(Always) Teaching and Learning

Leonard Bernstein Praises Teaching, “the Noblest Profession” in the World (Video)

Leonard Bernstein’s ode to teachers may have been a predecessor to “Teacher Appreciation” week. Watch below how Bernstein uses a music education platform to celebrate teaching and those who taught him.

In 1963, Leonard Bernstein was in his prime: conducting the New York Philharmonic, composing when he could, and teaching music to the country through the televised series of Young People’s Concerts (YPC).

Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic open the 1963 season of CBS-televised concerts with “A Tribute to Teachers” (YPC episode #24), highlighting Bernstein’s appreciation for his mentors and teachers, and his ongoing love of learning.

Teaching is probably the noblest profession in the world — the most unselfish, difficult, and honorable profession, but it is also the most unappreciated, underrated, underpaid, and under-praised profession in the world. And so today we are going to praise teachers.

In the above clip, Bernstein pays homage to his conducting mentor, Serge Koussevitzky, with a performance by the New York Philharmonic of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Prelude to Khovanshchina.”

The best way I can think of for me to do this is by paying tribute to some of my own teachers, who over the last 30 years or so, have given me so much joy and inspiration.

Koussevitzky, “one of greatest conductors of all time,” led the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 25 years, and created the summer school at Tanglewood, where Bernstein became his conducting student.

More Bernsteinat100
  • #Thankateacher – Every day. May 8th is National Teacher Day and May 7-11, 2018 is Teacher Appreciation Week. Thank a teacher who a lit a spark in you. Share quotes below via @ClassicalOrg Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Tag a teacher who lit a spark in you.

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, “A Tribute to Teachers” was originally broadcast on the CBS Television Network on November 29, 1963. Complete episodes available. © 1990, 1993 The Leonard Bernstein Office Inc.

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