Leonard Bernstein Makes His Carnegie Hall Debut With A Moment's Notice
Monday, November 14, 2016 - 09:05 AM
On this day, Nov. 14, in 1943, Leonard Bernstein was pulled out of bed and told that he would be conducting the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall for the very first time — that same day. The 25-year-old Bernstein was the last-minute substitute for Bruno Walter, who had the flu. And the concert was going to be broadcast live on the radio.
"With no time to assemble the orchestra for a rehearsal, Bernstein met only briefly that morning with Walter to review the scores," Carnegie's History of the Hall timeline explains. "He did not even own the proper formal wear and had to lead the concert in a gray business suit.
In this video recorded in the WQXR studio, pianist-composer-playwright Hershey Felder, who stars in the show MAESTRO: The Art of Leonard Bernstein, talks with Elliott Forrest about Bernstein's historic Carnegie Hall debut: