Leonard Bernstein’s Hiroshima Day

Leonard Bernstein’s Hiroshima Day


norman lebrecht

August 06, 2015

Thirty years ago at the Hiroshima Peace Ceremony, Leonard Bernstein conducted the European Community Youth Orchestra in Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 and his “Kaddish” Symphony with the Hiroshima Boys Choir, soprano Barbara Hendricks, and Mendy Wager as narrator.

Bernstein shared the podium with Eiji Oue, who conducted Tomiko Kojiba’s Hiroshima Requiem, and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.5 with soloist Midori Gotō(then 14 years old).

In 1985, Bernstein assembled a “Journey for Peace” tour, which began in Athens, and went to Budapest and Vienna following Hiroshima. Bernstein was a life-long advocate of nuclear disarmament. Following the concert, Bernstein was interviewed live on Good Morning America. He said, “I hope it does some good to grant us the wisdom that war is obsolete and that we should stop all this nonsense once and for all.”

We share with you this photo of Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa singing Hiroshima Requiem at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on August 6, 1985.

bernstein ozawa hiroshima

[Photo courtesy of Chugoku Shimbun, article courtesy Leonard Bernstein Fb page]


  • Michael Paull says:

    I did not know about this event at the time (I was 22, and not paying much attention to world events that year), but what an awesome gathering, just the same! Much respect to everyone who was there, and as for Maestro Leonard Bernstein, this is just one more reason I love and miss this man, and all he did.