Leonard Bernstein: An American Musical Icon

Fairfield University

Orin Grossman is renowned internationally for his knowledge of music. He lectures and performs concerts throughout the US and Europe, taught Performing Arts for many years at Fairfield University, and has served as the University’s Academic Vice President. Professor Grossman has been particularly associated with the music of George Gershwin, performing concerts of his song transcriptions and classical pieces to critical praise around the world, including performances in Cairo and New York. Professor Grossman was also chosen to play for the New York City Mayor’s Awards of Honor for Arts and Culture.




Leonard Bernstein was just 25 years old when he burst onto the New York and international musical scene with one of the most famous debuts of all time: his substitution for the ailing Bruno Walter as conductor of the New York Philharmonic in November of 1943.  From that moment, his astonishing career in music blossomed as a conductor, a composer of Broadway musicals and films, a composer of “serious” American classical music, a pianist, and an educator.  His flamboyant and occasionally chaotic personal life only added to his extraordinary charisma.  

This presentation places Bernstein’s musical journey against the backdrop of American cultural history. We will trace his early years and see how he overcame numerous obstacles to a successful career. Special emphasis will be given to his pivotal meeting with Aaron Copland, who served as a father figure, composition advisor, mentor, and friend. The presentation concludes with a performance of Bernstein’s first published work: a piano arrangement of Copland’s El Salon Mexico.




1 reviews
5 stars
100 %
4 stars
0 %
3 stars
0 %
2 stars
0 %
1 star
0 %
Marilyn Wiener

Always a delight to attend one of prof Gross Ann’s lectures

11 months ago
Marc Tanenbaum

Great knowledge of LB

I really enjoyed Professor Grossman’s presentation of Leonard Bernstein and his piano renditions. Very interesting tidbits of LB’s life and challenges. Nicely done and with warm appreciation of his music. Thank you, Professor.

11 months ago
Scroll to Top