Leonard Bernstein in the Netherlands in 1947

Leonard Bernstein in 1945 (©Wikipedia)

American composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein made his first appearance in the Netherlands in June 1947 at the end of a European tour. Bernstein was supposed to conduct the Residence Orchestra in The Hague in a performance of Stravinsky, but a transport strike in France brought about a last-minute change in the programming. He not only conducted but also performed Ravel’s piano concerto. 

Bernstein was 28 years old at the time, but he was already famous, and his Dutch performance was a triumph. The orchestra was impressed with his mastery of the score and enthralled with his style of using his whole body to conduct — without a score or a conductor’s baton. 

Interviewer: George Sluizer

Recording:  June 12, 1947