the baton of the composer.
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August 25, 1952: On his 34th birthday, Leonard Bernstein and his family move into an apartment a 205 West 57th St. in New York, near Carnegie Hall.
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January 19, 1953: Wonderful Town, a musical by Leonard Bernstein (34) to words of Comden and Green after Fields and Chodorov, is performed for the first time, in the Shubert Theatre, New Haven. See 25 February 1953.
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February 19, 1953: US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles orders the removal from International Information Administration libraries and Voice of America broadcasts, any music by a communist or communist sympathizer. These include works by Aaron Copland (52), George Gershwin (†15), Roger Sessions (56), Virgil Thomson (56), Roy Harris (55), and Leonard Bernstein (34).
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February 25, 1953: Wonderful Town, a musical by Leonard Bernstein (34) to words of Comden and Green after Fields and Chodurov, opens in New York, in the Winter Garden. The critics are unanimously positive. See 19 January 1953.
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June 15, 1953: A Donaldson Award for Best Musical Comedy is awarded to Wonderful Town with music by Leonard Bernstein (34).
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August 3, 1953: Leonard Bernstein (34) submits a sworn affidavit to the FBI that he has “never...knowingly engaged in activities which supported the Communist movement under circumstances which would warrant the conclusion that I engaged in such activities as a result of direction, domination or control exercised over me by the Communist movement.” He swears he never attended meetings of suspect organizations, that he has reformed himself, and that he has voted only for Republicans or Democrats. He swears his loyalty to the United States and disavows all leftist organizations with which he has been associated. This will allow him to receive a passport and work in Hollywood.
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August 12, 1953: Leonard Bernstein (34) receives a passport so that he may travel to Italy to conduct.
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December 10, 1953: Leonard Bernstein (35) becomes the first American to conduct at Teatro alla Scala, Milan, directing Maria Callas in Medea.
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July 28, 1954: On the Waterfront, a film with music by Leonard Bernstein (35), is shown for the first time, in the Astor Theatre, New York.
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September 12, 1954: Serenade (after Plato) for violin, strings, harp, and percussion by Leonard Bernstein (36) is performed for the first time, in Teatro La Fenice, Venice, under the baton of the composer.
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November 14, 1954: Leonard Bernstein (36) gives his first television lecture on the CBS Omnibus program.
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February 13, 1955: Silhouette, a song for voice and piano by Leonard Bernstein (36) to words of the composer after a Lebanese folk song, is performed for the first time, in the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
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August 11, 1955: A symphonic suite from the music to the film On the Waterfront by Leonard Bernstein (36) is performed for the first time, at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts.
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September 23, 1955: Leonard Bernstein (37) and his wife Felicia are interviewed by Edward R. Murrow on his television program Person to Person.
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October 16, 1955: Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs for clarinet and jazz ensemble by Leonard Bernstein (37) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the ABC television network. Composed in 1949 for Woody Herman, it was not performed due to the breaking up of Herman’s band.
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October 24, 1955: Leonard Bernstein (37) conducts the New York Philharmonic at United Nations headquarters in a concert celebrating the tenth anniversary of the organization.
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October 28, 1955: Incidental music to Hellman’s (after Anouilh) play The Lark by Leonard Bernstein (37) is performed for the first time, in the Plymouth Theatre, Boston.
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November 14, 1955: While working on West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein (37) reports that the three collaborators have found “a young lyricist named Stephen Sondheim” who he thinks will fit perfectly. Bernstein originally thought to write the lyrics himself.
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November 17, 1955: Incidental music to Hellman’s (after Anouilh) play The Lark by Leonard Bernstein (37) is performed for the first time in New York, in the Longacre Theatre. See 28 October 1955.
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November 18, 1955: Leonard Bernstein (37) receives a telegram from the New York Philharmonic asking him to be guest conductor during the 1956-57 season. It is his first official appointment from the orchestra since he was blacklisted.
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December 11, 1955: Incidental music to Wilde’s play Salomé by Leonard Bernstein (37) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the CBS television network.
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March 19, 1956: A subcommittee of the United States Congress holds that Leonard Bernstein (37), identified only as “no.5”, and several members of the Symphony of the Air are risks to the security of the United States.
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March 27, 1956: Leonard Bernstein (37) has lunch with Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy. The two share a mutual admiration and like for each other. Soon after this, the investigation into Bernstein by the House Un-American Activities Committee will be cancelled.
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April 2, 1956: Leonard Bernstein (37) signs his first contract with Columbia Records.
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October 15, 1956: Leonard Bernstein (38) is named one of two principal conductors of the New York Philharmonic. He thus becomes the first conductor of a major orchestra born and trained in the United States. He will share the post with Dmitri Mitropoulos.
