Winner 2004

Leonard Bernstein: An American Life

CultureWorks and the WFMT Radio Network

This 11-part radio documentary, hosted by Susan Sarandon, is an extraordinarily detailed account of Leonard Bernstein’s life and career. In production for more than six years, the programs consider Bernstein not as a classical musician who happened to foray into popular music, but as a musician who embraced the whole range of American musical culture. Through his roles as conductor, educator, and composer of symphonic and theater music, Bernstein responded to and changed the course of music, influencing several generations of musicians and listeners. Through over 15,000 never-before published letters written to and from Bernstein, hundreds of hours of rare archival audiotapes, and more than 100 exclusive interviews, Leonard Bernstein: An American Life composes an audio symphony themed around the 20th Century American musical giant. The series follows Bernstein’s days as a student, to his early successes on Broadway, through his time as the director of the New York Philharmonic. From the Depression to the fall of the Berlin Wall, this series covers the landscape of American music and its culture through the work of Leonard Bernstein. Distributed by the WFMT Radio Network, produced, recorded, edited, and mixed by Steve Rowland, and written and co-produced by Larry Abrams, a Peabody Award goes to Leonard Bernstein: An American Life for a brilliantly produced account of Leonard Bernstein’s life, career, and music.