|born on||25 August 1918 at 13:00 (= 1:00 PM )|
|Place||Lawrence, Massachusetts, 42n42, 71w10|
|Timezone||EWT h4w (is war time)|
|Astrology data||01°40' 20°30 Asc. 21°44'|
American musician, a pianist, conductor and composer of symphonies, ballets, musical comedies, chamber music and film scores; a fabulous talent. After ten years and 943 concerts, he retired from the New York Philharmonic in May 1969 to devote time to composition. He has been a celebrity since 11/14/1943 when, as a 25-year-old assistant conductor, he was called on without rehearsal to substitute for the ailing Bruno Walter on a few hours notice and to lead the New York Philharmonic in a national broadcast.
An exuberant personality with a tumultuous career, he has composed hit Broadway musicals, including "West Side Story" as well as about a dozen classical works. A versatile and impassioned musician, he won many awards, Grammy's, Emmys and a Tony. Flamboyant and exhibitionist, he was on center-stage at all times. Before him, there were no American conductors of world-class stature, but he rose to prominence just as TV and the LP records were becoming mass media and he reached an enormous audience.
Bernstein was a man whose conflicts and motivations were as extraordinary as his undeniable talents. He began playing piano at ten and could have been a concert pianist, had he chose. He could read through the most difficult orchestral score for the first time as though he had studied it for years. His musical memory was awesome.
He was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. His father, Samuel, a Hasidic Jew, was in the beauty supply business, a domineering man who depreciated his son's talent. Throughout his life, Bernstein showed a pattern of rebelling against authority figures at the same time that he followed their example. He fought against his difficult and demanding father, but he loved him and learned a great deal from him. His parents did not get along and his mother pampered him in every way she could. At Harvard, though he cut classes and did less than he could to apply himself, he graduated with honors at the age of 20, He became the most gifted pupil of the great Fritz Reiner at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.
When he moved to New York in 1942, Bernstein had a difficult time finding work until he found a job transcribing music. Within two years he published his first symphony, wrote a successful ballet, "Fancy Free," had a hit Broadway show, "On the Town," and made his now legendary conducting debut in Carnegie Hall.
After being a rampant homosexual in the '40s, he married Chilean actress Felicia Montealegre in 1951 and raised a family, son Alexander, a teacher, and two daughters, Jaime Thomas, a rock musician, and Nina Bernstein, an actress. During his domestic period he was artistically fruitful, composing an opera, a violin concerto, the film score for "On the Waterfront," plus "Wonderful Town," "Candide" and "West Side Story."
In the late '60s, Bernstein had a period of dissatisfaction. His compositions were not as commercially successful as he wanted and he was weary of a mostly heterosexual lifestyle. After his resignation from the New York Philharmonic, he wandered Europe, writing odd post modernistic works and sampling a series of young men as lovers. He did return to Felicia but when she died in 1978, he slipped into months of depression and guilt.
In the '80s the maestro returned to his podium, conquering London and Vienna.
At the age of 70, a typical schedule listed 63 conducting performances in 25 cities in ten countries between May to December. The past year had premiered two new compositions of which "Jubilee Games" celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he had long been associated.
Bernstein smoked several packs of cigarettes a day in spite of having a diagnosis of emphysema in his mid-20s, and drank large quantities of Scotch. He seemed to need little sleep. His last conducting appearance was at Tanglewood, MA on 8/19/1990. The maestro died of a heart attack brought on by complications from lung cancer and emphysema on 10/14/1990, at his apartment in Manhattan, NY.
- associate relationship with Davis, Ivan (born 4 February 1932). Notes: music partnership
- associate relationship with Dufallo, Richard (born 30 January 1933)
- associate relationship with Eisler, Hanns (born 6 July 1898)
- associate relationship with Nixon, Marni (born 22 February 1930)
- associate relationship with Sondheim, Stephen (born 22 March 1930)
- friend relationship with Rostropovich, Mstislav Leopoldovich (born 27 March 1927)
- lover relationship with Rorem, Ned (born 23 October 1923)
- spouse relationship with Montealegre Cohn, Felicia (born 6 February 1922)
- (has as) protégé relationship with Galloway, David (born 5 May 1937)
- (has as) worker relationship with Deak, Jon (born 27 April 1943)
- Death of Mate 1978 (Felicia Montalegre)
- Mental Health : Depressive episode 1978 (Period of depression after Felicia died)
A new biography by Burton in 1994 quotes a conversation with Bernstein's mom. She relates that her water broke about 3:00 AM, she was taken to the hospital and the baby was born around 1:00 in the afternoon; she remembered looking at the clock.
(Formerly, Marion March quotes Marwain Leipzig for a letter from Bernstein's secretary, "His birth data is vague, as he is not sure if it was before or after midnight of the 24th, he uses August 25." Tony Joseph quotes him for same information.)
At least 21 biographies about Bernstein include the following:
Joan Peyser, "Bernstein, A Biography," Morrow Publications 1987
Meryle Secrest, "Leonard Bernstein: A Life," 1995
Humphrey Burton, "Leonard Bernstein," Doubleday, 1994
- Traits : Mind : I.Q. high/ Mensa level (Mensa level; graduated with honors at 20)
- Traits : Personality : Charismatic
- Traits : Personality : Emotional (Exhuberant, impassioned)
- Traits : Personality : Hard worker
- Traits : Personality : Unique
- Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer (Lung, terminal)
- Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Emphysema
- Diagnoses : Psychological : Abuse - other addictions (Heavy smoker from his 20's)
- Family : Relationship : Mate - Noted (Felicia Montalegre)
- Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One)
- Family : Relationship : Stress - Extramarital affairs (With young men)
- Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Three)
- Lifestyle : Work : Same Job more than 10 yrs (With NY Philharmonic)
- Lifestyle : Financial : Gain - Financial success in field
- Lifestyle : Financial : Wealthy
- Passions : Sexuality : Bi-Sexual
- Passions : Sexuality : Extremes in quantity (Affairs with women and men)
- Vocation : Entertain/Music : Composer/ Arranger
- Vocation : Entertain/Music : Conductor
- Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (Piano)
- Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Music
- Notable : Awards : Emmy (Multiple)
- Notable : Awards : Grammy (Multiple)
- Notable : Awards : Tony (One)
- Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
- Notable : Book Collection : American Book