Dec 18, 2017
George Marriner Maull on the educational legacy of Bernstein
If you were born in the United States before 1965, chances are you viewed at least one of Leonard Bernstein’s fifty-three televised Young People’s Concerts broadcast between 1958 and 1972. Millions of us saw the episodes. How was that made possible? Maestro Bernstein convinced CBS TV Network to broadcast. This was not a niche cable channel, nor the Public Broadcasting System. In 1958, there were exactly three major networks in the country, and most US residents only received the transmissions of CBS, ABC and NBC affiliates. Amazingly, during one three-year period, CBS moved these concerts into the prime time slot on Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm!
For those of us in distant cities unable to see him live with the New York Philharmonic, these programs were our windows into the wonderful world of Maestro Bernstein. Eventually, these educational concerts were syndicated in forty international markets, thus expanding their reach to millions more viewers and influencing generations of people worldwide.