Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin - two musicians inseparably linked with America - form an exuberant and stimulating combination in this program with the New York Philharmonic. Gershwin was one of the American composers Bernstein revered the most and one who, along with Mahler, Copland and Blitzstein, exerted a great influence on him as a composer. For his senior thesis at Harvard University, for example, Bernstein set out to show that Gershwin and Copland had created a national musical style by responding creatively to jazz and Latin-American influences. And when his musical "On the Town" was premiered in 1944, one critic described it as "an energetic blend of Stravinsky and Gershwin." If anyone could do justice to Gershwin's spirited, swinging style, it was unquestionably Leonard Bernstein.