Franz Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer of the Classical period. He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio, his contributions to musical form have earned him the epithets "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet". Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family at their remote estate; until the part of his life, this isolated him from other composers and trends in music so that he was, as he put it, "forced to become original". Yet his music circulated and for much of his career he was the most celebrated composer in Europe, he was a friend and mentor of Mozart, a tutor of Beethoven, the older brother of composer Michael Haydn. Joseph Haydn was born in Rohrau, Austria, a village that at that time stood on the border with Hungary, his father was Mathias Haydn, a wheelwright who served as "Marktrichter", an office akin to village mayor. Haydn's mother Maria, née Koller, had worked as a cook in the palace of Count Harrach, the presiding aristocrat of Rohrau.
Neither parent could read music. According to Haydn's reminiscences, his childhood family was musical, sang together and with their neighbours. Haydn's parents had noticed that their son was musically gifted and knew that in Rohrau he would have no chance to obtain serious musical training, it was for this reason that, around the time Haydn turned six, they accepted a proposal from their relative Johann Matthias Frankh, the schoolmaster and choirmaster in Hainburg, that Haydn be apprenticed to Frankh in his home to train as a musician. Haydn therefore went off with Frankh to Hainburg and he never again lived with his parents. Life in the Frankh household was not easy for Haydn, who remembered being hungry and humiliated by the filthy state of his clothing, he began his musical training there, could soon play both harpsichord and violin. The people of Hainburg heard. There is reason to think that Haydn's singing impressed those who heard him, because in 1739 he was brought to the attention of Georg von Reutter, the director of music in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, who happened to be visiting Hainburg and was looking for new choirboys.
Haydn passed his audition with Reutter, after several months of further training moved to Vienna, where he worked for the next nine years as a chorister. Haydn lived in the Kapellhaus next to the cathedral, along with Reutter, Reutter's family, the other four choirboys, which after 1745 included his younger brother Michael; the choirboys were instructed in Latin and other school subjects as well as voice and keyboard. Reutter was of little help to Haydn in the areas of music theory and composition, giving him only two lessons in his entire time as chorister. However, since St. Stephen's was one of the leading musical centres in Europe, Haydn learned a great deal by serving as a professional musician there. Like Frankh before him, Reutter did not always bother to make sure; as he told his biographer Albert Christoph Dies, Haydn was motivated to sing well, in hopes of gaining more invitations to perform before aristocratic audiences—where the singers were served refreshments. By 1749, Haydn had matured physically to the point that he was no longer able to sing high choral parts.
Empress Maria Theresa herself complained to Reutter about his singing, calling it "crowing". One day, Haydn carried out a prank; this was enough for Reutter: Haydn was first caned summarily dismissed and sent into the streets. He had the good fortune to be taken in by a friend, Johann Michael Spangler, who shared his family's crowded garret room with Haydn for a few months. Haydn began his pursuit of a career as a freelance musician. Haydn struggled at first, working at many different jobs: as a music teacher, as a street serenader, in 1752, as valet–accompanist for the Italian composer Nicola Porpora, from whom he said he learned "the true fundamentals of composition", he was briefly in Count Friedrich Wilhelm von Haugwitz's employ, playing the organ in the Bohemian Chancellery chapel at the Judenplatz. While a chorister, Haydn had not received any systematic training in music composition; as a remedy, he worked his way through the counterpoint exercises in the text Gradus ad Parnassum by Johann Joseph Fux and studied the work of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whom he acknowledged as an important influence.
As his skills increased, Haydn began to acquire a public reputation, first as the composer of an opera, Der krumme Teufel, "The Limping Devil", written for the comic actor Johann Joseph Felix Kurz, whose stage name was "Bernardon". The work was premiered in 1753, but was soon closed down by the censors due to "offensive remarks". Haydn noticed without annoyance, that works he had given away were being published and sold in local music shops. Between 1754 and 1756 Haydn worked freelance for the court in Vienna, he was among several musicians who were paid for services as supplementary musicians at balls given for the imperial children during carnival season, as supplementary singers in the imperial chapel in Lent and Holy Week. With the increase in his reputation, Haydn obtained aristocratic patronage, crucial for the career of a composer in his day. Countess Thun, having seen one of Haydn's compositions, summoned him and engaged him as her singing an
César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck was a composer, pianist and music teacher who worked in Paris during his adult life. He was born in what is now Belgium, he gave his first concerts there in 1834 and studied in Paris from 1835, where his teachers included Anton Reicha. After a brief return to Belgium, a disastrous reception to an early oratorio Ruth, he moved to Paris, where he married and embarked on a career as teacher and organist, he gained a reputation as a formidable improviser, travelled in France to demonstrate new instruments built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. In 1858 he became organist at a position he retained for the rest of his life, he became professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872. His pupils included Vincent d'Indy, Ernest Chausson, Louis Vierne, Charles Tournemire, Guillaume Lekeu and Henri Duparc. After acquiring the professorship Franck wrote several pieces that have entered the standard classical repertoire, including symphonic and keyboard works. Franck was born in Liège part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nicolas-Joseph Franck, a bank clerk whose family came from the German-Belgian border, Marie-Catherine-Barbe Franck, from Germany.