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October 29, 1956: Candide, a comic operetta by Leonard Bernstein (38) to words of Hellman, Wilbur, La Touche, Parker, and the composer after Voltaire, is performed for the first time, in the Colonial Theatre, Boston. See 1 December 1956 and 20 December 1973.
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December 1, 1956: Candide, a comic operetta by Leonard Bernstein (38) to words of Hellman, Wilbur, La Touche, Parker, and the composer after Voltaire, opens in New York at the Martin Beck Theatre. Critics are decidedly mixed. See 29 October 1956 and 20 December 1973.
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January 26, 1957: The symphonic setting of the Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein (38) is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall directed by the composer.
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March 7, 1957: Harvard Choruses by Leonard Bernstein (38) to words of Lerner, are performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York.
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August 3, 1957: On the day of the first complete run-through of West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein (38) signs a contract as music director of the New York Philharmonic.
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August 19, 1957: West Side Story, a musical by Leonard Bernstein (38) to words of Sondheim and the composer after Laurents after Shakespeare, is given its out-of-town opening in the National Theatre, Washington. See 26 September 1957.
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September 26, 1957: West Side Story, a musical by Leonard Bernstein (38) to words of Sondheim and the composer after Laurents after Shakespeare, opens in New York in the Winter Garden Theatre. It will run for 734 performances, a yearlong national tour and then 249 more performances on Broadway. (for the last nine months of the Broadway run, the drummer will be Michael Colgrass (25)) Producer Harold Prince will later lament that he closed the show two months too soon. See 19 August 1957.
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November 19, 1957: Leonard Bernstein (39) is named co-Music Director of the New York Philharmonic.
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January 2, 1958: Leonard Bernstein (39) gives his first concert as co-Music Director of the New York Philharmonic.
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January 18, 1958: Leonard Bernstein (39) and the New York Philharmonic give the first of 53 Young People’s Concerts over the airwaves of CBS television. This one is entitled What does Music Mean?
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February 1, 1958: Aaron Copland (57) conducts on television for the first time, sharing a program with Leonard Bernstein (39) and the New York Philharmonic.
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April 15, 1958: Leonard Bernstein (39) wins an Emmy Award for Best Musical Contribution to Television for his explanation of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (†207) on Omnibus.
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April 29, 1958: Incidental music to Fry’s play The Firstborn by Leonard Bernstein (39) is performed for the first time, in Coronet Theatre, New York.
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October 2, 1958: Leonard Bernstein (40) gives his first performance as sole Music Director of the New York Philharmonic.
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November 30, 1958: The television series Lincoln Presents Leonard Bernstein (40) and the New York Philharmonic begins with a performance of the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven (†187).
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April 2, 1959: Elegy for small orchestra by Kenneth Gaburo (32) is performed for the first time, in New York, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (40).
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April 8, 1959: Brass Music for trumpet, horn, trombone, tuba, and piano by Leonard Bernstein (40) is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York.
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April 18, 1959: Symphony no.3 by Ned Rorem (35) is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, Leonard Bernstein (40) conducting.
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May 14, 1959: Ground is broken in New York for the new Lincoln Center. 12,000 people attend (including President Eisenhower) while 500,000 watch on television. The master of ceremonies is Leonard Bernstein (40). Representing the Juilliard School is William Schuman (48).
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August 22, 1959: The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (40), begins a tour of the Soviet Union with a concert at Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow.
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September 11, 1959: Leonard Bernstein (41) conducts the New York Philharmonic in their last performance during the current tour to the USSR, in Tchaikovsky Hall. In attendance is Dmitri Shostakovich (52) (whose Symphony no.5 is performed), and his son Maxim, Boris Pasternak, Dmitri Kabalevsky, and Kiril Kondrashin.
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November 20, 1959: Francis Poulenc (60) receives a cable from Leonard Bernstein (41) and David Keiser, music director and president of the New York Philharmonic inviting him to compose a major work for the inaugural season of Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center. He will accept.
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March 26, 1960: Concerted Piece for tape recorder and orchestra by Otto Luening (59) and Vladimir Ussachevsky (48) is performed for the first time, in New York, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (41). This is a taped “Young People’s Concert” which will be aired tomorrow. The official premiere will take place on 31 March.
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April 5, 1960: Leonard Bernstein (41) conducts the New York Philharmonic at the White House before President Eisenhower, playing Mozart (†168) and Gershwin (†22). Eisenhower tells Bernstein that he enjoyed Rhapsody in Blue. “It’s got a theme. I like music with a theme, not all them arias and barcarolles.”
