Tag Archives: Leonard Bernstein

LEONARD BERNSTEIN: THE UNANSWERED QUESTION, Harvard Lecture Series, 1973, excerpt from Lecture #1 , 5min.

The Unanswered Question is the title of a lecture series given by Leonard Bernstein in the fall of 1973. This series of six lectures was a component of Bernstein’s duties as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry for the 1972-73 academic year at Harvard University, and is therefore often referred to as the Norton Lectures. The lectures were both recorded on video and printed as a book, titled The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard.

During his year as visiting professor at Harvard University, Leonard Bernstein had various duties, such as being in residence and advising students, but historically the most significant of these was to deliver a series of lectures. This series comprised six lectures on music, which cumulatively took the title of a work by Charles Ives, The Unanswered Question. Bernstein drew analogies to other disciplines, such as poetry, aesthetics, and especially linguistics, hoping to make these lectures accessible to an audience with limited or no musical experience, while maintaining an intelligent level of discourse.

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