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Death of the President: The Philharmonic and Leonard Bernstein Respond

Posted November 22, 2013

leonard bernstein mourns jfk 

News of President John F. Kennedy's assassination reached the New York Philharmonic during an afternoon subscription concert led by George Szell. Following Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, the Orchestra's manager, Carlos Moseley, broke the news to the audience and canceled the rest of the program. The remaining concerts that weekend replaced the overture with the funeral march from Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Eroica, performed without applause.

On November 24, Leonard Bernstein conducted Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, in a televised tribute to President Kennedy.

Read the full story, watch part of the televised tribute concert, read Bernstein's handwritten draft of his remarks explaining his choice of the Mahler, and view Bernstein's score to the symphony.