Era: 20th Century
Leonard Bernstein was a well-known American composer, conductor, pianist and advocate for music education. He grew up the son of Ukrainian, Jewish immigrant parents in Massachussetts. He attended Harvard University and spent the summers at Tanglewood (a famous music festival) learning to conduct. He was offered the position of Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic and rose to fame overnight when he stepped in and conducted a concert when the guest conductor fell ill. He wrote orchestral works, the opera Candide, and several musicals including West Side Story, On The Town, and Wonderful Town. He conducted and narrated the Young People's Concerts for the New York Philharmonic which were televised nationally. In addition to his musical contributions, he was an advocate for world peace and conducted a concert onsite in Berlin when the Berlin Wall was removed.