Leonard Bernstein, who was born on August 25, 1918, was “the greatest pianist among the conductors, the greatest conductor among composers, the greatest composer among pianists,” Arthur Rubinstein (one of the greatest pianists among pianists) once said, which sounds like a backhanded compliment until Rubinstein added “He is a universal genius.” The breadth of his talents was extraordinary, his achievements wide-ranging: Director of the New York City Symphony from the age of 27, a beloved teacher of classical music to children on TV, he recorded more than 800 albums.
Bernstein, who would have celebrated his centennial today (he died in 1990 at the age of 72), was also one of the greatest figures in Broadway musical theater.
If he was not as prolific nor as focused on theater as many of the other greats, his achievements went beyond just the musical for which he’s best known, West Side Story.
On The Town
All In One
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (which ran seven performances on Broadway)