A Leonard Bernstein Timeline
- Born August 25 to Jennie (neé Charna Resnick) & Samuel Joseph (Shmuel Yosef) Bernstein, Lawrence, Massachusetts.
- October 23, birth of sister, Shirley Anne.
- First piano lessons, with Frieda Karp.
- June, graduated W. L. Garrison Grammar School, Roxbury, Mass. (1923?-1929)
- Admitted to Boston Latin School. Received Modern Prize, 1929-30 and Classics Prize in 1932 and 1933.
- Piano lessons with Susan Williams at the New England Conservatory of Music.
- Bar Mitzvah, Temple Mishkan Tefila, Boston, Mass.
- January 31, birth of brother Burton.
- March 30, participated in first piano recital at New England Conservatory, performing Brahm's Rhapsody in G Minor.
- October, began piano lessons with Helen G. Coates.
- Participated in student piano recital.
- May 14, first time as concerto pianist (Grieg's Piano Concerto, Mvt. I), Boston Public Schools Symphony Orchestra, Roxbury High School, T. Francis Burk, conductor.
- Summer, adapted, produced and sang the title role (!) in his version of Carmen, Sharon, Mass.
- Gave radio series: "AVOL Presents Leonard Bernstein," Station WBZ, Boston.
- Graduated Boston Latin School (1929-35)
- Entered Harvard.
- Piano study with Heinrich Gebhard.
- First radio piano recital, Boston.
- January, met Dimitri Mitropoulos
- July, first piano recital, Scituate Yacht Club, Mass.
- November 14, met Aaron Copland.
- First published writing on music in Modern Music magazine.
- June 12, his first public performance as composer pianist: Music for the Dance Nos. #1 & 2, Music for Two Pianos, with Mildred Spiegel at the studio of Heinrich Gebhard, Brookline, Mass.
- April 21, first appearance as conductor, for his own score to The Birds, at Harvard.
- May 27, directed from the piano, Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, Harvard.
- June 22, graduated Harvard, cum laude in musica. (1935-39).
- Music teachers: Edward A. Ballantine, elementary harmony; Edward B. Hill, orchestration; A. Tillman Merritt, harmony & counterpoint; Walter Piston, counterpoint & fugue.
- First television appearance (NBC) as piano accompanist for The Revuers, which included Betty Comden, Adolph Green & Judy Holiday.
- January, first solo recording as a pianist in David Diamond's Prelude & Fugue No. 3 in C# Major, New Music Recordings.
- March, first recording as accompanist for Revuers: The Girl With the Two Left Feet.
- July 19, spent first summer at BMC, Tanglewood, as a conducting student of Serge Koussevitzky. First appearance as symphonic conductor in Randall Thompson's Symphony No. 2, BMCO.
- Completed Sonata for Violin and Piano.
- May 3, received diploma in conducting from Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia (1939-41). Teachers: Fritz Reiner, conducting; Isabella Vengerova, piano; Randall Thompson, orchestration; Richard Stoehr, counterpoint; Renée Longy Miquelle, score reading.
- July 11, conducted Boston Pops Orchestra at Esplanade open air concert in Wagner's Prelude to Die Meistersinger, his first appearance with a professional orchestra.
- Transcription for piano of El Salón Mexico by Aaron Copland, Bernstein's first published work.
- April 21, premiere of Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Institute of Modern Art, Boston, David Glazer & Leonard Bernstein (hereinafter referred to as LB).
- Summer, worked as assistant to Serge Koussevitzky at Tanglewood
- Worked at Harms, Inc., New York publishers, using pseudonym of Lenny Amber.
- April, signed first contract with a music publisher, Harms/Witmark (MPHC).
- August 25, premiere of I Hate Music, Jennie Tourel & LB, Public Library, Lenox, Mass.
- August, invited by Artur Rodzinski to be Assistant Conductor of the Philharmonic Symphony Society of New York (popularly known as The New York Philharmonic [NYP]) .
- Fall, first recording of his own music, Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, David Oppenheim & LB, Hargail recordings.
