Musical Inspiration from Leonard Bernstein

This blog post originally appeared as a digital clarinet studio lecture for the Iowa State University clarinetists.


For this week’s studio class, I would like to share one of my greatest musical inspirations with you all. Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was a true Renaissance man – conductor, composer, pedagogue, author, and cultural icon. He made classical music accessible to the general public and used it to promote peace and break down barriers around the world. Here are a few of my favorite videos of him discussing teaching, classical music, and many other subjects which are still relevant today.
Young People’s Concerts – Two Ballet Birds (This is particularly useful as you prepare the Firebird Variation for our mock audition.)
The Unanswered Question (part 1 of 6) from Bernstein’s Norton Lectures at Harvard This six-part series is several hours long, so I would add this to your watch list and complete the series at your leisure. I believe the information in these videos is important for all music students and provides a deeper musical understanding to help your performances.

These are just a few of the many incredibly inspiring videos, interviews, and resources we have available. I encourage you to explore the many other videos of Bernstein available online when you’re searching for musical inspiration.

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