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11 of the Best Leonard Bernstein Performances

Leonard Bernstein, an accomplished composer, conductor, and player, passed away over 30 years ago, but his legacy lives on. Among his celebrated works are Jeremiah, The West Side Story, and Kaddish, which have been performed by numerous orchestras worldwide and earned him a place in the International Music Hall of Fame. Even if you're not a classical music enthusiast, you'll love these 11 pieces that showcase Bernstein's talent. Get ready to be enchanted by the beautiful classical music played and conducted by one of the most esteemed composers of the 20th century.

The Eastman School Symphony Choir's rendition of Jeremiah

In 1942, Bernstein composed a symphony inspired by the book of Lamentations and the prophet Jeremiah, which was able to connect with many people by combining readings from the scroll with gentle and sweeping playing. This piece brought Bernstein fame and recognition.

Jerusalem Philharmonic: The Age of Anxiety

Interestingly, some parts of the symphony were composed in Israel during the late 1940s, and although it won awards and success, Bernstein was not completely satisfied with the final part. Therefore, in 1965, he rewrote the last part of the work and added a piano solo, followed by the entire orchestra for a grand finale.

Musical: Trouble in Tahiti

Leonard Bernstein's musical is a delightful blend of pop music and drama, showcasing his characteristic ironic and sincere style. The piece, composed and written by Bernstein himself, features only two characters on stage, who use poetry to depict the challenges of marriage.

Israeli Philharmonic: The West Side Story

The Israeli Philharmonic has performed this piece, as well as the American La Jolla Orchestra and Choir, and it has even made its way to Japan. You can watch a performance of the piece, originally composed for the movie "Suburban Story", which demonstrates a perfect synergy between Bernstein and the orchestra.

La Jolla Orchestra and Choir's rendition of Bernstein's Kaddish. 

Bernstein's composition, the Chichester Psalms symphony, includes the Jewish prayer Kaddish, which is a tribute to the departed. The composer also wrote sections of the piece as a dedication to the late US President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963. The orchestra and choir present a moving and respectful performance of this beautiful work.

Poznań Orchestra: Chichester Psalms

Watch the performance conducted by Bernstein with the Poznań Orchestra by clicking on the link provided. The piece "Chichester Psalms" featuring an extraordinary young boy's voice and powerful words from the Psalms will leave you speechless.

Israel Philhamonic: Brahms's first Symphony

Bernstein's wonderful works and the fame he won did not prevent him from paying tribute to the great conductors and composers who preceded him. Watch the perfect performance of the first symphony of Johannes Brahms, under the precise and meticulous conducting of Bernstein.

Vienna Philharmonic: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

Bernstein did not forget to pay tribute to one of the greatest and most prominent composers of the classical and romantic period - Ludwig van Beethoven, when he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in its performance of his 9th and last symphony.

Boston Philharmonic: Mozart's 40th Symphony

The following performance is another Bernstein tribute, this time to one of the greatest classical composers of all time. Watch the following video featuring one of Mozart's most recognized and acclaimed works, his brilliant conducting demonstrating to every viewer and listener why Bernstein was such a highly regarded conductor.

The New York Philharmonic: Schubert's Fifth Symphony

The composition of the Fifth Symphony was completed by the Austrian composer Franz Schubert in 1819, when he was only 22 years old - and it is undoubtedly a work that is a pleasure for every ear. Listen to Bernstein's perfect conducting of this wonderful symphony.
Chopin's famous concerto, conducted by Bernstein
Not everyone can perform Frédéric Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 with such perfect precision... Listen to the following excerpt from 1958 in which Bernstein pays great respect to the great work of the Polish pianist and ably conducts the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
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