Although young César-Auguste, as he was known in his early years, showed both drawing and musical skills, Nicolas-Joseph envisioned him as a young prodigy pianist-composer, after the manner of Franz Liszt or Sigismond Thalberg, who would bring fame and fortune to his family. His father entered Franck at the Royal Conservatory of Liège, studying solfège, piano and harmony with Joseph Daussoigne-Méhul and other faculty members. César-Auguste gave his first concerts in 1834, one before Leopold I of the newly formed Kingdom of Belgium. In 1835, his father resolved that the time had come for wider audiences, brought César-Auguste and his younger brother Joseph to Paris, to study privately: counterpoint with Anton Reicha and piano with Pierre Zimmerman. Both men were professors at the Paris Conservatoire; when Reicha died some ten months Nicolas-Joseph sought to enter both boys into the Conservatoire. However, the Conservatoire would not accept foreigners. In the interval, Nicolas-Joseph promoted concerts and recitals in Paris featuring one or both boys playing popular music of the period, to good reviews.
Young Franck and his brother entered the Conservatoire in October 1837, César-Auguste continuing his piano studies under Zimmerman and beginning composition with Aimé Leborn. He took the first prize in piano at the end of his first year and maintained that level of performance, his work in counterpoint was less spectacular, taking successively third and first prizes between 1838 and 1840. He added organ studies with François Benoist, which included both performance and improvisation, taking second prize in 1841, with the aim of competing for the Prix de Rome in composition in the following year. However, for reasons that are not explicit, he made a "voluntary" retirement from the Conservatoire on 22 April 1842, his withdrawal may have been at his father's behest. While César-Auguste was pursuing his academic studies, he was, at his father's demand teaching and giving concerts. "It was a hard life for him... and not made easier by the ill-tempered and vindictive behavior of his father...." Concerts performed by young Franck were at first received well, but Nicolas-Joseph's commercial promotion of his sons antagonized the Parisian musical journals and critics.
César-Auguste's technical abilities as a pianist were acknowledged. The whole situation was aggravated by what in the end became a feud between Nicolas-Joseph and Henri Blanchard, the principal critic of the Revue et Gazette musicale, who lost no opportunity to castigate the aggressive pretensions of the father and to mock the "imperial" names of the elder son; this animosity, "undoubtedly personal", may well have caused Nicolas-Joseph to decide that a return to Belgium was in order, in 1842 "a peremptory order" to young Franck compelled the latter to leave the Conservatoire and accompany him. The return to Belgium lasted less than two years. Profitable concerts did not arise; as far as Nicolas-Joseph was concerned, the excursion was a failure, he brought his son back into a regime of teaching and family concerts in Paris, which Laurence Davies characterizes as rigorous and low-paying. Yet there were long-term benefits for young Franck. For it was from this period, extending back into his last Conservatoire years and forward beyond his return to Paris, that his first mature compositions emerged, a set of Trios.
Liszt saw them, offered encouragement and constructive criticism, performed them some years in Weimar. In 1843, Franck began work on the oratorio Ruth, it was premiered in 1845 before Liszt and other musical notables, who gave moderate approval and constructive criticism. However, a public performance in early 1846 met with public indifference and crit
Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, the District of Columbia to its south and west. The state's largest city is Baltimore, its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, the Chesapeake Bay State, it is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary. Sixteen of Maryland's twenty-three counties border the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay estuary and its many tributaries, which combined total more than 4,000 miles of shoreline. Although one of the smallest states in the U. S. it features a variety of climates and topographical features that have earned it the moniker of America in Miniature. In a similar vein, Maryland's geography and history combines elements of the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions of the country. One of the original Thirteen Colonies of Great Britain, Maryland was founded by George Calvert, a Catholic convert who sought to provide a religious haven for Catholics persecuted in England.
