Leonard Bernstein, a name synonymous with musical brilliance and innovation, left an indelible mark on the world of classical and contemporary music. In September 2023, the movie Maestro premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. Directed by Bradley Cooper, the film focuses on Bernstein’s lifelong relationship with actress Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein (Carey Mulligan). On December 15 and 16, 2023, we partnered with the Varsity Cinema for showings of the film. (Haven't seen it? Check out the trailer at the bottom of this page and get your tickets for an upcoming showing!)

Maestro Giunta on Bernstein

Thank you to everyong who attended our special screening of Maestro at the Varsity Cinema! In an effort to summarize his experiences, Music Director & Conductor Joseph Giunta wasn't able to go into detail on everything he admires about Bernstein. Below you will find an extended interview with Iowa Public Radio, during which Maestro Giunta explains more about his time at Tanglewood and his relationship with the Bernstein family. You will also find links to clips selected by Maestro Giunta showcasing some of his favorite moments from Leonard Bernstein's career.

See Maestro Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony live at the Civic Center!

Concerts & Events

More About Bernstein

Bernstein pieces featured in Maestro

  • Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront
  • Fancy Free: Var 1 (Galop)
  • On the Town: Lonely Town. Pas De Deux
  • On the Town: I Get Carried Away/You’ve Got That Look (That Leaves Me Weak)
  • Trouble In Tahiti: Interlude
  • Candide: Paris Waltz
  • Facsimile: Molto Adagio
  • Fancy Free: Enter Three Sailors
  • Fancy Free: Var 3 (Danzon)
  • On the Town: New York, New York
  • Anniversaries for Orchestra: X. For Felicia Montealegre
  • Songfest: To What You Said
  • Candide: Make Our Garden Grow
  • West Side Story: Prologue
  • Mass: XVII. Pax Communion
  • Symphony No. 2 'The Age of Anxiety', Pt 1. A. The Prologue
  • A Quiet Place: Postlude
  • Chichester Psalms: Psalm 23
  • Candide: Overture
  • Symphony No. 3 'Kaddish'. II. Din-Torah

Bernstein on Education

Bernstein was a strong advocate for making music accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or level of musical expertise. His views encompassed several key principles:

  • Inclusivity and Accessibility: Bernstein believed that music should be inclusive and accessible to people from all walks of life. He argued that music education should not be limited to a select few with special talents but should be a fundamental part of every individual's education.
  • Music as a Universal Language: Bernstein saw music as a universal language that could bridge cultural and linguistic gaps. He emphasized the importance of exposing students to a diverse range of musical styles and traditions to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for the richness of human expression through music.
  • Integration of Music into General Education: Rather than isolating music education from other subjects, Bernstein advocated for the integration of music into general education. He believed that music could enhance overall learning and contribute to the development of well-rounded individuals.
  • Active Participation and Creativity: Bernstein was a strong proponent of active music-making and creativity. He encouraged students to not only passively listen to music but also to engage in creating and performing music themselves. He believed that this hands-on experience was essential for a more profound and meaningful connection to the art form.
  • Passion and Joy in Learning: Bernstein believed that music education should instill a sense of passion and joy in learning. He felt that the emotional and expressive qualities of music were crucial for engaging students and fostering a lifelong love of music.
  • The Conductor as an Educator: As a conductor, Bernstein saw himself as an educator. He often used performances as opportunities to educate and connect with the audience, explaining the nuances of the music and the creative process. His famous Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic were a testament to his commitment to music education.