Featured Work

Symphony No. 2: The Age of Anxiety (1949)

Bernstein's Symphony No. 2: The Age of Anxiety for solo piano and orchestra was commissioned by his long-time mentor Serge Koussevitzky in 1949. Based on an eponymous poem by W.H. Auden, the movements follow the narrative in which four lonely strangers who meet in a wartime New York bar.

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Recommended Listening

Haydn: Missa in tempore belli, Hob. XXII: 9 ("Mass in Time of War" / "Paukenmesse") in C Major

On January 19 1973, Leonard Bernstein conducted a “Concert for Peace” for an estimated 15,000 people at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, on the eve of the second term inauguration of President Richard Nixon, with an orchestra that included many musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra, a chorus of 125 volunteers prepared by Norman Schribner, and soloists Patricia Wells, Gwendolyn Killebrew, Alan Titus, and Michael Devlin. The recording of the performance received a 1973 Grammy Award Nomination for Best Choral Recording, with Schribner and Bernstein as co-nominees.

The performance of Haydn’s "Mass in Time of War" was held at the identical hour in which the inaugural concert was being played at the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts:

“While Cathedral officials were busy pointing out last week that the [Haydn’s] Mass [In Time of War] conducted by Leonard Bernstein was not 'counter' to anything, its function as a rallying point of anti-Nixon dissent was not lost on anybody… In case any didn’t get the message…it was introduced by former Senator Eugene McCarthy, poet and early leader of the peace movement.”

–Washington Post, January 20, 1973


Thus Spake Leonard Bernstein:

"If we are really serious about communicating with one another, about knowing ourselves through our neighbors -- in short, about peaceful civilization -- then we can never overestimate the good that comes from artistic communication. When we touch one another through music, we are touching the heart, the mind, and the sprit, all at once.

– Leonard Bernstein, "Image of Chile" speech, September 22, 1963

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