Considered by many the greatest figure in American music, Leonard Bernstein was a charismatic and controversial conductor, a gifted teacher, an accomplished pianist, and a highly admired composer. As a teacher, Bernstein communicated his love for music, whether classical or popular, through his Young People's Concerts, many of which were televised. At the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, he taught many students who are now present-day conductors of American symphony orchestras. As a composer Bernstein is best known for his popular works, including the Broadway musicals West Side Story (1958), Candide (1956), and Wonderful Town; the film score for On the Waterfront ; and the ballet Fancy Free (1958). However, it was as a conductor with an exuberant, dynamic, and dramatic style that Bernstein captured the attention of the American public. Born to Russian-Jewish immigrants in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1918, Bernstein started taking piano lessons at the age of 10, using his own allowance to pay for the lessons. He continued his musical studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, in Philadelphia, where he quickly displayed his varied talents as a pupil of renowned conductor Fritz Reiner. At the age of 25, Bernstein became an overnight sensation when he substituted for an ailing conductor during a concert. In 1958, when he was named musical director of the New York Philharmonic, Bernstein became the first native-born American to head a symphony orchestra. His association with the New York Philharmonic lasted until 1969, when he resigned to concentrate on composing. Bernstein died in 1990.