Leonard Bernstein Fellowship


The Leonard Bernstein Fellowship, named for a founding member of the Brandeis University arts community, is a distinctive and highly selective program for chamber musicians. The fellowship provides a small number of accomplished musicians the benefits of private lessons, additional performance opportunities, and a $15,000 renewable scholarship.

If you would like us to consider your musical accomplishments and skill as a component of your application, please submit a portfolio through SlideRoom via the Common Application.  For submissions independent of Common App, please use this link to create an account and begin your portfolio submission.

Only a very small number of accomplished musicians are selected to take part in this highly competitive program. Leonard Bernstein Fellows receive the following benefits:

  • A scholarship in the amount of $15,000 per year, renewable for up to a maximum of eight semesters.
  • Private lessons and elite ensembles. Fellows will receive free private lessons and professional coaching from members of the Lydian String Quartet and other Music Department faculty. Whenever possible, Leonard Bernstein Fellows will be placed together in small chamber ensembles, working intensively toward a culminating performance at the end of each semester.
  • Performance opportunities.  Performance is an essential component of the Leonard Bernstein Fellowship.  Fellows will have special opportunities to showcase their creative work in the acoustically superb 200-seat Slosberg Recital Hall and in community outreach events.  In addition, Fellows are invited to participate in any of the Music Department ensembles without an audition. 
  • Music Department Offerings.  The Brandeis Music Department offers a full range of courses in music history, music composition and theory and performance, and it offers unique opportunities in electronic music composition, jazz ensemble, improvisation, and world music.  It also offers many opportunities for students to interact with distinguished visiting musicians and scholars.
The Brandeis Music Department features a distinguished faculty of world-renowned composers and award-winning scholars, instrumentalists, vocalists, and conductors. To ensure awardees benefit fully from this rich musical environment, all Leonard Bernstein Fellows are required to take the following Music Department courses and declare a music minor.  Many of our LBF awardees choose to major in music instead.
  • One year of Music Theory (MUS 101a and b, with accompanying labs MUS 102a and b)
  • Two semesters of Music History (to be chosen from among MUS 131, 133 and 135)
  • One elective music course

LBF PROFILE: Jacob MacKay, cellist

Photo by Diana Place

Photo by Diana Place

Jacob MacKay, cellist, is a New Hampshire native and a member of the Brandeis class of 2016. In addition to his active involvement as a Leonard Bernstein Fellow, he is also the principal cellist of the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra. Prior to college, Jacob was a scholarship recipient at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music and performed extensively with ensembles including the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra, Keene Chamber Orchestra, Ciompi Quartet, and Triple Helix Piano Trio. He is currently pursuing a major in environmental studies and a minor in music. Jacob says the Leonard Bernstein Fellowship has given him a unique opportunity to collaborate with talented young musicians from a variety of backgrounds. Thanks to the LBF program, he has forged relationships with faculty members and other students that have proven to be both educational and inspiring. Jacob's decision to come to Brandeis was ultimately influenced by his acceptance into the Fellowship, and he feels it has exceeded his expectations in an overwhelmingly positive way.