There is nothing so engaging to a kid as another kid.
That’s why one of the longest-running themes of Bernstein’s career, including his New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts, was a focus on young performers. Each season, at least one broadcast was dedicated to highlighting up-and-coming musicians and conductors, most of whom were in their teens and twenties — and many of whom who are still stars of the classical music world today.
Here are some highlights from the Young Performers series of Young People’s Concerts and more.
Introducing Ma and Ma: 1962
Bernstein introduces 7 year-old cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, with sister, Yeou-Cheng Ma, on piano, at the American Pageant for the Arts in 1962, with President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy and General and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower in attendance.
Introducing Ozawa, Karr, Peress: April 14, 1962
The “Young Performers No. 3” concert featured bassist Gary Karr and conductors Maurice Peress and Seiji Ozawa, in addition to John Canarina, Ruth and Naomi Segal, Paula Robison, Paul Green, Tony Cirone, and David Hopper.
Introducing Watts: January 5, 1966
Leonard Bernstein introduced the world to pianist André Watts, then 16 years old, in the fourth Young Performers concert.
Introducing Caduff: February 27, 1967
Conductor Sylvia Caduff proved to television audiences nationwide that conducting was not just a business for men in Young Performers No. 8.
Introducing Foster and Springer: March 31, 1968
Bernstein’s Young Performers No. 9 concert featured 14-year-old cellist Lawrence Foster performing Saint-Saëns’ cello concerto, under the baton of Alois Springer.
About this content
Bernstein conducted 53 programs of Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic between 1958 and 1972. Complete episodes available. Video provided courtesy of the Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.