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May 5, 1960: Introduction and Goodbyes, an opera for baritone and chorus by Lukas Foss (37) to words of Menotti (48), is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York Leonard Bernstein (41) conducting.
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June 20, 1960: The winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Music is “Leonard Bernstein (41) and the New York Philharmonic in Moscow” on CBS.
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October 21, 1960: Time Cycle for soprano and orchestra by Lukas Foss (38) to words of Nietzsche, Auden, Housman, and Kafka, is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York the composer at the piano and Leonard Bernstein (42) conducting. See 10 July 1961.
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November 12, 1960: Aaron Copland appears on Leonard Bernstein’s (42) network television program “Young People’s Concerts”. It is part of celebrations surrounding Copland’s 60th birthday.
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January 19, 1961: Fanfare I for the inauguration of John Kennedy by Leonard Bernstein (42) is performed for the first time, at an inaugural gala at the National Armory in Washington conducted by the composer.
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February 13, 1961: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein (42) is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York, conducted by Lukas Foss (38). See 19 August 1957.
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March 24, 1961: Fanfare II for the 25th anniversary of the High School of Music and Art by Leonard Bernstein (42) is performed for the first time, in New York.
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May 16, 1961: The winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Music for Television is “Leonard Bernstein (42) and the New York Philharmonic in Berlin” on CBS.
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October 18, 1961: West Side Story, a film with music by Leonard Bernstein (43), is shown for the first time, in New York.
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October 26, 1961: Symphony no.8 by David Diamond (46) is performed for the first time, in New York Leonard Bernstein (43) conducting.
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November 13, 1961: Pablo Casals gives a recital at the White House before President and Mrs. Kennedy and 200 invited guests. Among those attending are the elite of the musical culture of the United States: Walter Piston (67), Howard Hanson (65), Virgil Thomson (64), Roger Sessions (64), Henry Cowell (64), Roy Harris (63), Aaron Copland (60), Elliott Carter (52), Samuel Barber (51), William Schuman (51), Alan Hovhaness (50), Gian Carlo Menotti (50), Norman Dello Joio (48), Leonard Bernstein (43), Eugene Ormandy, and Leopold Stokowski. The concert is recorded and will be televised. Bernstein will recall “I’ve never seen so many happy artists in my life.”
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January 18, 1962: Igor Stravinsky (79) and his wife are guests of President and Mrs. Kennedy at the White House along with a small group of artists, including Leonard Bernstein (43).
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May 22, 1962: The winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Program Achievements in the Fields of Variety and Music is “Leonard Bernstein (43) and the New York Philharmonic in Japan” on CBS.
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August 24, 1962: A funeral service in memory of Irving Fine takes place at the Leah and Mendel Berlin Memorial Chapel of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Among those attending are Aaron Copland (61), Arthur Berger (50), Leonard Bernstein (43), Leon Kirchner (43), and Richard Wernick (28). His mortal remains are then laid to rest in Sharon Memorial Park, Sharon, Massachusetts.
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September 23, 1962: Connotations for orchestra by Aaron Copland (61) is performed for the first time, at the inauguration of Lincoln Center, directed by Leonard Bernstein (44). The concert is televised by the CBS television network. Among the attenders are composers Walter Piston (68), Roger Sessions (65), Henry Cowell (65), Roy Harris (64), Samuel Barber (52) and the Center’s director, William Schuman (52), along with Rudolf Bing, Isaac Stern, Secretary-General of the United Nations U Thant, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and New York Mayor Robert Wagner.
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October 4, 1962: Symphony no.8 by William Schuman (52) is performed for the first time, at Lincoln Center, New York, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (44). It was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for the inauguration of Philharmonic Hall (Avery Fisher Hall).
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March 13, 1963: When My Soul Touches Yours, a song for voice and piano by Leonard Bernstein (44) to words of Rilke (tr. Lemont), is performed for the first time, in Philharmonic Hall, New York.
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April 10, 1963: Sonata for clarinet and piano by Francis Poulenc (†0) is performed for the first time, in New York by Benny Goodman and Leonard Bernstein (44).
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May 16, 1963: Symphony no.5 by Hans Werner Henze (36) is performed for the first time, in New York, directed by Leonard Bernstein (44).
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October 3, 1963: Violin Concerto op.30 by Alberto Ginastera (47) is performed for the first time, under the baton of Leonard Bernstein (45) in Philharmonic Hall, New York.
