Leonard Bernstein devoted two Young People’s Concerts to the music of composer Aaron Copland, his beloved mentor and friend.
Leonard Bernstein made friends wherever he went — and whenever possible, he invited them to participate in his Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic. American composer and conductor Aaron Copland was no exception. For Copland’s 60th birthday in 1960, Bernstein presented an entire program about Copland’s music, and in the finale, even had him conduct.
I take tremendous personal pleasure in welcoming to this podium a great composer, a dear person, a true friend to youth, one who has guided and encouraged so many young people; including myself when I was just starting out. My thanks, our thanks, the thanks of all musicians and music-lovers all over the country, and all over the world. Happy birthday, Aaron Copland!
Bernstein hosted another Copland program 10 years later. In this clip, he emphasizes the immense care that Copland took to choose the exact right notes in his compositions.
Listen to the music by Copland that Bernstein presented during these Young People’s Concerts:
About this content
Bernstein conducted 53 programs of Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic between 1958 and 1972. Produced and directed by Roger Englander, “Aaron Copland Birthday Party” (YPC episode 13) was originally broadcast on the CBS Television Network on February 12, 1961. “A Copland Celebration” (YPC episode 50) was broadcast December 27, 1970. Complete episodes available. Video and transcripts © 1990, 1993 The Leonard Bernstein Office Inc.