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ARTIST FOR THIS UNIT
Ansel Easton Adams (1902 – 1984) was an American photographer and environmentalist. His black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park, have been widely reproduced on calendars, posters, and in books.
With Fred Archer, Adams developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs.
Born in San Francisco, Ansel’s childhood home had a "splendid view" of the Golden Gate and the Marin Headlands.
A hyperactive and restless child, Ansel’s father raised him to follow the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson: to live a modest, moral life guided by a social responsibility to man and to nature.
Adams first visited Yosemite National Park in 1916 with his family. He wrote of his first view of the valley: "the splendor of Yosemite burst upon us and it was glorious... One wonder after another descended upon us... There was light everywhere... A new era began for me."
His father gave him his first camera, a Kodak Brownie box camera, during that stay and he took his first photographs with his "usual hyperactive enthusiasm”.
He returned to Yosemite on his own the following year with better cameras and a tripod. In the winter, he learned basic darkroom technique working part-time for a photo finisher. Adams explored the High Sierra, in summer and winter, developing the stamina and skill needed to photograph at high elevation and under difficult weather conditions
At age 17, Adams joined the Sierra Club, a group dedicated to protecting the wild places of the earth. He remained a member throughout his lifetime and served as a director.
Adams was inducted into the California Hall of Fame by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
COMPOSER FOR THIS UNIT
Leonard Bernstein (1918 – 1990) was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States to receive worldwide acclaim.
His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, from conducting concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, and from his music for West Side Story, Peter Pan, Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town and his own Mass.
He became a well-known figure in the United States through his series of 53 televised Young People's Concerts for CBS, and was commended for both his educational work and for his conducting. The Bernstein Young People's Concerts were the first and probably the most influential series of music appreciation programs ever produced on television.
Prior to taking over the New York Philharmonic, Bernstein composed the music for two shows. The first was for the operetta Candide, which was based on Voltaire's novel. The second was Bernstein's collaboration with lyricist Stephen Sondheim on the musical West Side Story. WSS premiered on Broadway in 1957 and has since proven to be Bernstein's most popular and enduring score.
In 1982, Bernstein co-founded the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute as a summer training academy. Bernstein served as artistic director and taught conducting there until 1984.
Bernstein conceived of an institution called the Academy for the Love of Learning.
“Besides the obvious attempts to get music and kids together, there will be the overriding goal of teaching teachers to discover their own love of learning.”
The Academy was completed in 1998 and is located in Santa Fe New Mexico where it continues to explore Bernstein's dream of integrated arts in education by offering courses in transformational learning.