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Berkowitz, Leonard (1919-2007) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Berkowitz, Leonard (1919-2007)

Historical Note:

Leonard Berkowitz was born on February 8, 1919 in Woodbury County, Iowa, to parents David and Anna (neé Kozberg) Berkowitz who emigrated from Russia to the United States in the first decade of the twentieth century. Sometime between 1927 and 1930, his father passed away, and Leonard, his mother, and sister relocated to Southern California, where he attended Los Angeles High School, graduating in 1936. Following high school, Berkowitz attended Yale University, and completed a bachelor's degree in music.

Berkowitz enlisted in the United States Army on October 9, 1941 and served until discharged on September 12, 1945. After a brief visit to the Los Angeles area, he returned to Yale and studied under famed German composer, musician, and conductor, Paul Hindemith. In 1948, Berkowitz completed a master's degree in Music Theory and Composition, and began teaching at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1961, Leonard Berkowitz and his wife, Lucille, moved to the Southern California area and settled in the San Fernando Valley, where he accepted an Associate Faculty position, in the Department of Music at San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN). In addition to teaching, Berkowitz composed many musical scores and performed his works at CSUN and various venues throughout Southern California. Following retirement in 1984, Berkowitz and his wife relocated to the Seattle, Washington area where he continued to perform locally and pursued an interest in fine art photography. Leonard Berkowitz passed away on September 16, 2007.

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