What to know about Leonard Bernstein

Google honors music composer Leonard Bernstein with doodle

Have you peeped Google today? It’s all about the famed music conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein.

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The search engine site, which sometimes uses its homepage to honor prominent figures, is highlighting the musician on what would have been his 100th birthday. 

Born August 25, 1918 in Massachusetts, Bernstein gravitated towards music at a young age. Despite his parents’ resistance, he continued to pursue the arts, studying the craft at Harvard University and the Curtis Institute of Music.

After completing his education, he became a guest conductor for several American orchestras. In fact, he became the youngest conductor ever to lead the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. He also became the first U.S. conductor to gain international renown, leading a 1953 performance of ‘Medea’ at La Scala in Milan, Italy's foremost opera house.

He also emerged as composer. He created compositions for ballets, operas, musicals, film scores and more. One of his most iconic works, however, was the score to the original 1957 production of “West Side Story,” which went on to be nominated for six Tony Awards including best musical. 

Bernstein didn’t keep his talents to himself though. He was also a skilled lecturer. In 1961, he won a Grammy for best documentary or spoken word recording. He published books about music and lectured on poetry at Harvard University, too.

He worked until 1990, announcing his retirement five days before his death. He died of a heart attack at age 72.

Now Google is paying tribute with an interactive doodle, which illustrates his life to the set of the score of “West Side Story.”  Check out the doodle archive to see the video animation.

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