Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, just north of Boston, on Sunday, August 25, 1918. Bernstein was named Louis at birth, after his mother's grandfather, but at the age of sixteen he had it formally changed to Leonard, or Lenny.
As a child, Bernstein was sick very often with asthma and hay fever. Perhaps due to these and many other medical conditions, Bernstein preferred to be alone. He didn't care to spend much time with his family or even with his peers. Most likely because of this self-isolation, Bernstein's passion for music developed at a young age. At
the age of ten, Leonard's family received a piano from an aunt who no longer needed it. She knew of Leonard's love for music, but I doubt she knew what a great impact this gift would have, not only on Leonard, but also on the world of music.
After the young boy began to show an interest in the instrument, a neighbor offered to give him lessons, which lasted for about a year. After that year, Bernstein was no longer satisfied with his teacher, so he went out to find another one. He was referred to a teacher by the name of Miss Susan Williams and despite his father's protest, this teaching relationship with Miss Williams lasted for two years.
When Bernstein decided that he needed a more professional teacher, he went under the education of Helen Coates, who would later become a life long friend and secretary. After four years of working under Helen, he was accepted as a student of Heinrid Gebhard, who was the best piano teacher in Boston.
At the age of seventeen, Bernstein was accepted at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was interested in many other things other than music. For example, philosophy and history were both subjects of great importance to him. After graduating from Harvard cum laude in 1939, Leonard spent a year in New York City. He met many influential people throughout the course of this year, including Aaron Copland.
Aaron Copland is regarded as...
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