Fun Facts

  • Bernstein graduated from Harvard University, where he majored in music.

  • In addition to classical works, Bernstein composed musicals, operas, ballets, plays, and film scores.

  • After retiring from conducting, Bernstein lived just five days.

  • An extremely popular guest conductor, Bernstein was in great demand worldwide.


  • A huge fan of Mahler, Bernstein was buried with a copy of Mahler's Fifth Symphony.

  • Bernstein's television programs were a centerpiece of his work.

  • Bernstein's Third Symphony is dedicated to the memory of his friend, John F. Kennedy.

  • Because he was immensely popular as a conductor, Bernstein didn't have as much time to compose as he would have liked.

  • Bernstein was the first American conductor to become an international star.

  • Bernstein became famous overnight after his conducting debut, when he filled in for a sick conductor at the last minute.

More Resources

Fun Facts

Check out our collection of interesting and (some) little known facts about Bernstein.