A duet for Monday: Duelling pianos – ‘America’ by Leonard Bernstein

Lots of my students are learning a simplified piano version of ‘America’ from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Here’s the full-blown version of the piece performed by Katia & Marielle Labèque:

Finding out more about the piece and the composer:

  1. The piece is a ‘Huapango’ which is a type of Latin dance. This uses a specific time signature. Can you figure out what it is from listening to the piece? If not, look up some info about the Huapango to find the answer.
  2. Leonard Bernstein was influenced by many great American composers such as Gershwin and Copland. Can you find any pieces of music that sound similar to ‘America’ but written by another composer?
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