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November 22, 1963: United States President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is shot twice in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald (firing from a sixth floor window) as he rides through the city in an open car. He is pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital and succeeded by Lyndon Baines Johnson. Also wounded in the attack is Texas Governor John Connally. Oswald is arrested. Leonard Bernstein (45) is in a staff meeting of the New York Philharmonic, planning an upcoming Young People’s Concert when he hears the news. Those present abandon the meeting to listen to the radio.

Driving a Volkswagen bus carrying Merce Cunningham and his dance company on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, John Cage (51) pulls into a gas station and asks about all the flags at half-staff. He is informed of the day’s events.

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November 24, 1963: Leonard Bernstein (45) conducts a memorial concert for President Kennedy with the New York Philharmonic over the airwaves of CBS television. The music is the Symphony no.2 “Resurrection” of Gustav Mahler (†52).
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December 10, 1963: Symphony no.3 “Kaddish” for speaker, boys’ chorus, chorus, and orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (45) to words of the Hebrew liturgy and the composer, is performed for the first time, in Tel Aviv the composer conducting.
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December 23, 1963: Shulamit Ran (14) performs the world premiere of her Capriccio for piano and orchestra, directed by Leonard Bernstein (45) on one of Bernstein’s televised Young People’s Concerts.
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January 23, 1964: After announcing the death of Marc Blitzstein to a stunned New York Philharmonic audience, Leonard Bernstein (45) dedicates their performance of the Eroica Symphony to him. Eric Salzman will write in the New York Herald-Tribune, “It was an incredible, agonized unbearable reading which, with its bursts of nervous energy, and wild relentless drive, left detail, clarity, accuracy and indeed everything but anguished, frenetic intensity far, far behind.”
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February 6, 1964: Atlas Eclipticalis by John Cage (51) is performed by the New York Philharmonic in New York, the first time the work is heard with the orchestration intended by the composer. Conducted by Leonard Bernstein (45), the performance is deliberately sabotaged by the musicians, who talk, toy with or destroy their microphones, play music not connected to the score, or do nothing. One-third of the audience leaves, while those remaining engage in a chorus of boos. See 3 August 1961.
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April 19, 1964: At a memorial concert in honor of Marc Blitzstein (†0), an almost complete performance of The Cradle Will Rock takes place in Philharmonic Hall, New York, with some of the original cast, directed by Leonard Bernstein (45). Two excerpts from his unfinished opera Tales of Malamud, “How I Met My New Grandfather” and “Then”, are performed for the first time.
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May 7, 1964: Symphony no.6 by Carlos Chávez (64) is performed for the first time, in New York, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (45).
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March 25, 1965: At the end of a civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, 25,000 marchers gather before the state capitol building to hear speeches by Martin Luther King and others. Among them is Leonard Bernstein (46). 3,200 began in Selma. In the evening, Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit housewife who has been ferrying marchers back to Selma, receives several shots from another car while driving to Montgomery. She is killed but her companion survives. Four men are arrested for the crime.
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July 15, 1965: Chichester Psalms for treble, chorus, and orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (46) to words from the Bible, is performed for the first time, in Philharmonic Hall, New York the composer conducting.
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September 12, 1965: One of the winners of an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment is Leonard Bernstein (47) and the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts.
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April 28, 1966: Two works for orchestra by David Diamond (50) are performed for the first time, in New York, Leonard Bernstein (47) conducting: Symphony no.5 and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.
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October 6, 1966: Hymn and Fuguing Tune no.16 for orchestra by Henry Cowell (†0) is performed for the first time, in New York under the baton of Leonard Bernstein (48).
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October 13, 1966: Music Director Leonard Bernstein (48) devotes an entire New York Philharmonic concert to the horrors of war, including the Airborne Symphony of Marc Blitzstein (†2).
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November 2, 1966: Leonard Bernstein (48) announces that he will leave the New York Philharmonic when his contract expires in 1969.
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April 27, 1967: Variation III-Phorion, from Lukas Foss’ (44) Baroque Variations for orchestra is performed for the first time, in Philharmonic Hall, New York conducted by Leonard Bernstein (48). See 7 July 1967.
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June 28, 1967: Triplum for orchestra by Gunther Schuller (41) is performed for the first time, in Philharmonic Hall, New York conducted by Leonard Bernstein (48).
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July 9, 1967: Leonard Bernstein (48) conducts Mahler’s (†56) Resurrection Symphony and the e minor Violin Concerto of Felix Mendelssohn (†119) on Mt. Scopus after the Six-Day War.
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September 13, 1967: Inscape for orchestra by Aaron Copland (66) is performed for the first time, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor under the direction of Leonard Bernstein (49).
