This Week In Music

Conductor, composer, pianist, and music educator Leonard Bernstein (August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was the first to surmount a barrier that had prevented conductors not trained in Europe from leading the world's foremost orchestras. A force in both classical and popular music, Bernstein, who was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, played piano from age 10, and was described by The New York Times as "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."

Bernstein was serving as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic in 1943 when conductor Bruno Walter was unable to appear. Bernstein went on without rehearsal and delivered an impressive concert. Bernstein's career took off with a role as conductor of the New York City Center Orchestra and appearances as a guest conductor in the United States and overseas. In 1953 he was the first American to conduct the La Scala Opera Orchestra in Milan. From 1958 to 1969 Bernstein was principal conductor and musical director of the New York Philharmonic—the first American to hold both posts. In 1989 Bernstein famously conducted performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on both sides of the Berlin Wall to celebrate its destruction.

Hal Leonard Leonard Bernstein Jazz Play-Along Volume 92 Book/CD In his compositions Bernstein combined elements drawn from biblical themes, jazz riffs, and pop influences. His best known works are On the Town (1944), Wonderful Town (1953), Candide (1956), and West Side Story (1957), which was made into a film in 1961. Bernstein's compositions included symphonies, music for ballet and opera, chamber music, choral works, and numerous other pieces.

Bernstein achieved wide popularity as a television commentator and music educator explaining classical music to young listeners. In 1954 he started giving television lectures on classical music that continued through his life. In 1982 Bernstein was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, a summer training academy modeled on Tanglewood in Massachusetts. In 1990 he and others founded the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, another effort devoted to the development of classical musicians. All during his career, Bernstein had been an influential instructor of conducting. At Tanglewood and other programs he was a mentor to many conductors still active today, and his television programs had a powerful influence on young musicians who watched them in the 1950s and '60s.

Bernstein was the recipient of numerous awards for his artistic and cultural endeavors. Among his honors, Bernstein won an American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal, a Peabody Medal, an Emmy, two Tony awards, the Kennedy Center Honors Award in 1980, an honorary life membership from the Vienna Philharmonic, and he was eventually awarded 16 Grammys for his recordings, some posthumously.


Charles G. Conn's patent—number 410072—for a metal clarinet was filed on May 23, 1889 and granted on August 27, 1889, when Conn was 45 years old.

Conn, a colorful figure and a Civil War veteran, received several patents for musical instruments during his lifetime and had numerous other interests including politics and newspaper publishing. He sold his musical instrument company in 1915 to investors who named the firm C. G. Conn, Ltd. These investors, under the leadership of Carl D. Greenleaf, helped the instrument company become a powerhouse in band and orchestra instruments through technology developed in their experimental laboratory and programs designed to encourage school bands and band directors.


Week of August 15, 2011
Event: The New York Times Reports that Dolby had Developed a Noise Reduction System for Album and Tape Recording

Birthday: Marc O'Connor, August 15, 1961

Week of August 08, 2011
Event: 14-Year-Old Benny Goodman Works as a Clarinet Player on a Lake Michigan Excursion Boat

Birthday: Pat Metheny, August 12, 1954

Week of August 01, 2011
Event: The Army of France Adds Saxophonesto its Military Bands

Birthday: Tony Bennett, August 3, 1926

Week of July 18, 2011
Event: First Newport Jazz Festival

Birthday: Carl Fontana Born July 18, 1928

Week of July 11, 2011
Event: "His Masters Voice" Trademark Registered

Birthday: Bélla Fleck Born July 10, 1958

Week of July 5, 2011
Event: Benny Goodman and His Band Record "Sing, Sing, Sing"

Birthday: Pinetop Perkins Born July 7, 1913

Week of June 27, 2011
Event: Cab Calloway and His Orchestra Record "St. James Infirmary""

Birthday: Pete Fountain Born July 3, 1930

Week of June 20, 2011
Event: 19 Year-Old Arturo Toscanini Conducts the Rio de Janeiro Orchestra in a Performance of "Aida"

Birthday: Lalo Schifrin Born June 21, 1932

Week of June 13, 2011
Event: New York Jazz Museum Opens

Birthday: Marcus Miller Born June 14, 1959

Week of June 06, 2011
Event: Jelly Roll Morton Records "Jelly Roll Blues" As a Piano Solo

Birthday: Bill Watrous Born June 08, 1939

Week of May 30, 2011
Event: 1962 Bandleader Benny Goodman Leads The First American Jazz Band to Play In The Soviet Union

Birthday: Benny Goodman Born May 30, 1909

Week of May 23, 2011
Event: "In a Precursor to Outdoor Rock Festivals, Ray Charles and B.B. King Perform For 9,000 Fans in Atlanta

Birthday: Miles Davis Born May 26, 1926

Week of May 16, 2011
Event: "When The Saints Go Marching In" Recorded by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra

Birthday: Woody Herman Born May 16, 1913

Week of May 2, 2011
Event: New York's Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center Announces Addition of Rock, Pop, and Jazz Concerts

Birthday: Maynard Ferguson Born May 4, 1928

Week of April 25, 2011
Event: At Decca Studios Charlie Parker Made His First Commercial Recording April 30, 1941

Birthday: Duke Ellington Born April 29, 1899

Week of April 18, 2011
Event: Pipeless Organ Patented by Laurens Hammond April 24, 1934

Birthday: Tito Puente Born April 20, 1923

Week of April 4, 2011
Event: Herp Alpert Born April 4, 1939

Birthday: Freddie Hubbard Born April 7, 1938

Week of March 28, 2011
Birthday: Michael Brecker Born March 29, 1949

Birthday: Herp Alpert Born March 31, 1935

Week of March 14, 2011
Event: Joseph Haydn's Surprise Symphony Is Performed for the First Time March 23, 1792

Birthday: Johann Sebastian Bach Born March 21, 1685

Week of March 7, 2011
Event: Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians Recorded Auld Lang Syne March 7, 1939

Birthday: Leon Bismark (Bix) Beiderbecke March 10, 1903

Week of February 28, 2011
Event: Miles Davis Records "Kind of Blue" on Columbia Records March 2, 1959
Birthday: Frédéric Chopin Marc 1, 1810

Week of February 21, 2011
Event: Duke Ellington Records "The Queen's Suite"
Birthday: Dexter Gordon February 27, 1923

Week of February 14, 2011
Event: Sonny Rollins Records his Title Track "The Bridge" February 14, 1962
Birthday: Buddy DeFranco February 17, 1923

Week of February 7, 2011
Event: Rhapsody in Blue is Performed for the First Time February 12, 1924
Birthday: Marion "Buddy" Childers February 12, 1926

Week of January 31, 2011
Event: Frank Sinatra Debuts on Radio's "Your Hit Parade" February 6, 1943
Birthday: Stanley "Stan" Getz February 2, 1927

Week of January 24, 2011
Event: Original Dixieland Jazz Band Makes the First Jazz Record January 30, 1917
Birthday: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart January 27, 1756