Leonard Bernstein Scholarship Fund
(est. 1987) A prodigiously talented composer, pianist, conductor and teacher, Leonard Bernstein was born in 1918 to a family of Russian Jewish immigrants in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He studied piano in Boston and entered Harvard at the age of 17. After graduating in 1939, he attended the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he studied conducting with the legendary maestro Fritz Reiner. During the summers of 1940 and 1941, he studied at Tanglewood under his most important musical mentor, conductor /bassist Serge Koussevitzky. By 1943, Mr. Bernstein had attained a position as an assistant conductor for the New York Philharmonic. His flair and virtuosity was captivating; critics sang his praises, and he became the darling of the classical music world. For the next 15 years, he conducted the greatest orchestras of the world in concerts and recordings, and won highest stature as a pianist. In 1958, he was appointed Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. In the same year, he began his legendary series of televised concerts for children. A composer of great ability and verve, he wrote several classics for orchestra as well as musical theater, in addition to a number of songs, chamber pieces, and incidental works. Mr. Bernstein continued to conduct and create music until his death in 1990. In 1987, Mr. Bernstein established the Leonard Bernstein Scholarship Fund at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music after winning the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize (West Germany's most prestigious music award). Mr. Bernstein chose to use the prize money to further music education in the United States, donating two-thirds of the award to Indiana University. IU Chancellor Herman B. Wells, a longtime champion of the arts and of the School of Music, matched the gift.
The Leonard Bernstein Scholarship is awarded annually to music students at Indiana University.