Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, music educator, conductor, pianist, author, and humanitarian. One of the most important cultural personalities of 20th century America, Bernstein influenced many generations of musicians. He is also credited with mentoring famous conductors like John Mauceri, Herbert Blomstedt, Alexander Frey, Marin Alsop, and Edo de Waart among many others.
John Williams is an American composer, pianist, trombonist, and conductor. Widely considered the greatest film composer ever, John Williams has played a significant role in the American film industry by composing music for films, such as the Jurassic Park films, Star Wars saga, the Indiana Jones films, and Schindler's List. He has also influenced several other composers like Marcus Paus.
Grammy-winning singer-actor Harry Connick Jr. was born to a lawyer mother and an attorney father, who also owned a record store. He mastered the piano as a child and formed his first jazz band at 10. He later soared to fame with the multi-platinum soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally...
Grammy Award-winning legendary 20th-century violinist Yehudi Menuhin was born to Lithuanian Jews in the US. Starting his training in the violin at age 4, he later studied music in Paris. He also experimented with fusion, collaborating with jazz and Indian classical musicians. He later launched the Yehudi Menuhin School.
Born in Hungary, Miklós Rózsa was a music prodigy and learned to play the violin at age 5. After studying music in Germany, he pursued his music career in France, the UK, and the US. He is remembered for his Academy Award-winning scores in movies such as Ben-Hur and Spellbound.
Lalo Schifrin is an Argentine-American composer, pianist, conductor, and arranger. A multiple time Academy Award nominee and five-time Grammy Award winner, Schifrin is renowned for his TV and film scores since the 1950s. Best known for his compositions like the Mission: Impossible theme and collaborations with stars like Clint Eastwood, Lalo Schifrin was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2019.
Victor Borge was a Danish-American pianist, conductor, and comedian. He is best remembered for blending comedy and music for which he achieved popularity across Europe and the United States. Recipient of several prestigious awards, Borge received badges of chivalric orders from countries like Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. In 1999, he received the Kennedy Center Honors.
Considered one of the best conductors of the 20th century, Hungarian-born George Szell is best remembered for his stint as the director of the Cleveland Orchestra in the US. Starting as a pianist, he had started touring at age 11. He began conducting at age 16, with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Hungary, Eugene Ormandy was inspired by his amateur violinist father to take up violin lessons as a child. By age 17, he was himself a professor of violin. After moving to the US, he would initially compose for silent films. He later received 2 Grammy Awards and was also knighted.
Born to an unwed mother in the Netherlands, Antonia Brico later moved to the US with her foster parents. She was the first American to graduate from the master class of conducting at the Berlin State Academy of Music. She was also the first woman to gain respect as a symphony orchestra conductor.