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November 9, 1967: November Steps for shakuhachi, biwa, and orchestra by Toru Takemitsu (37) is performed for the first time, in Lincoln Center, New York conducted by Leonard Bernstein (49).
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January 21, 1968: A “Broadway for Peace” concert takes place at Philharmonic Hall, New York to raise money for the Congressional Peace Campaign Committee. So Pretty for voice and piano by Leonard Bernstein (49), to words of Comden and Green, is performed for the first time the composer at the keyboard accompanying Barbra Streisand.
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March 7, 1968: Ricercare for orchestra by Walter Piston (74) is performed for the first time, in New York, conducted by the dedicatee, Leonard Bernstein (49).
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June 8, 1968: Leonard Bernstein (49) conducts members of the New York Philharmonic at the funeral in memory of Senator Robert Kennedy in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York. They perform part of Verdi’s (†67) Requiem and the Adagietto from the Symphony no.5 of Gustav Mahler (†57). Bernstein was placed in charge of the music for the ceremony at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy. He is accompanied to the cathedral by police after a threat on his life. The body of Senator Kennedy is then brought by train from New York to Washington where it is laid to rest near that of his brother in Arlington National Cemetery.
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October 3, 1968: To Thee Old Cause for oboe, brass, timpani, piano, and strings by William Schuman (58) is performed for the first time, in New York, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (50). It was commissioned for the 125th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic and was composed this summer while Schuman recovered from a heart attack.
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January 16, 1969: Relata II for orchestra by Milton Babbitt (52) is performed for the first time, in Philharmonic Hall, New York under the baton of Leonard Bernstein (50).
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May 17, 1969: Leonard Bernstein (50) conducts his final performance as music director of the New York Philharmonic.
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June 10, 1969: The New York Philharmonic Orchestra announces that Pierre Boulez (44) will succeed Leonard Bernstein (50) as music director of the orchestra.
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October 26, 1969: A concert takes place in Alice Tully Hall marking the official opening of the Juilliard School and the completion of Lincoln Center. Attenders include the First Lady, her daughter and son-in-law, Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Martha Graham, Sol Hurok, Isaac Stern, and William Schuman (59). The master of ceremonies is Leonard Bernstein (51). Speakers include John D. Rockefeller III and President of Juilliard Peter Mennin (46). A dispute between Mennin and Schuman has recently become very public culminating this morning in the appearance of a scathing letter to the editor from Schuman in the New York Times.
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November 15, 1969: 125 US soldiers sign statements of support for a war moratorium. 20,000 people demonstrate in Paris against the Vietnam War. 42 other French cities see protests. Several thousand people (including US servicemen out of uniform) take part in demonstrations in Frankfurt. 8,000 people demonstrate in West Berlin. Other protests take place in London, Rome, Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver, Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Auckland, Manila, Addis Ababa, and Lusaka. Over 250,000 people gather in Washington for the culminating events in three days of protest against American involvement in the Vietnam War. Among the speakers is Leonard Bernstein (51).
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December 7, 1969: Warm-Up, a round for chorus by Leonard Bernstein (51) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in Philharmonic Hall, New York. It will be incorporated into Mass.
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January 14, 1970: 90 guests assemble at the Park Avenue apartment of Leonard Bernstein (51) for cocktails and a meeting with leading members of the revolutionary Black Panther Party. Bernstein and his guests, all wealthy socialites, trade questions and some differences of opinion with the Panthers. Over $10,000 is raised for a defense fund for 21 Black Panthers currently on trial for plotting to kill policemen and bomb New York department stores, police precinct houses, and the New York Botanical Garden.
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January 29, 1970: In Praise of Shahn for orchestra by William Schuman (59) is performed for the first time, in New York directed by Leonard Bernstein (51). The work is warmly received.
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February 5, 1970: Concerto for Orchestra by Elliott Carter (61), composed to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic, is performed for the first time, in New York conducted by Leonard Bernstein (51). The work receives a favorable response from the audience.
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February 25, 1970: FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover orders his New York office to write fictitious letters emphasizing the anti-Semitic nature of the Black Panther Party and send them to those who attended the fundraiser at the home of Leonard Bernstein (51) on 14 January. They should be signed “A Concerned and Loyal Jew” or the like.
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June 8, 1970: New York Magazine publishes an article by Tom Wolfe lambasting the meeting hosted by Leonard Bernstein (51) on 14 January. He coins the phrase “radical chic.”
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September 28, 1970: Shivaree for brass and percussion by Leonard Bernstein (52) is performed for the first time, in New York.
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May 10, 1971: 125 people gather for a party at Leonard Bernstein’s (52) Park Avenue apartment and donate $35,000 to a defense fund for Philip Berrigan and five co-defendants accused of plotting to kidnap presidential advisor Henry Kissinger.
