Leonard Bernstein was one of the greatest and most universal musical
personalities of our time. He secured an international reputation as a
performing artist (conductor and pianist) and as a composer. With regard to
his creative activity, it should be noted that he was just at home in the
world of serious, "avant-garde" music as in that of sophisticated "light"
music. His first works betrayed the distinct influence of Aaron Copland,
Igor Stravinsky and Paul Hindemith. However, they already included
stylistic traits derived from jazz. Bernstein's music is stamped by
exceptionally expressive melodies and striking rhythms. This and their
primeval vitality helped them become popular all over the world.