Works Ensemble & Chamber Fanfare for the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy (1961)
Bernstein met JFK in the 1950s and regularly attended event at the Kennedy White House. Frank Sinatra was asked to produce a gala on the eve of the Inauguration on January 19, 1961, at the National Guard Armory, Washington, D.C. Selected to conduct the seventy-piece band, Bernstein began the gala with his newly composed Fanfare. Despite a terrible blizzard and a delayed start, the star-studded line-up, including Ethel Merman, Nat "King" Cole, Sir Laurence Olivier, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ella Fitzgerald and many others, managed to entertain to the delight of the President and First Lady-elect.
Leonard Bernstein conducting at President-elect John F. Kennedy’s inauguration-eve gala, with Kennedy in background. National Guard Armory, Washington, D.C. January 19, 1961.