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Leonard Bernstein 100th anniversary celebrations set to begin / AP - WTOP

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He was a wunderkind: the youngest music director ever to lead the New York Philharmonic and the genius behind the score to "West Side Story." The late Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 next year, and on Friday, the Boston Symphony Orchestra kicks off a new season dedicated to the Massachusetts-born composer-conductor, one of America's most famous maestros.

Carnegie Hall gets into the act, too, launching its 2017-18 season on Oct. 4 with a Bernstein program by the Philadelphia Orchestra and music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin. And the New York Philharmonic will perform Bernstein's complete symphonic works in a centennial remembrance that starts Oct. 25.

Andris Nelsons, the Boston Symphony's music director, calls Bernstein an "iconic figure" who influenced generations - including his own. "Growing up in Latvia in the 1980s and '90s, Leonard Bernstein always loomed large in the hearts and minds of all of us who aspired to a life in music, including mine," Nelsons told The Associated Press in an email. "It was Bernstein's exuberance, passion and all-encompassing love of music that convinced all who encountered him that music was essential, affirming and necessary for a full life, in which beauty and inspiration ignite the very best of the human spirit," said Nelsons, now in his fourth season leading the BSO.

SEE AP - WTOP PAGE for list of centennial celebrations