In 1632, Charles I of England granted Calvert a colonial charter, naming the colony after his wife, Queen Mary. Unlike the Pilgrims and Puritans, who enforced religious conformity in their settlements, Calvert envisioned a colony where people of different religious sects would coexist under the principle of toleration. Accordingly, in 1649 the Maryland General Assembly passed an Act Concerning Religion, which enshrined this principle by penalizing anyone who "reproached" a fellow Marylander based on religious affiliation. Religious strife was common in the early years, Catholics remained a minority, albeit in greater numbers than in any other English colony. Maryland's early settlements and population centers clustered around rivers and other waterways that empty into the Chesapeake Bay, its economy was plantation-based, centered on the cultivation of tobacco. The need for cheap labor led to a rapid expansion of indentured servants, penal labor, African slaves. In 1760, Maryland's current boundaries took form following the settlement of a long-running border dispute with Pennsylvania.
Maryland was an active participant in the events leading up to the American Revolution, by 1776 its delegates signed the Declaration of Independence. Many of its citizens subsequently played key military roles in the war. In 1790, the state ceded land for the establishment of the U. S. capital of Washington, D. C. Although a slave state, Maryland remained in the Union during the U. S. Civil War, its strategic location giving it a significant role in the conflict. After the war, Maryland took part in the Industrial Revolution, driven by its seaports, railroad networks, mass immigration from Europe. Since the Second World War, the state's population has grown to six million residents, it is among the most densely populated states in the nation; as of 2015, Maryland had the highest median household income of any state, owing in large part to its close proximity to Washington, D. C. and a diversified economy spanning manufacturing, higher education, biotechnology. Maryland has been ranked as one of the best governed states in the country.
The state's central role in American history is reflected by its hosting of some of the highest numbers of historic landmarks per capita. Maryland is comparable in overall area with Belgium, it is the 42nd largest and 9th smallest state and is closest in size to the state of Hawaii, the next smaller state. The next larger state, its neighbor West Virginia, is twice the size of Maryland. Maryland possesses a variety of topography within its borders, contributing to its nickname America in Miniature, it ranges from sandy dunes dotted with seagrass in the east, to low marshlands teeming with wildlife and large bald cypress near the Chesapeake Bay, to rolling hills of oak forests in the Piedmont Region, pine groves in the Maryland mountains to the west. Maryland is bounded on its north by Pennsylvania, on its west by West Virginia, on its east by Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean, on its south, across the Potomac River, by West Virginia and Virginia; the mid-portion of this border is interrupted by District of Columbia, which sits on land, part of Montgomery and Prince George's counties and including the town of Georgetown, Maryland.
This land was ceded to the United States Federal Government in 1790 to form the District of Columbia.. The Chesapeake Bay nearly bisects the state and the counties east of the bay are known collectively as the Eastern Shore. Most of the state's waterways are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, with the exceptions of a tiny portion of extreme western Garrett County, the eastern half of Worcester County, a small portion of the state's northeast corner. So prominent is the Chesapeake in Maryland's geography and economic life that there has been periodic agitation to change the state's official nickname to the "Bay State", a nickname, used by Massachusetts for decades; the highest point in Maryland, with an elevation of 3,360 feet, is Hoye Crest on Backbone Mountain, in the southwest corner of Garrett County, near the bo
Los Angeles the City of Los Angeles and known by its initials L. A. is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural and commercial center of Southern California; the city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity and the entertainment industry, its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America. Los Angeles is in a large basin bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and by mountains as high as 10,000 feet on the other; the city proper, which covers about 469 square miles, is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the country. Los Angeles is the principal city of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the second largest in the United States after that of New York City, with a population of 13.1 million. It is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach combined statistical area the nation's second most populous area with a 2015 estimated population of 18.7 million.
Los Angeles is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States, with a diverse economy in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. Los Angeles is famous as the home of Hollywood, a major center of the world entertainment industry. A global city, it has been ranked 6th in the Global Cities Index and 9th in the Global Economic Power Index; the Los Angeles metropolitan area has a gross metropolitan product of $1.044 trillion, making it the third-largest in the world, after the Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the event for a third time in 2028; the city hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1990 and 2006, was one of 9 American cities to host the 1994 FIFA men's soccer World Cup and one of 8 to host the 1999 FIFA women's soccer World Cup, hosting the final match for both tournaments. Home to the Chumash and Tongva, Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542 along with the rest of what would become Alta California.
