Gifts for Young Minds

Leonard Bernstein, one of the greatest symphonic conductors of all time and gifted composer as well, accomplished many a marvelous thing during his musical career.  Aside from his wonderful compositions, his duties as conductor of the NY Philharmonic and many other splendid accomplishments, he took a running “series” of the NY Philharmonic educational programs and gave it continued life and sustenance.


The Young People’s Concerts at the New York Philharmonic began in 1924 under the direction of “Uncle” Ernest Schelling. Earlier Family Matinees had begun as far back as 1885 under conductor Theodore ThomasJosef Stránský developed them further under the name Young People’s Concerts beginning in 1914. They have run uninterrupted under this name since 1926.

Leonard Bernstein brought the Young People’s Concerts to a new level of attention when he arrived as conductor of the New York Philharmonic in 1958. Crucially, the first performance with him as music director, on January 18, 1958, at Carnegie HallNew York City, was the first of these concerts to be televised. Beginning in 1962, the Young People’s Concerts became the first series of concerts ever televised from Lincoln Center. Bernstein conducted a total of 53 such performances, all of which were telecast on CBSand syndicated in over 40 countries. Bernstein continued the concerts even during a sabbatical season from the orchestra 1964–65. Although Bernstein left as music director in 1969, he continued to lead the Young People’s Concerts as Conductor Emeritus until 1972. Bernstein’s performances inspired generations of musicians and music-lovers, and all of them are now available on DVD. – via

Many of these programs can be found on YouTube

Back in the 60’s, the elementary school I attended actually took all of their students to the concert hall where the symphony regularly performed and we were treated to our own personal guide to the orchestra.  It was a treat.

But we’ve progressed in the modern era…we now have “enlightened” ideas for our young children, like this:

Leave Them Kids Alone!  Micromanaging Kids to Death by Banning Best Friendsvia

Life among the small minds of intellectuals is such a drag.


Tonight’s musical offering:  From a performance by our favorite orchestra, the Detroit Symphony orchestra – the Bernstein classic:

Bernstein:  Overture to Candide – Detroit Symphony Orchestra


Photo credit (front page):

Photo credit (Leonard Bernstein): Jack Mitchell [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Your school went to classical music performances?! That’s amazing.

    (Actually, my class went to the opera once. I think it was in sixth grade. I loved it and everyone else hated it… which is pretty emblematic of our times, unfortunately!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shows you how old I am! Yes, back in elementary we school we had yearly field trips to the symphony hall each year where we met with musicians, got to view their instruments up close, and then listen to a wonderful performance. It was truly wonderful!


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