Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
During his lifetime, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) led a varied musical career as conductor, composer, performer and author. He was also a well-known television personality it was largely through his appearances in this mass medium that he became the leading 20th-century icon of American music culture.
The New york Philharmonic Young People's Concerts were perhaps the most successful of Bernstein's television programs, running for 15 seasons on CBS from 1958-1972. In this critically-acclaimed series, Bernstein addressed the nation on a multitude of musical issues, and conducted the New York Philharmonic in performances of various works. Through his personal charisma and natural gifts for teaching and communication, he succeeded in attracting many viewers from the mass television audience, and, as a result, sparked a renewed, large-scale interest in the subject of Classical music.
This thesis is a critical study of Leonard 8ernstein's televised Young People's Concerts from several different perspectives. Chapter One provides the necessary historical background material to the Young People's Concerts and discusses their production, format and general content. Chapter Two assesses the popular and professional reactions to the concerts, including selected commentary from various critics. Bernstein's predecessors in the field of music appreciation and his own approach as an educator are highlighted in Chapter Three, followed by a fourth chapter exploring his positions on certain matters of music philosophy and aesthetics, as suggested in the series. In closing, the findings of the thesis are summarized. Ultimately, it is hoped that the reader will gain some impressions and specific knowledge of Bernstein's Young People's Concerts along with insights into their role in and impact on 20th-century music culture.
Gelleny, Sharon A., "LEONARD BERNSTEIN'S YOUNG PEOPLE'S CONCERTS: A CRITICAL OVERVIEW" (1991). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6578.
McMaster University Library