The city was founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood; the discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, delivering water from Eastern California assured the city's continued rapid growth; the Los Angeles coastal area was settled by the Chumash tribes. A Gabrieleño settlement in the area was called iyáangẚ, meaning "poison oak place". Maritime explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire in 1542 while on an official military exploring expedition moving north along the Pacific coast from earlier colonizing bases of New Spain in Central and South America.
Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769. In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra directed the building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the first mission in the area. On September 4, 1781, a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores" founded the pueblo they called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles,'The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels'; the present-day city has the largest Roman Catholic Archdiocese in the United States. Two-thirds of the Mexican or settlers were mestizo or mulatto, a mixture of African and European ancestry; the settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820, the population had increased to about 650 residents. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles. New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico.
During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico made Los Angeles Alta California's regional capital. Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847. Railroads arrived with the completion of the transcontinental Southern Pacific line to Los Angeles in 1876 and the Santa Fe Railroad in 1885. Petroleum was discovered in the city and surrounding area in 1892, by 1923, the discoveries had helped California become the country's largest oil producer, accounting for about one-quarter of the world's petroleum output. By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000; the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, under the supervision of William Mulholland, assured the continued growth of the city. Due to clauses in the city's charter that prevented the City of Los Angeles from selling or providing water from the aqueduct to any area outside its borders, many adjacent city and communities became compelled to annex themselves into Los Angeles.
Los Angeles created the first municipal zoning ordinance in the United States. On September 14, 1908, the Los Angeles City Council promulgated residential and industrial land use zones; the new ordinance established three residential zones of a single type, where industrial uses were
An honorary degree is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, a dissertation, the passing of comprehensive examinations. It is known by the Latin phrases honoris causa or ad honorem; the degree is a doctorate or, less a master's degree, may be awarded to someone who has no prior connection with the academic institution or no previous postsecondary education. An example of identifying a recipient of this award is as follows: Doctorate in Business Administration; the degree is conferred as a way of honouring a distinguished visitor's contributions to a specific field or to society in general. It is sometimes recommended that such degrees be listed in one's curriculum vitae as an award, not in the education section. With regard to the use of this honorific, the policies of institutions of higher education ask that recipients "refrain from adopting the misleading title" and that a recipient of an honorary doctorate should restrict the use of the title "Dr" before their name to any engagement with the institution of higher education in question and not within the broader community.
Rev. Theodore Hesburgh held the record for most honorary degrees, having been awarded 150 during his lifetime; the practice dates back to the Middle Ages, when for various reasons a university might be persuaded, or otherwise see fit, to grant exemption from some or all of the usual statutory requirements for the awarding of a degree. The earliest honorary degree on record was awarded to Lionel Woodville in the late 1470s by the University of Oxford, he became Bishop of Salisbury. In the latter part of the 16th century, the granting of honorary degrees became quite common on the occasion of royal visits to Oxford or Cambridge. On the visit of James I to Oxford in 1605, for example, forty-three members of his retinue received the degree of Master of Arts, the Register of Convocation explicitly states that these were full degrees, carrying the usual privileges. Honorary degrees are awarded at regular graduation ceremonies, at which the recipients are invited to make a speech of acceptance before the assembled faculty and graduates – an event which forms the highlight of the ceremony.
Universities nominate several persons each year for honorary degrees. Those who are nominated are not told until a formal approval and invitation are made; the term honorary degree is a slight misnomer: honoris causa degrees are not considered of the same standing as substantive degrees earned by the standard academic processes of courses and original research, except where the recipient has demonstrated an appropriate level of academic scholarship that would ordinarily qualify him or her for the award of a substantive degree. Recipients of honorary degrees wear the same academic dress as recipients of substantive degrees, although there are a few exceptions: honorary graduands at the University of Cambridge wear the appropriate full-dress gown but not the hood, those at the University of St Andrews wear a black cassock instead of the usual full-dress gown. An ad eundem or jure officii degree is sometimes considered honorary, although they are only conferred on an individual who has achieved a comparable qualification at another university or by attaining an office requiring the appropriate level of scholarship.
