Works

 
A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place, an opera in three acts, continues the story of the family first presented in Trouble in Tahiti, acting as a sequel. A revision of A Quiet Place in 1984 incorporated Trouble in Tahiti into the second act as flashbacks.

Arias and Barcarolles

After Bernstein's performance at the White House in 1960, President Eisenhower remarked, "You know, I liked that last piece you played: it's got a theme. I like music with a theme, not all them arias and barcarolles."

Brass Music

Leonard Bernstein completed his suite of brass pieces on April 8, 1959. They were written for members of the New York Philharmonic and received their premier at Carnegie Hall. The pieces were commissioned by the Juilliard Musical Foundation. This set of pieces is rarely performed as a set and are …

Candide

The comic operetta, Candide, captures Voltaire's depiction of the cynicism of society expressed through the protangonist's education in optimism, banishment from his beloved Cunegonde, travels, trials, and disillusionment with humanity, before ending on a hopeful tone in "Make Our Garden Grow".

Chichester Psalms

Chichester Psalms is tuneful, tonal and contemporary, featuring modal melodies and unusual meters. From the time of its sold-out world premiere at Philharmonic Hall on July 15, 1965 conducted by the composer himself, it was apparent that Bernstein had created a magically unique blend of Biblical H…

Divertimento

Leonard Bernstein composed Divertimento for the Boston Symphony Orchestra's centenary, dedicating the piece, "With affection to the Boston Symphony Orchestra in celebration of its First Centenary." Having served as assistant to BSO conductor Serge Koussevitzky at the Berkshire Music Center, Bernst…

Dybbuk, a ballet by Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins, is a fascinating exploration of Jewish mysticism, full of ghostly spirits and black magic. The score by Bernstein is among his most atonal and serialist compositions.

Facsimile

Facsimile, the second ballet by Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins,was commissioned by the American Ballet Theatre, and the music was composed by Bernstein in the three weeks between the close of the 1946 season at Tanglewood and the opening of the New York City Symphony season. The ballet depic…

Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins first collaborated in the mid-1940s on the instantly popular ballet Fancy Free, commissioned by American Ballet Theatre. First performed on April 18, 1944, this work, a piece about three sailors on shore-leave in New York City, served as inspiration for their n…

Halil: Nocturne

Bernstein dedicated Halil "to the spirit of Yadin [Tenenbaum] and his fallen brothers.” Tanenbaum was an Israeli flute student killed in his tank close to the Suez Canal during the 1973 war. The title "Halil" is the Hebrew word for flute.

MASS

The eclecticism of Mass's music reflects the multifaceted nature of Bernstein's career, with blues, rock, gospel, folk, Broadway and jazz idioms appearing side by side with 12-tone serialism, symphonic marches, solemn hymns, Middle Eastern dances, orchestral meditations, and lush chorales, all un…

Missa Brevis

Dedicated to longtime friend and colleague, Robert Shaw, Bernstein's Missa Brevis is the last full choral work that he composed, based on choruses from music previously written for the play "The Lark" in 1955.

Olympic Hymn

Bernstein wrote the Olympic Hymn, with text by Günter Kunert, for the 1981 International Olympic Congress in Baden-Baden. This was a significant meeting of the Congress because the boycotted Moscow games were only a year prior, and the Los Angeles games were only a few years away. It seemed as th…

On the Town

On the Town has been a classic since its original Broadway run in 1944, the show highlights the fleeting encounters and visceral energy of youth as three young sailors find love and excitement while on leave in New York City during one 24-hour period.

Leonard Bernstein's score the Academy Award-winning On The Waterfont debuted when the film opened in New York City on July 28, 1954. His score for the film received wide popular and critical acclaim, and On The Waterfront won 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Leading Actor (Marlon Bra…

Overture to Candide

Candide (1956) is operetta in the vein of Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan, with all the wit, élan, and sophistication that is associated with that genre, and it is immediately apparent in the Overture—in sonata form, no less.

Having only been commissioned to write dance and mood music to accompany a play, Bernstein could not hold back from writing a few numbers and choruse. Peter Pan ended up a success, wirh the New York Times commenting on its "melodic, colorful and dramatic score that is not afraid to be simple in sp…

Originally written for Woody Hermann, this triptych for solo clarinet and jazz ensemble was dedicated to Benny Goodman and first performed by Al Gallodoro in 1955. The score reflects Bernstein's unique ability to embrace a style and make it his own. The three movements all share the exuberance and…

Serenade (after Plato's Symposium)

Scored for solo violin, harp, string orchestra, and percussion, Serenade remains one of Bernstein’s most lyrical orchestral works.

Leonard Bernstein’s SLAVA! A Political Overture was premiered on October 11, 1977 as a part of Mstislav Rostropovich's inaugural concerts as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra. Dedicated to Rostropovich, the piece concludes with the musicians shouting "Slava!"