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May 25, 1971: Leonard Bernstein (52) drives to Danbury Federal Prison in Connecticut to consult with Father Philip Berrigan about the ending of Mass. Recently, Mrs. Bernstein raised $35,000 for the legal fees of the Berrigan brothers. The visit causes J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, to assume that Berrigan has provided texts for the work which will embarrass President Nixon. He advises Nixon not to attend the premiere in Washington.
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July 12, 1971: FBI director J. Edgar Hoover sends an ominous warning memorandum to Attorney General John Mitchell and Presidential Chief of Staff HR Haldeman about the composition of Mass by Leonard Bernstein (52): “...important government officials, perhaps even the President, are expected to attend this ceremony and it is anticipated that they will applaud the composition without recognizing the true meaning of the words.” In fact, President Nixon will not attend the premiere.
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July 14, 1971: Leonard Bernstein (52) attempts to meet once again with Father Philip Berrigan at Danbury Federal Prison in Connecticut. He is denied admission by prison officials.
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September 8, 1971: Mass, a theatre piece for singers, players, and dancers by Leonard Bernstein (53) to words of Schwarz, the Latin mass, and the composer, is performed for the first time, at the opening of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington. The applause lasts for one-half hour. The critics run from laudatory to blistering. Rose Kennedy remarks, “It’s stupendous. Jack would have loved it…” (Burton, 405)
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October 31, 1971: Two Meditations from Mass, orchestral excerpts by Leonard Bernstein (53), are performed for the first time, in Austin, Texas. See 8 September 1971.
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March 26, 1972: The last of the 53 Young People’s Concerts by Leonard Bernstein (53) and the New York Philharmonic is broadcast over the CBS television network.
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May 5, 1972: “Bernstein on Beethoven: A Celebration in Vienna” starring Leonard Bernstein (53) wins an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Program-Variety or Music.
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May 19, 1972: Most Reverend Paul F. Leibold, Archbishop of Cincinnati holds that Leonard Bernstein’s (53) Mass is “a blatant sacrilege against all we hold as sacred.”
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May 21, 1972: Meditation III from Mass for orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (53) is performed for the first time, in Jerusalem, conducted by the composer. See 8 September 1971.
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May 30, 1972: Leonard Bernstein (53) defends his Mass before the National Press Club in Washington. He reads two letters from the Kennedy family praising the work.
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July 12, 1972: The New York Times announces that Leonard Bernstein (53) will take a year off from conducting to devote full time to composition.
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January 19, 1973: Leonard Bernstein (54) conducts a Concert for Peace in the National Cathedral, Washington to protest tomorrow’s second inauguration of Richard Nixon.
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October 9, 1973: Leonard Bernstein (55) gives the first of his lectures entitled The Unanswered Question as Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. Well into the talk, a bomb threat is received and the theatre has to be cleared.
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December 20, 1973: A wholly revised version of Candide, a comic operetta by Leonard Bernstein (55) to words of Wilbur, LaTouche, Sondheim, and the composer after Wheeler after Voltaire, is performed for the first time, in New York. See 29 October 1956.
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May 16, 1974: Leonard Bernstein’s (55) ballet Dybbuk to a choreography by Robbins is performed for the first time, in New York the composer conducting.
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August 16, 1974: An orchestral suite from Leonard Bernstein’s (55) ballet Dybbuk is performed for the first time, in Auckland, New Zealand under the baton of the composer. See 16 May 1974.
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April 3, 1975: Dybbuk Suite no.1 for tenor, bass-baritone, and orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (56) to words of various Jewish texts, is performed for the first time, in Avery Fisher Hall, New York conducted by the composer.
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April 17, 1975: Dybbuk Suite no.2 for orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (56) is performed for the first time, in Avery Fisher Hall, New York conducted by the composer.
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November 23, 1975: By Bernstein, a revue consisting of unpublished theatre songs by Leonard Bernstein (57), is performed for the first time, in New York.
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January 11, 1976: The first of Leonard Bernstein’s (57) Charles Eliot Norton Lectures is broadcast over Public Broadcasting in the United States. The six lectures are shown one per week until 22 February.
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February 24, 1976: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a musical by Leonard Bernstein (57) to words of Lerner, is performed for the first time, in the Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia. See 8 May 1976.
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April 1, 1976: Concerto for violin and orchestra no.3 by David Diamond (60) is performed for the first time, in New York, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (57).
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May 4, 1976: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a musical by Leonard Bernstein (57) to words of Lerner, is performed for the first time in New York at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. It is a popular and critical disaster. See 24 February 1976.