- October 18, workshop readings of American compositions with NYP, Carnegie Hall (CH).
- November 14, debut with NYP, CH, substituting for Bruno Walter.
- December 16, substituted for Howard Barlow with NYP.
- January 28, premiere of Symphony No. 1: Jeremiah, PSO, LB, with Jennie Tourel.
- March 4, led first concert outside of US: Les Concerts Symphoniques de Montréal.
- April 18, conducted premiere of his and Jerome Robbins' ballet Fancy Free, Metropolitan Opera House (MOH).
- Spring, signed his first contract with a recording company: RCA-Victor.
- December 28, premiere of On the Town, Adelphi Theater, NYC.
- January 14, conducted premiere of Fancy Free Suite, PSO, Pittsburgh.
- May 11, premiere of Hashkiveinu, Park Avenue Synagogue, NYC.
- October 8, began three year directorship of the NYCS.
- April 1, led premiere of Blitzstein's Airborne Symphony, NYCS.
- May 15, made his overseas debut with Czech Philharmonic, Prague.
- July, his first appearance as pianist-conductor with Philharmonia Orchestra of London playing Ravel's Piano Concerto in G.
- July 4, conducted European premiere of Fancy Free with Ballet Theatre at Royal Opera House, London.
- August 6, conducted American premiere of Britten's Peter Grimes, BMC.
- October 24, led premiere of his and Jerome Robbins' Facsimile, Ballet Theatre company, Broadway Theatre, NYC.
- April 27, Tel Aviv, gave first of nine concerts with Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra.
- January 30, led premiere of Shapero's Symphony for Classical Orchestra, BSO.
- Spring, his first European tour conducting orchestras in Munich, Milan, Budapest, Vienna, Scheveningen and Paris (radio).
- May 10, led orchestra of 17 Jewish displaced persons, Holocaust survivors from camps in Landsberg & Feldafing, Germany, in Bizet's L'Arlesienne Suite and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.
- October--November, led concerts of newly renamed Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Israel during the War of Independence.
- April 8, premiere of Symphony No. 2: ,The Age of Anxiety, Symphony Hall, BSO, Koussevitzky, conductor, LB as piano soloist.
- December 2, gave premiere of Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony, BSO.
- December 9, film premiere of On The Town (MGM), Radio City Music Hall.
- December 10, first television appearance as conductor with the BSO at UN Human Rights Day Concert, Carnegie Hall, NY
- April 24, premiere of Peter Pan (incidental music), Imperial Theater, NYC.
- January 8, began three-month U.S. tour with IPO, sharing the conducting with Koussevitzky, who died June 5, 1951.
- Appointed head of orchestra and conducting departments of BMC, (annually through 1955, except 1954).
- September 9, married Costa Rican born actress Felicia Montealegre-Cohn.
- September, appointed Professor of Music at Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass. (through 1955).
- June 12, led premiere of Trouble in Tahiti, Brandeis University, as part of the school's first Festival of the Creative Arts.
- June 14, led premiere of Blitzstein version of Weill's The Threepenny Opera, Brandeis.
- September 8, birth of daughter, Jamie Anne Maria.
- February 26, premiere of Wonderful Town, Winter Garden, NY.
- March 29, gave four premieres of Koussevitzky Foundation orchestral commissions, Town Hall, NYC.
- June 12, led second Festival of the Creative Arts at Brandeis University.
- June 13, led American premiere of Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias with Lemonade Opera Co., Brandeis.
- December, became first American to conduct at La Scala Opera House, Milan in Cherubini's Medea, with Maria Callas.
- July 29, premiere of On the Waterfront (Columbia Pictures) film score by LB, Astor Theater, NYC.
- September 12, premiere of Serenade, Isaac Stern, IPO, LB, conductor at Teatro La Fenice, Venice.
- November 14, wrote and performed his first Omnibus telecast, on the sketches of Movement 1 of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, with the Symphony of the Air.
- February 23, European premiere of Wonderful Town, Princes Theatre, London.
