Leonard Bernstein sculpture unveiled at summer home of Boston Symphony

A bronze sculpture of Leonard Bernstein, one of the 20th century’s towering musical figures, was unveiled at Tanglewood, near Lenox, Mass., the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Leonard Bernstein

The sculpture, by artist Penelope Jencks, is the second in a planned series depicting Tanglewood’s most iconic music figures, according to a symphony statement.

The first sculpture, also by Jencks, is of Aaron Copland, Bernstein’s teacher and mentor, who in 1940 recommended the young Bernstein for Serge Koussevitzky’s conducting class at Tanglewood.

Over the next 50 years Bernstein, who went on to lead the New York Philharmonic, and later conducted around the world — frequently in Israel — became a highly anticipated presence at the renowned Berkshires music center, known for its pastoral scenery. A courtyard at the music center is named after Bernstein, who died in 1990 at age 72.

The themes of many of Bernstein’s scores, including his Kaddish Symphony and Chichester Psalms, reflected his Jewish roots. The son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, Bernstein wrote of the early musical influence of Solomon Braslavsky, the vocal director and organist at Boston’s Congregation Mishkan Tefila, the family’s synagogue.

Bernstein performed frequently in Israel, notably during the country’s founding years and the 1967 Six-Day War. At age 70, Bernstein was named conductor laureate of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Bernstein was also a prolific composer for Broadway, with the musical “West Side Story” his most famous show. — jta