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May 15, 1976: An episode of the PBS series “Great Performances”, featuring Leonard Bernstein (57) and the New York Philharmonic, wins an Emmy Award for Outstanding Classical Music Program.
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October 28, 1976: On her way to school, Nina Bernstein reads about her parents in the following headline in the New York Daily News : “Bernstein (58) and wife split!” It is the first she has heard of it.
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January 19, 1977: Leonard Bernstein (58) conducts an inaugural concert for Jimmy Carter at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
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April 9, 1977: A suite from the musical Candide by Leonard Bernstein (58) for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra, is performed for the first time, in Frederic Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv.
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October 11, 1977: Several works by Leonard Bernstein (59) are performed for the first time, at the Kennedy Center in Washington: Three Meditations from Mass for cello and orchestra, Songfest for six solo voices and orchestra to various poets, both conducted by the composer, and the overture Slava!
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December 6, 1977: Concerto for clarinet and orchestra by John Corigliano (39) is performed for the first time, in Avery Fisher Hall, New York conducted by Leonard Bernstein (59).
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April 1, 1978: Two parts of Leonard Bernstein’s (59) orchestral work CBS Music are performed for the first time, over the airwaves of CBS television. The work was commissioned by the network for its 50th anniversary.
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June 16, 1978: Felicia Montealegre, wife of Leonard Bernstein (59), dies of lung cancer at their home in East Hampton, Long Island.
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April 6, 1979: Two songs for voice and piano by Leonard Bernstein (60) are performed for the first time, in Buffalo as part of the musical Mad Woman of Central Park West : My New Friends to words of the composer, and Up! Up! Up! to words of Comden and Green.
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June 9, 1979: Aureole for orchestra by Jacob Druckman (50) is performed for the first time, in Avery Fisher Hall, New York conducted by the commissioner and dedicatee, Leonard Bernstein (60).
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August 27, 1979: Piccola serenata, a vocalise for voice and piano by Leonard Bernstein (61), is performed for the first time, in Salzburg.
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September 16, 1979: On her 92nd birthday, Nadia Boulanger is visited by Leonard Bernstein (61) in her sick room at Fontainebleau.
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September 25, 1980: Divertimento for orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (62) is performed for the first time, in Symphony Hall, Boston.
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October 11, 1980: A Musical Toast for orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (62) is performed for the first time, in Avery Fisher Hall, New York.
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December 7, 1980: Leonard Bernstein (62) receives the Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime of Contributions to American Culture through the Performing Arts.
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May 27, 1981: Leonard Bernstein’s (62) nocturne Halil for flute, strings, and percussion is performed for the first time, in Jerusalem the composer conducting.
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May 28, 1981: Touches for piano by Leonard Bernstein (62) is performed for the first time, as part of the Sixth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas.
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September 23, 1981: Olympic Hymn for chorus and orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (63) to words of Kunert is performed for the first time, in Baden-Baden for the International Olympic Congress.
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June 17, 1983: A Quiet Place, an opera by Leonard Bernstein (64) to words of Wadsworth, is performed for the first time, in Houston. Most of the critics are dismissive.
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August 25, 1983: Today is designated Leonard Bernstein Day in his birthplace, Lawrence, Massachusetts, on his 65th birthday. It features a parade, a concert, and the dedication of the Leonard Bernstein Outdoor Theatre in Heritage State Park. By Bernstein’s wish, the day is dedicated to nuclear disarmament.
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November 17, 1985: Symphony no.9 by David Diamond (70) is performed for the first time, in New York, Leonard Bernstein (67) conducting.
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May 6, 1986: Leonard Bernstein (67) conducts a nationally televised concert of his own works at the Barbican Center in London as part of a two-week celebration of his music in Britain. Queen Elizabeth II is in attendance along with other royals. The concert is a smashing success.
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September 13, 1986: Jubilee Games, a concerto for orchestra and electronic playback by Leonard Bernstein (68) is performed for the first time, in Avery Fisher Hall, New York. It is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
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December 15, 1986: Opening Prayer for baritone and orchestra by Leonard Bernstein (68) to words from the Bible is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York directed by the composer. It is to celebrate the reopening of Carnegie Hall after renovations.
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August 9, 1987: Leonard Bernstein (68) is presented with the Edward MacDowell Medal in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The speech is delivered by Ned Rorem (63).
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September 12, 1987: The winner of an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement - Classical Music/Dance Programming is “Carnegie Hall: The Grand Reopening” featuring Leonard Bernstein (69).
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April 21, 1988: Missa brevis for countertenor, chorus, and percussion by Leonard Bernstein (69) is performed for the first time, in Atlanta.