- July 7, birth of son, Alexander Serge Leonard.
- August 11, led premiere of Symphonic Suite from "On the Waterfront", BSO, Tanglewood.
- November 17, premiere of The Lark, incidental music by LB, New York Pro Musica, Noah Greenberg, conductor, Longacre Theater, NYC.
- March, premiere of German language version of Trouble In Tahiti, Cologne Opera, Germany.
- April 2, signed first long term contract with Columbia Records (later CBS Records).
October 15, designated as one of two Principal Conductors (the other being Dimitri Mitropoulos) of the NYP, for the 1957-58 season.
- November 9, premiere of Wonderful Town in German at the Volksoper, Vienna.
- December 1, premiere of Candide, Martin Beck Theater, NYC.
- January 26, led premiere of Overture to "Candide" (concert version), NYP, CH.
- September 26, premiere of West Side Story, Winter Garden, NYC.
- October 2, conducted opening of Frederic R. Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv, Israel, new home of the IPO.
- November 19, appointed as Music Director of NYP (the first American born and
- -trained conductor beginning the 1958-59 season).
- January 2, directed his first concert as co conductor of NYP.
- January 18, began first series of annual televised New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts on CBS TV, beginning with What Does Music Mean? YPCs continued until 1972, with 53 different programs led by LB.
- April-June, led NYP in 28 concerts on Latin American tour, shared with Dimitri Mitropoulos.
- September, commenced eleven year period as Music Director of NYP. Initiated NYP Thursday Evening Preview concerts.
- November 30, started new television series: "Lincoln Presents Leonard Bernstein and The New York Philharmonic," geared toward adults, beginning with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Continued until 1962, with 14 more programs.
- December 12, European premiere of West Side Story, Her Majesty's Theatre in the Haymarket, London
- February 20, Amberson Enterprises, Inc., LB's management company, was founded, with Helen G. Coates, Abraham Friedman, (LB's lawyer) and H. Gordon Freeman (LB's accountant), as directors.
- May 1, European premiere of Candide, London.
- August/October, NYP tour of 17 European and Near East countries, including three weeks in the USSR, conducting 36 of 50 concerts.
- November, publication of first book, The Joy of Music, Simon & Schuster, publisher.
- January, led concerts for NYP Mahler Centennial, shared with Bruno Walter and Dmitri Mitropoulos. NYP.
- August-September, NYP tour of the US, (including Hawaii), Vancouver and West Berlin, leading 34 concerts.
- January 19, premiered his Fanfare at Inaugural Gala for President John F. Kennedy.
- February 13, premiere of Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story", Lukas Foss, conductor in all Bernstein program, NYP.
- February, overseas premiere of West Side Story, in Israel, then on to Paris and Munich.
- April-May, first NYP tour of Japan, Alaska, Canada and southern USA.
- October 19, film premiere of West Side Story (United Artists), Rivoli Theater, NYC.
- February 28, birth of daughter, Nina Maria Felicia.
- September 23, led inaugural concert of NYP in Philharmonic Hall (later renamed Avery Fisher Hall), Lincoln Center, NYC.
- Autumn, publication of his second book, Leonard Bernstein's Young Peoples Concerts for Reading and Listening, Simon & Schuster.
- April 10, gave posthumous world premiere of Poulenc's Clarinet Sonata with Benny Goodman, Carnegie Hall.
- April 18, played Schumann's Piano Quintet with Juilliard String Quartet at Library of Congress.
- May 30, European premiere of On the Town, Prince of Wales Theatre, London.
- August-September, transcontinental tour of U.S. with NYP, conducting 17 concerts in 13 cities.
- November 24, led televised JFK memorial concert, Mahler's Symphony No. 2: Resurrection, with NYP, CBS Studios.
- December 10, led premiere of Symphony No. 3: Kaddish, IPO, Tel Aviv, with Hannah Rovina, narrator and Jennie Tourel, soloist.
