Leonard Bernstein '39--the famous pianist, composer and conductor--will be the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry for 1972-1973.
Bernstein, who is currently Laureate Conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, will deliver a series of lectures on "The Art of Interpretation."
"I long wanted to do something at a university--especially a place like Harvard," Bernstein said last night. "I don't know anything about the nature of my lectures but I'm very excited."
Not Only Poets
The Norton Professorship is not confined to poets. Architects and painters have occupied the professorship under a definition of poetry as "all poetic expression in language, music or the fine arts." Five other composers, including Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copeland, have held the post.
Bernstein's widely-acclaimed Mass--"A Theater Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers"--recently opened at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
As an undergraduate, Bernstein conducted a Harvard performance of Marc Blitzstein's "The Cradle Will Rock." He was musical editor of The Advocate, accompanist for the Glee Club, and a member of the Music Club. Bernstein lived in Eliot House.
Bernstein is well-known for his televised conducting of the Young People's Concerts. His performances have won him an Academy Award.
Octavio Paz, a Mexican poet, is the current Charles Eliot Norton Professor, He will lecture on modern poetry in February.
The Norton Professorship--gives in 1925 by Charles Chauncey Stillman--honors Harvard's first professor of the History of Art.