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May 9, 1988: Arias and Barcarolles for four vocalists and piano four-hands by Leonard Bernstein (69), to words of Jennie Bernstein, Segal, and the composer, is performed for the first time, in the Equitable Center Auditorium, New York. The composer is one of the pianists. See 22 April 1989.
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May 11, 1988: My Twelve-tone Melody for voice and piano by Leonard Bernstein (69) to his own words is performed for the first time, by the composer in Carnegie Hall, New York on the occasion of the 100th birthday of Irving Berlin.
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August 26, 1988: Three Chinese Love Songs for voice, viola, and piano by Bright Sheng (32) is performed for the first time, at Tanglewood, Lenox, Massachusetts in celebration of the 70th birthday of Leonard Bernstein. Also premiered is Lenny B. a song for voice, violin, and piano by David Del Tredici (51) to words of Conarroe. The composer plays piano.
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August 28, 1988: A Bernstein Birthday Bouquet: Eight Variations on a Theme by Leonard Bernstein for orchestra, variations on New York, New York for the 70th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, is performed for the first time, at Tanglewood. The variations are by Luciano Berio (62), Leon Kirchner (69), Jacob Druckman (60), Lukas Foss (66), John Corigliano (50), John Williams, Toru Takemitsu (57), and William Schuman (78).
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April 28, 1989: Arias and Barcarolles for soprano, baritone, strings, and percussion by Leonard Bernstein (70), to words of Jennie Bernstein, Segal, and the composer, is performed for the first time, at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. See 9 May 1988.
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September 22, 1989: Arias and Barcarolles for soprano, baritone, and piano four-hands by Leonard Bernstein (71), to words of Jennie Bernstein, Segal, and the composer, orchestrated by Bright Sheng (33), is performed for the first time, at Tilles Center, Long Island University.
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November 15, 1989: Leonard Bernstein (71) refuses the National Medal of Arts awarded by President George Bush to protest the revocation of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for an exhibit of AIDS related art.
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November 29, 1989: Guitar Concerto by Lukas Foss (67) is performed for the first time, in Avery Fisher Hall, New York conducted by Leonard Bernstein (71).
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December 23, 1989: Leonard Bernstein (71) leads Beethoven’s (†162) Symphony no.9 in the Kaiser Wilhelm Kirche, West Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. The performance is timed to end at midnight, when West Germans no longer need visas to enter East Germany.
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December 25, 1989: 10:30 Leonard Bernstein (71) leads Beethoven’s (†162) Symphony no.9 in the Schauspielhaus, East Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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January 14, 1990: Dance Suite for brass quintet by Leonard Bernstein (71) is performed for the first time in the Metropolitan Opera House, New York.
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August 19, 1990: Today is the last time Leonard Bernstein (71) conducts at Tanglewood.
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October 9, 1990: Leonard Bernstein (72) announces his retirement from performing due to medical problems.
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October 14, 1990: 18:15 Leonard Bernstein dies of heart failure from emphysema and lung inflammation, at his home at 1 West 72nd Street in New York City, USA, aged 72 years, one month, and 19 days.
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October 16, 1990: A funeral in memory of Leonard Bernstein takes place in his apartment in the Dakota on Central Park West. A procession with police escort takes his mortal remains to Green Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn where they are laid to rest. Along the route, ordinary New Yorkers stop, some waving and calling out “Good by, Lenny!”
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August 25, 1993: New York Mayor David Dinkins names the corner of 65th Street and Broadway “Leonard Bernstein (†2) Place” on the 75th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
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October 8, 1993: The plaza in front of the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv is named “Leonard Bernstein (†2) Square.”
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October 26, 1993: Two works for voice and keyboard by Leonard Bernstein (†2) are performed for the first time, in Alice Tully Hall, New York: Psalm 148 and Vayomer Elohim.
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July 28, 1994: The American Civil Liberties Union releases to the press over 600 pages of documents it received from the FBI, under the Freedom of Information Act, on Leonard Bernstein (†3). They detail the surveillance done by the FBI on Bernstein from the 1940s through the 1970s.
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October 16, 1995: Mayor Jean Tibéri of Paris names Place Leonard Bernstein (†5) in the 12th arrondissement near the American Center.
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July 2, 1997: Variations on an Octatonic Scale for recorder and cello by Leonard Bernstein (†6) is performed for the first time, in St. Erin’s Church, Port Erin, Isle of Man.
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April 25, 2003: A suite of music from Leonard Bernstein’s (†12) musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue arranged by Sid Ramin and Charlie Harmon is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York.