- March 6, U. S. operatic debut at Metropolitan Opera House, NYC, conducting first of ten performances of Verdi's Falstaff, Franco Zeffirelli, director.
- December, West Side Story performed in Russian, Tallinn, USSR.
- March 30, led Jerome Robbins new choreography for Stravinsky's Les Noces, American Ballet Theater Co. at State Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC.
- July 15, led premiere of his Chichester Psalms, NYP.
- July 31, attended premiere of the original version (for treble and bass voices) of Chichester Psalms at Chichester Cathedral, England.
- March 14, debut at VSO, conducting Verdi's Falstaff, Luchino Visconti, director.
- November, publication of his third book, The Infinite Variety of Music, Simon & Schuster.
- July 9, conducted IPO on Mt. Scopus, Israel, after the Six-Day War, filmed as
- Journey to Jerusalem.
- August 10 & 12, Seiji Ozawa conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia in all-Bernstein programs, the first conductor other than LB to do this.
- September, NYP Centennial tour of Canada, nine cities.
- February 28, German-language premiere of West Side Story, Volksoper, Vienna.
- April 13, led first of five performances of Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, VSO, Otto Schenk, director.
- June 6, conducted members of NYP in Mahler's Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, at funeral of Robert Kennedy, St. Patrick's Cathedral, NYC.
- August-September, NYP tour of Israel and Europe.
- October, led celebrations for 125th anniversary season of NYP.
- April 30, death of Samuel J. Bernstein.
- May 17, led last concert as Music Director of NYP, after having conducted 939 concerts with the orchestra (831 as Music Director), more than any other conductor in its history. Gave 36 world premieres, 14 US premieres, 15 NYC premieres and led more than 40 works never before performed by the NYP. Received title of "Laureate Conductor".
- September, Schuyler Chapin appointed Executive Producer of Amberson Productions, an affiliate of Amberson Enterprises, Inc.
- January, led Cavalleria Rusticana at Metropolitan Opera, NYC.
- February, inaugurated Amberson film and video productions with Verdi's Requiem,
- St. Paul's Cathedral, London, followed by Beethoven's Birthday, A Celebration in Vienna (CBS) for Beethoven Bicentennial.
- May, led performances of Beethoven's Fidelio, Theater an der Wien & VSO.
- July, became Advisor to Tanglewood through 1974, with Seiji Ozawa and Gunther Schuller as co-directors.
- August-September tour of Japan and U.S. with NYP.
- January 19, signed first contract with Unitel for filming of Mahler and Brahms symphonies. Over the next 20 years, made nearly 200 music films, including cycles of Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann symphonies and works by Hadyn, Mozart, Shostakovich, Sibelius, et al. Unitel-Amberson Music Films.
- September 8, inaugurated the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C. , with premiere of Mass, A Theater Piece.
- December 15, conducted his 1000th concert with the NYP, a milestone never before achieved in the orchestra's history.
- January 24, Harry Kraut named Executive Vice President of Amberson Enterprises, Inc.
- February 14, death of Abe Friedman.
- March 28, premiere of Meditations I and II for Violoncello and Piano, Institute of International Education, NYC, Stephen Kates and LB.
- September, conducted Bizet's Carmen at Metropolitan Opera, NYC, and signed first contract with Polydor to record it.
- January 19, led Concert for Peace at National Cathedral, Washington, with members of NSO, in protest against President Nixon, on the eve of Nixon's second term in office.
- June 23, led concert with Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma (RAI) and choruses, at the Vatican, Rome, for the tenth anniversary of Paul VI's elevation to the Papacy.
- June 25, European premiere of Mass, Konzerthaus, Vienna, Yale University forces, John Mauceri, conductor.
- October 9, delivered first of six lectures entitled The Unanswered Question, as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University.
- December 20, premiere of reduced one act version of Candide, Chelsea Theater, BAM, Brooklyn.
- May 16, led premiere of his and Jerome Robbins' ballet Dybbuk, NYC Ballet, State Theater, NYC.
- July, conducted BSO & World Youth Orchestra at Tanglewood commemorating Koussevitzky's centennial.
