‘A Quantum Coup’

In 1951, when Brandeis University was 3 years old, founding President Abram Sachar “dared a quantum coup,” as he wrote in “Brandeis: A Host at Last,” his memoir of the university’s early years. Would it be presumptuous to invite composer Leonard Bernstein to join the Brandeis faculty?

Sachar decided to ask Bernstein himself. Accompanied by donor Adolph Ullman, he traveled to the Tanglewood Music Festival, in Lenox, Massachusetts, where the maestro was leading the New York Philharmonic. “Bernstein was never one to ponder important decisions,” Sachar remembered. “His consent was given there at Tanglewood, only moments before he went on stage to conduct.”

Read more about Bernstein’s time at Brandeis here.

Photo: Leonard Bernstein (right), on campus in 1952. (Robert D. Farber University Archives and Special Collections Department, Brandeis)