Leonard Bernstein Fellowship

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein rehearsing for the first Creative Arts Festival, June 4, 1952

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University

The Leonard Bernstein Fellowship (LBF), named for a founding member of the Brandeis University arts community, is a distinctive and highly selective performance program. The fellowship provides a small number of accomplished musicians the benefits of private lessons, chamber performance opportunities, large ensemble performance opportunities and up to a $20,500 renewable scholarship. For the 2023-2024 academic year, the fellowship will be awarded to violinists, pianists, and vocalists. 

If you would like us to consider your submission for the LBF, please indicate so on the supplement page of your Brandeis application. Applicants are encouraged to submit recordings through a program called Slideroom. Additional information on submission materials can be found below. Submissions are evaluated by Brandeis music faculty, who select Leonard Bernstein Fellows in conjunction with the Admissions office. For submissions independent of the Common App, please create an account and begin your portfolio submission.

Submission Guidelines

  • Violinists: two-three solo violin and/or chamber recordings
  • Vocalists: recordings of three works, ideally representing varying styles and languages
  • Pianists: recordings of three works, ideally representing varying styles


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

  • A scholarship of up to $20,500 per year, renewable for up to a maximum of eight semesters.
  • Chamber ensembles. All Leonard Bernstein Fellows (LBFs) perform in chamber ensembles, working intensively toward a culminating performance at the end of each semester. Chamber ensembles are coached by members of the esteemed Lydian String Quartet as well as other distinguished members of the Music Department's performance faculty.
  • Private lessons. Fellows receive private lessons, free of charge, with Music Department faculty and instructors.
  • Performance opportunities. Performance is the 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 to chamber music performance, Fellows will gain large ensemble experience by participating in any of the Music Department ensembles, including the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Improv Collective, Early Music Ensemble, Fafali: Music and Dance of Ghana, University Chorus, and Chamber Singers.
  • Music Department offerings. The Brandeis Music Department provides a full range of courses in music history and culture, music theory, composition and performance, as well as unique opportunities in electronic music composition, composing music for live stage, performing solo recitals, and conducting independent studies that allow you to dive deep into a special area of research, composition or performance. In addition, the Department offers opportunities for students to interact in intimate settings 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 declare a minor in music by completing the following Music Department courses:

  • One semester of music theory sequence MUS 101a, 101b, 103a, or 103b and the co-requisite lab (102a,102b, 104a, 104b) 3cr
  • Either: Global Soundscapes (MUS 3b) or  Critical Listening (New Course!) 4cr
  • Three elective courses in music 12cr
  • At least 1 semester of a performance ensemble
Not surprisingly, many Leonard Bernstein Fellows choose to major in music as either a primary or secondary major.