- August 16, gave premiere of Dybbuk Variations with NYP in Auckland, New Zealand.
- April 3 & 17, American premieres of Dybbuk Suites Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, (new titles for Dybbuk Variations), NYP.
- February 17-22, festival of Bernstein's music at Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana.
- February, fourth book published, The Unanswered Question, Harvard University Press.
- May 4, premiere of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Mark Hellinger Theater, NYC.
- May-June, bicentennial tour, with all American music, Europe and the U.S., NYP.
- August 5, German-language premiere of Candide, Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna.
- January 19, conducted two excerpts from his Songfest at Inaugural Concert for President Jimmy Carter, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
- March-April, IPO presented a festival of Bernstein's music to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his first concerts with the orchestra.
- August, Austria's Carinthian Summer Festival presented first European festival of LB's music, with IPO.
- October 11, premieres of Songfest, Three Meditations from "Mass" for Violoncello and Orchestra and Slava!, (latter two with Mstislav Rostropovich as cellist and conductor, respectively), LB, conductor, NSO, Kennedy Center, Washington.
- January 29, conducted Fidelio, telecast to 18 countries from VSO.
- June 16, death of Felicia Montealegre Bernstein.
- August 25, Leonard Bernstein 60th Birthday Celebration Concert, NSO, Wolf Trap, Virginia. Telecast internationally.
- February 15, led Orquesta Filharmónica de la Ciudad de México, México City, in concert for state visit by President Carter to President Lopez de Portillo.
- June-July, 4th tour of Japan with NYP, including concerts for the first time in Korea.
- Fall, guest conducted various orchestras, including his one and only appearance with the Berlin Philharmonic in Mahler Symphony No. 9.
- January 17, premiere of Jerome Robbins revised version of Dybbuk (retitled Dybbuk Variations), New York City Ballet, NYC, Robert Irving, conductor.
- January 24, Fancy Free performed by New York City Ballet, first time by a company other than the American Ballet Theatre.
- September 25, premiere of Divertimento, BSO, SH, Seiji Ozawa, conductor.
- October 11, premiere of A Musical Toast, NYP, AVH, Zubin Mehta, conductor.
- November 14, conducted Lincoln Portrait, with Copland as narrator, on Copland's 80th birthday, NSO.
- December 7, received Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime of Contributions to American Culture through the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.
- February 16, German language version of Mass, at VSO, Maurice Peress, conductor.
- May 27, led premiere of Halil, with Jean Pierre Rampal, solo flute, IPO, Tel Aviv.
- June 12, conducted Kaddish, Halil and Three Meditations from "Mass" with the SCO honoring Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
- January-February, University Fellow at Indiana University. Directed workshops, with librettist Stephen Wadsworth, for their opera A Quiet Place.
- July-August, Artistic Director of the LAP Institute, giving master classes in conducting.
- Published his fifth book, Findings, Simon & Schuster.
- October 13, Opera House Version of Candide opened at New York City Opera, Lincoln Center.
- June 17, premiere of A Quiet Place (first version), Houston Grand Opera, John DeMain, conductor.
- August 25, Leonard Bernstein Day, Lawrence, Mass., for nuclear disarmament.
- December 31, spoke on anti nuclear and peace causes at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC.
- June 19, premiere of revised version of A Quiet Place at La Scala, John Mauceri, conductor opened at Kennedy Center on July 22.
- September 4-7, recorded West Side Story for DG with opera singers, including Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras and Tatiana Troyanos, NYC.
- September 13, 40th anniversary concert of Jeremiah Symphony with PSO.
- December 2, marriage of daughter, Jamie to David Evan Thomas.
- July-August, with European Community Youth Orchestra, toured in a "Journey for Peace" program (including Kaddish) to Athens, Hiroshima (40th anniversary), Budapest and Vienna. Shared conducting with Eiji Oue.
- September 26, opening of Bernstein: The Television Work at the Museum of Broadcasting, NYC.
