The Kennedy Center


Exhibition: Leonard Bernstein at 100

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - Sunday, November 5, 2017

Leonard Bernstein at 100

The GRAMMY Museum® brings a free special traveling exhibition that draws from more than 150 artifacts including photographs, personal items, papers, scores, and more.

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The GRAMMY Museum® commemorates Leonard Bernstein at 100 with the official Leonard Bernstein Centennial traveling exhibit premiering at the Kennedy Center

FREE and open to the public beginning at noon daily
Please note: Standard parking rates apply.

As part of the worldwide celebration of the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein—one of America’s greatest composers and conductors—the GRAMMY Museum® brings a free special traveling exhibition to the Kennedy Center that displays more than 150 artifacts—including photographs, personal items, papers, scores, correspondence, costumes, furniture, and films. As the official exhibition of the centennial, Leonard Bernstein at 100 is the most comprehensive retrospective of Bernstein’s life and career ever staged in an exhibition setting.

Items on display will include:
  • Several of Bernstein’s batons
  • His first piano
  • The desk on which he composed West Side Story and Candide
  • Handwritten score sheets for songs from West Side Story, including "America" and "Maria"
  • His Harvard diploma
  • His tuxedo
  • His New York Philharmonic podium and a program from his 1943 debut with the orchestra
  • Numerous GRAMMY® Awards
In addition to the objects and multimedia presentations, the exhibition includes a number of interactive displays, designed to allow visitors deep access into Bernstein’s creative mind and legacy. A listening bar lets visitors explore some of Bernstein’s most noted works, while a vocal booth gives attendees the chance to sing lead in West Side Story. Another interactive breaks down the parts of an orchestra for deeper understanding of Bernstein’s works, while a specially designed interactive gives visitors the opportunity to step into Bernstein’s conducting shoes and lead a symphony orchestra.

There are also Bernstein home movies, GRAMMY® appearances, interviews with contemporaries and colleagues, clips of his most noted stage works, segments taken from Bernstein’s famous Young People’s Concerts, and performances with world-renowned orchestras.

Following its premiere at the Kennedy Center, the exhibition will be showcased at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center (Dec. 9, 2017–Mar. 24, 2018) and Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles (Apr. 26–Sep. 2, 2018), and tour to other cities across the country.

About Leonard Bernstein
Born on Aug. 25, 1918, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Leonard Bernstein was a towering figure of 20th-century music and culture. Bernstein was known the world over as the composer of West Side Story, Candide, On the Town, and other stage and orchestral works; as the celebrated conductor of the New York Philharmonic and other leading orchestras, with whom he created a trove of acclaimed recordings; as an educator whose televised Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic created more than one generation of music lovers; and as a lifelong humanitarian who spoke out whenever he witnessed injustice.

Honors bestowed on Bernstein during his lifetime include 22 honorary doctorate degrees, Commander of the French Legion of Honor, the Kennedy Center Honor, 10 Emmy Awards, 16 GRAMMY® Awards, and a Recording Academy® Lifetime Achievement Award. Posthumously, he was an inaugural inductee into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. His Mass was commissioned by Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to inaugurate the Kennedy Center in 1971. The corner of Broadway and West 65th Street in New York City was renamed "Leonard Bernstein Place" in 1993. For more information about Leonard Bernstein, visit

About the GRAMMY Museum®
Established in 2008 as a partnership between the Recording Academy and AEG, the GRAMMY Museum® is a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating a greater understanding of the history and significance of music. Paying tribute to our collective musical heritage, the Museum explores and celebrates all aspects of the art form—from the technology of the recording process to the legends who've made lasting marks on our cultural identity. In 2017, the Museum integrated with its sister organization, the GRAMMY Foundation, to broaden the reach of its music education and preservation initiatives. As a unified organization, today, the GRAMMY Museum® fulfills its mission of making music a valued and indelible part of our society through exhibits, education, grants and public programming.

Leonard Bernstein at 100 was curated by the GRAMMY Museum® in collaboration with The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and the Bernstein Family. Presented in cooperation with the Bernstein Family, The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc., Brandeis University, and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

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