About This Title

“Leonard Bernstein: An American Life”

An 11-hour audio documentary

Narrated by Susan Sarandon
Produced by Steve Rowland
Written by Larry Abrams

Letters read by: Maria Tucci, Alec Baldwin, Jamie Bernstein & Schuyler Chapin

Radio distribution by The WFMT Radio Network

This 11 CD set is the complete audio documentary as heard on public radio.

It is narrated by Susan Sarandon and is based on nearly 100 exclusive interviews, rare archival tapes of Bernstein interviews and rehearsals, historic correspondence, and of course, lots of music. The series was in production for over 7 years and is the most in-depth documentary ever created about Bernstein.

The program contains 7 hours that follow Bernstein’s chronology, and 4 hours focused on conducting and composing exclusively.

The chronology explores, in great detail, his roots, his apprenticeship period, his tenure with the New York Philharmonic, his devotion to Israel, his involvement with American and international politics, his friendships with JFK, with Aaron Copland, Serge Koussevitsky, Fritz Reiner, Lukas Foss, and dozens of others. It covers his work as a teacher, at Tanglewood and other institutions, as an extraordinary television educator through his Omnibus programs and The Young People’s Concerts.

There are two hours about Bernstein as Conductor with detailed discussion of what a conductor actually does, and why Bernstein was different than other great conductors.

And there are two hours on Bernstein the Composer with discussions of his symphonies, his theater music, West Side Story, Candide, Mass,1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and much more.
11 hours on CD.

  1. “Bernstein: The Early Years”
  2. “Twelve Gates to the City (Meeting the Mentors)”
  3. “New York, New York”
  4. “Tonight”
  5. “A New Frontier/The Philharmonic Years”
  6. Bernstein: the Conductor, part I
  7. Bernstein: the Conductor part II
  8. “Crossroads”-
  9. “Bernstein: The Composer, Pt 1”
  10. 10-“Bernstein: The Composer, Pt II”
  11. “A Candle burned at Both Ends”


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