- April 10, led and recorded, A Quiet Place at the VSO.
- April 29-May 11, Leonard Bernstein Festival given by the LSO at the Barbican Centre, including a concert conducted by LB in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II.
- September 13, led premiere of Jubilee Games with IPO, AVH, NYC.
- December 15, led premiere of Opening Prayer, NYP, CH.
- March 4, birth of granddaughter Francisca Ann Maria.
- March 8, German-language premiere of A Quiet Place, Bielefeld, Germany.
- April-May, workshop of musical adaptation (not completed) of Brecht play The Race to Urga by LB, Jerome Robbins, John Guare and Stephen Sondheim at Mitzi Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC.
- April 21, premiere: Missa Brevis, Atlanta Symphony Chorus, Robert Shaw, conductor.
- April 26, conducted first movement of Chichester Psalms with New York City Ballet Orchestra.
- May 9, premiere of Arias and Barcarolles, Equitable Center Auditorium, NYC.
- May 11, premiere of My Twelve Tone Melody sung by LB in honor of Irving Berlin's 100th Birthday, Carnegie Hall, NYC.
- May 17, premiere of Scottish Opera version of Candide, Glasgow, John Mauceri, conductor, Jonathan Miller and John Wells, directors.
- May 31, first performance of Jubilee Games, second version, with Frederic Mann, Auditorium, Tel Aviv, IPO.
- July 26-28, conducted three concerts in Moscow with SHMF Orchestra.
- August 25-28, LB 70th Birthday Celebration with international telecast, Tanglewood.
- November 14, led NYP in all Bernstein concert, marking the 45th anniversary of his debut with the NYP.
- February 27, death of Helen G. Coates.
- April 24, premiere 3rd version of Jubilee Games, retitled Concerto for Orchestra, IPO, Tel Aviv.
- June 6, led Boston Pops for 50th Anniversary of Harvard Univ. 1939 graduating class.
- July 21, last concert with SHMF Orchestra, Neumunster, Germany.
- September 1, Warsaw, concert commemorating outbreak of World War II.
- October 14, birth of grandson, Evan Samuel Thomas.
- October 19-31, last concerts with NYP.
- November 15, refused National Medal of Arts from President George Bush as a protest against revoked NEA grant in connection with a NYC exhibit of AIDS related art.
- December, presented and conducted Candide (final concert version), LSO, Barbican Centre, London. Subsequently recorded by DG.
- December, led Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the BRSO and members of the NYP, LSO, Orchestre de Paris and Leningrad Philharmonic. Berlin Freedom Concert celebrating opening of Berlin Wall, Schauspielhaus, East Berlin. Telecast worldwide.
- March 11, conducted VPO at Carnegie Hall. Last New York concert, as well as last appearance with VPO.
- April, led Mozart's Mass in C Minor, Waldsassen, Germany. Final concert with BRSO.
- June 2 & 3, conducted performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at Prague Festival, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Last European performance.
- August 14, conducted Copland's Symphony No. 3, BMCO.
- August 19, Koussevitzky Memorial concert: Britten's Three Sea Interludes, LB's Arias & Barcarolles (Carl St. Clair, conductor) and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, BSO, Tanglewood. His last concert.
- October 9, announced retirement from public performances because of failing health.
- October 14, the death of Leonard Bernstein, 6:15 p.m. at his home, 1 West 72nd Street, NYC. Cardiac arrest brought on by side-effects of treatment for mesothelioma.
- October 16, private funeral at LB home followed by interment at Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY.
- Three memorial events in NYC, organized by family & staff:
- November 14, "A Concert Remembering Lenny," Carnegie Hall.
- December 13, "Remembering Lenny," A Theater Tribute, Majestic Theater.
- December 31, "Remembering Leonard Bernstein," The 1990 New Year's Eve Concert for Peace, Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
- December 29, death of Jennie Bernstein.
- May 20, marriage of son, Alexander to Elizabeth Velazquez
- May 20, death of Shirley Bernstein.
- July 29, death of Jerome Robbins.