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Composer, conductor, and pianist. Born in Lawrence, Mass., of middle-class Jewish parents, Bernstein was educated at Harvard University and embarked early on a musical career. At age 25 he became assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. A year later he was named conductor of the New York City Symphony Orchestra. In 1948, he became musical director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducting for soldiers at the front during Israel’s War of Liberation.

Bernstein’s numerous compositions, ranging from symphonies to scores for successful Broadway musicals (West Side Story), include a number of works based on traditional Jewish motifs. His first symphony, Jeremiah, is a moving score based on the cantillation for the Book of Lamentations; his synagogue music has similarly rendered age-old melodic material with modern techniques. He was professor of music at Brandeis University, head of the conducting department at the Berkshire Music Center, and conductor of the New York Philharmonic.

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