On Nov 14, 1943 Bruno Walter was scheduled to conduct the New York Philharmonic but fell ill. Twenty-five year old Leonard Bernstein, who just weeks earlier had been named Assistant Conductor, was called on to step in. Waiting by the stage as the manager informed the audience that Walter would not be conducting that afternoon, Bernstein recalled hearing “groans.” Some people left. But once the music started the audience was in Bernstein’s corner…by the final chords of the Prelude to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger the audience was on its feet shouting. https://bit.ly/2F9mptl
The concert, which was broadcast live across the country, was widely successful and Bernstein became an instant success.
Bernstein appeared another 427 times at Carnegie Hall, becoming one of the most frequently heard conductors on the Carnegie Hall stage.
Bernstein hadn’t intended to be a conductor, but rather a pianist and composer. He, however, met conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos at Harvard who guided him toward conducting. The rest, as they say, is history….and Bernstein is now, very much, a leading figure in “the musical history of New York City.”