Under certain circumstances, a degree may be conferred on an individual for both the nature of the office they hold and the completion of a dissertation. The "dissertation et jure dignitatis" is considered to be a full academic degree. See below. Although higher doctorates such as DSc, DLitt, etc. are awarded honoris causa, in many countries it is possible formally to earn such a degree. This involves the submission of a portfolio of peer-refereed research undertaken over a number of years, which has made a substantial contribution to the academic field in question; the university will appoint a panel of examiners who will consider the case and prepare a report recommending whether or not the degree be awarded. The applicant must have some strong formal connection with the university in question, for example full-time academic staff, or graduates of several years' standing; some universities, seeking to differentiate between substantive and honorary doctorates, have a degree, used for these purposes, with the other higher doctorates reserved for formally examined academic scholarship.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has the authority to award degrees. These "Lambeth degrees" are sometimes, thought to be honorary. Between the two extremes of honoring celebrities and formally assessing a portfolio of research, some universities use honorary degrees to recognize achievements of intellectual rigor; some institutes of higher education do not confer honorary degrees as a matter of policy — see below. Some learned societies award honorary fellowships in the same way as
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in classical music, he remains one of the most recognised and influential of all composers, his best-known compositions include 9 symphonies. His career as a composer is conventionally divided into early and late periods. Beethoven was born in Bonn the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, he displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and composer and conductor Christian Gottlob Neefe. At the age of 21 he moved to Vienna, where he began studying composition with Joseph Haydn and gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist, he lived in Vienna until his death. By his late 20s his hearing began to deteriorate and by the last decade of his life he was completely deaf. In 1811 he continued to compose. Beethoven was the grandson of Ludwig van Beethoven, a musician from the town of Mechelen in the Austrian Duchy of Brabant who had moved to Bonn at the age of 21.
Ludwig was employed as a bass singer at the court of the Elector of Cologne rising to become, in 1761, Kapellmeister and thereafter the pre-eminent musician in Bonn. The portrait he commissioned of himself towards the end of his life remained displayed in his grandson's rooms as a talisman of his musical heritage. Ludwig had one son, who worked as a tenor in the same musical establishment and gave keyboard and violin lessons to supplement his income. Johann married Maria Magdalena Keverich in 1767. Beethoven was born of this marriage in Bonn. There is no authentic record of the date of his birth; as children of that era were traditionally baptised the day after birth in the Catholic Rhine country, it is known that Beethoven's family and his teacher Johann Albrechtsberger celebrated his birthday on 16 December, most scholars accept 16 December 1770 as his date of birth. Of the seven children born to Johann van Beethoven, only Ludwig, the second-born, two younger brothers survived infancy. Kaspar Anton Karl was born on 8 April 1774, Nikolaus Johann, the youngest, was born on 2 October 1776.
Beethoven's first music teacher was his father. He had other local teachers: the court organist Gilles van den Eeden, Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer, Franz Rovantini. From the outset his tuition regime, which began in his fifth year, was harsh and intensive reducing him to tears, his musical talent was obvious at a young age. Johann, aware of Leopold Mozart's successes in this area, attempted to promote his son as a child prodigy, claiming that Beethoven was six on the posters for his first public performance in March 1778; some time after 1779, Beethoven began his studies with his most important teacher in Bonn, Christian Gottlob Neefe, appointed the Court's Organist in that year. Neefe taught him composition, by March 1783 had helped him write his first published composition: a set of keyboard variations. Beethoven soon began working with Neefe as assistant organist, at first unpaid, as a paid employee of the court chapel conducted by the Kapellmeister Andrea Luchesi, his first three piano sonatas, named "Kurfürst" for their dedication to the Elector Maximilian Friedrich, were published in 1783.
Maximilian Frederick noticed his talent early, subsidised and encouraged the young man's musical studies. Maximilian Frederick's successor as the Elector of Bonn was Maximilian Francis, the youngest son of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, he brought notable changes to Bonn. Echoing changes made in Vienna by his brother Joseph, he introduced reforms based on Enlightenment philosophy, with increased support for education and the arts; the teenage Beethoven was certainly influenced by these changes. He may have been influenced at this time by ideas prominent in freemasonry, as Neefe and others around Beethoven were members of the local chapter of the Order of the Illuminati. In December 1786, Beethoven travelled to Vienna, at his employer's expense, for the first time in the hope of studying with Mozart; the details of their relationship are uncertain, including whether they met. Having learned that his mother was ill, Beethoven returned to Bonn in May 1787, his mother died shortly thereafter, his father lapsed deeper into alcoholism.
