Cover of 1952 Festival of the Arts program

1952 Festival Documentary

June 12-15, 1952

Photo Credit: Original 16mm film courtesy of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department

The Festival of the Creative Arts at Brandeis was founded in 1952 by the legendary American composer and Brandeis faculty member Leonard Bernstein. It was dedicated to the belief that "the art of an era is a reflection of the society in which it is produced, and through creative endeavors the thoughts and expression which characterize each generation are revealed and transformed."

That historic event included the premieres of Mr. Bernstein's opera "Trouble In Tahiti" and Marc Blitzstein's translation of "The Threepenny Opera" performed by Lotte Lenya. The festival offered dance performances by Merce Cunningham, music by Aaron Copland and Miles Davis, poetry readings by William Carlos Williams, and symposia on the state of the arts.

“This is a moment of inquiry for the whole world: a moment when civilization looks at itself appraisingly, seeking a key to the future.”

Leonard Bernstein

Inaugural Festival of the Creative Arts, Brandeis University, 1952