Fancy Free at New York City Ballet
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Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), the gifted and versatile American conductor and composer of symphonic music and Broadway shows, was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. At the age of seventeen he entered Harvard, went on to study at the Curtis Institute, and then to Tanglewood.
Serge Koussevitzky took great interest in his talent and promoted his conducting career, and his great chance came when, on short notice, he substituted brilliantly for Bruno Walter, who had become ill. He performed as a conductor and pianist, and lectured at universities and on television. His compositions ranged from the classical to the musical stage, and included Mass, Kaddish, West Side Story (again in collaboration with Jerome Robbins), Candide, and The Age of Anxiety. He was the first native-born American to become conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and he conducted around the world.