Words of Wisdom

"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


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.

Read the original 1952 festival program. (PDF)

Read "The Creative Arts at Brandeis" by Karen Klein, from the 50th Anniversary Issue of the Brandeis Review. (PDF)

The Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts is sponsored by the Brandeis Office of the Arts.