Program Details

Leonard Bernstein: A Centennial Perspective

Paul Offenkrantz
Music / Arts & Letters

Course Description

For a generation, the name Leonard Bernstein was synonymous with classical music. A charismatic and brilliant communicator, Bernstein was the first to understand and utilize the power of television to dispel the perception of classical music as boring, inaccessible, and somber. He showed that it could be exciting, joyous, and relevant. Bernstein made an indelible mark on Broadway (West Side Story); in film (On the Waterfront); on television (Omnibus and The Young People’s Concerts) and in the concert hall; both as a world-famous conductor and as a symphonic composer. This series will explore the range of his compositions, as well as his personal life – which was filled with frustrations about not believing that he was being taken seriously as a “classical” composer, tension between focusing his energy on conducting rather than composing, and ambivalence about his sexual orientation. A musical Renaissance man, whom the public affectionately knew as Lenny, touched millions with his exuberance and passion and inspired a generation of young musicians. 


  1. Bernstein as Teacher and Musical Ambassador.
  2. Bernstein as Composer for Musical Theater and Popular Music
  3. Bernstein as Composer for the Concert Hall.
  4. Bernstein as Conductor and Pianist.

About the Instructor

  • Paul Offenkrantz, PhD, a graduate of Oberlin College, attended the Yale School of Music and earned a Master of Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College, where he was also ordained as a cantor. In his distinguished career, he has served communities in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and West Palm Beach. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Hebrew Union College and received rabbinic ordination from The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute. He began singing professionally on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera at the age of nine and appeared in over 30 different operas at the MET over the course of five seasons. He has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Richard Tucker, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine and many other important artists. He concertizes and lectures extensively throughout South Florida and is also an adjunct professor of Music History at the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University.

Upcoming programs presented by Paul Offenkrantz.

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