As a result, he became responsible for the care of his two younger brothers, spent the next five years in Bonn. He was introduced in these years to several people. Franz Wegeler, a young medical student, intro
Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, author, music lecturer, pianist. He was among the first conductors educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. According to music critic Donal Henahan, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, from his music for West Side Story, Peter Pan, Wonderful Town, On the Town, On the Waterfront, his Mass, a range of other compositions, including three symphonies and many shorter chamber and solo works. Bernstein was the first conductor to give a series of television lectures on classical music, starting in 1954 and continuing until his death, he was a skilled pianist conducting piano concertos from the keyboard. He was a critical figure in the modern revival of the music of Gustav Mahler, the composer he was most passionately interested in.
As a composer he wrote in many styles encompassing symphonic and orchestral music, ballet and theatre music, choral works, chamber music and pieces for the piano. Many of his works are performed around the world, although none has matched the tremendous popular and critical success of West Side Story, he was born Louis Bernstein in Lawrence, the son of Ukrainian Jewish parents Jennie and Samuel Joseph Bernstein, a hairdressing supplies wholesaler originating from Rivne. His family spent their summers at their vacation home in Massachusetts, his grandmother insisted that his first name be Louis, but his parents always called him Leonard, which they preferred. He changed his name to Leonard when he was fifteen, shortly after his grandmother's death. To his friends and many others he was known as "Lenny", his father, Sam Bernstein, was a businessman and owner of a hair product store in downtown Lawrence on the corners of Amesbury and Essex Streets. Sam opposed young Leonard's interest in music. Despite this, the elder Bernstein took him to orchestral concerts in his teenage years and supported his music education.
At a young age, Bernstein listened to a piano performance and was captivated. Bernstein attended Boston Latin School; as a child, he was close to his younger sister Shirley, would play entire operas or Beethoven symphonies with her at the piano. He had a variety of piano teachers in his youth, including Helen Coates, who became his secretary. After graduation from Boston Latin School in 1935, Bernstein attended Harvard University, where he studied music with, among others, Edward Burlingame Hill and Walter Piston. Although he majored in music with a final year thesis entitled "The Absorption of Race Elements into American Music", Bernstein's main intellectual influence at Harvard was the aesthetics Professor David Prall, whose multidisciplinary outlook on the arts Bernstein shared for the rest of his life. One of his friends at Harvard was philosopher Donald Davidson. Bernstein wrote and conducted the musical score for the production Davidson mounted of Aristophanes' play The Birds in the original Greek.
Bernstein reused some of this music in the ballet Fancy Free. During his time at Harvard he was an accompanist for the Harvard Glee Club. Bernstein mounted a student production of The Cradle Will Rock, directing its action from the piano as the composer Marc Blitzstein had done at the premiere. Blitzstein, who heard about the production, subsequently became a influence on Bernstein. Bernstein met the conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos at the time. Although he never taught Bernstein, Mitropoulos's charisma and power as a musician were a major influence on Bernstein's eventual decision to take up conducting. Mitropoulos was not stylistically that similar to Bernstein, but he influenced some of Bernstein's habits such as his conducting from the keyboard, his initial practice of conducting without a baton and his interest in Mahler; the other important influence that Bernstein first met during his Harvard years was composer Aaron Copland, whom he met at a concert and at a party afterwards on Copland's birthday in 1938.
At the party Bernstein played Copland's Piano Variations, a thorny work Bernstein loved without knowing anything about its composer until that evening. Although he was not formally Copland's student as such, Bernstein would seek advice from Copland in the following years about his own compositions and would cite him as "his only real composition teacher". After completing his studies at Harvard in 1939, he enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. During his time at Curtis, Bernstein studied conducting with Fritz Reiner, piano with Isabelle Vengerova, orchestration with Randall Thompson, counterpoint with Richard Stöhr, score reading with Renée Longy Miquelle. Unlike his years at Harvard, Bernstein appears not to have enjoyed the formal training environment of Curtis, although in his life he would mention Reiner when discussing important mentors. After he left Curtis, Bernstein lived in New York, he shared an apartment with his friend Adolph Green and accompanied Green, Betty Comden, Judy Holliday in a comedy trou