Awarded four Emmys and hailed by Variety as "a rare moment in the symbiosis of the arts and broadcasting," Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts left their mark on television history. Aired on CBS from 1958 to 1972, these 53 one-hour programs were written and hosted by Leonard Bernstein. With the New York Philharmonic and guest artists providing the live music, these programs brought musical concepts and music history to life for generations of viewers. "Lectures accompanying music might not sound like the formula of a hit kids' TV program, but Bernstein was the secret ingredient who made it work" (Variety). Balancing scholarship and showmanship, Maestro Bernstein brings the full range of his magnetic personality to play in these programs. And he succeeds in infecting viewers young and old, connoisseurs and the uninitiated, with his overwhelming love of music.
After brief introductory remarks, Bernstein conducts the finale of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio Espanol" and then explains what a composer must know in order to orchestrate music successfully. He compares the flute to the trumpet, and the clarinet to the viola, with examples from Debussy and Gershwin. After asking the audience to sing two notes in a variety of ways, he contrasts the families of instruments that compose an orchestra, using excerpts from Prokofiev, Hindemith, Mozart and others, ending with Ravel's "Bolero."