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The Arts at Chautauqua

"Chautauquans value the arts in elevating the human condition. Further, they understand at a fundamental level the complexity and challenges of choosing the arts as a way of life. In providing scholarship support for young artists, Chautauquans are at once facilitating these gifted peoples’ access to outstanding teachers, to an incredible combination of performance and training, to an unprecedented community of artistic diversity but also they validate the choice to devote one’s life to making art. This validation is as valuable to the artists as the financial aid."

~ Thomas M. Becker, President

“I want to explode the story in style as well as in form. That’s the experimental part of this—to draw on the classical roots and contemporary interpretations to retell the world’s most inspiring love story.”


~ Vivienne Benesch, Artistic Director: Chautauqua Theater Company

For more information, please contact:

Tina Downey

Director of the Chautauqua Fund

(716) 357-6406 |


The enthralling mix of Chautauqua’s symphony, dance, opera, theater and the visual arts cannot be found anywhere else. Attracting and retaining excellent artistic directors and artists is essential to the future of the Institution's instructional and performing arts program.


Founded in 1929, Chautauqua Opera is North America’s oldest continuously operating summer opera company and fourth oldest opera company after the Metropolitan Opera, Cincinnati Opera and San Francisco Opera. Chautauqua Opera offers a season of three operas and one musical or operetta, featuring internationally recognized guest artists as well as promising young singers from one Young Artists Program.


The School of Dance, under the leadership of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, has developed a national reputation for excellence and creativity based on the talented faculty and diverse performance opportunities that exist at Chautauqua.

The Chautauqua Ballet Company presents four performances in Chautauqua’s Amphitheater during the season, with an average of ten world premieres by guest and resident choreographers.

From performances by young dancers in the student galas to evenings of dance with the Chautauqua Ballet Company and the North Carolina Dance Theatre, the dance program continues to flourish and compete for the finest students and teachers.


In so far as Chautauquans are devoted to lifelong learning, they find themselves attracted to theater and its unequaled capacity to educate as well as entertain. An art form that speaks to the mind and the soul, theater is central to a community that revels in the transforming impact of ideas.

The Chautauqua Conservatory Theater Company is the resident professional theater and conservatory at Chautauqua Institution. Internationally known guest artist actors, directors, designers, writers, and faculty join 18 of the finest emerging actors in America to produce three full productions, two staged readings of new plays, and a host of related events in the newly renovated, award-winning Bratton Theater.

The Conservatory Theater Company provides theater students with a stellar opportunity to develop their craft – not just in acting, but also in set design, staging, and operations – under the guidance of directors, master teachers, and nationally known guest artists.


The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is instrumental indeed to the overall Chautauqua experience. With its commitment to a diverse repertoire, the CSO provides a magical atmosphere on warm summer evenings ripe for the pure pleasure and enjoyment of the musical arts.

Professional performances are presented by both resident and guest artists, some of whom are also involved with teaching master classes on the campus. Additionally, performances by young professionals and the talented students in the School of Music provide another expression of the robust musical climate that is enhanced by the educational environment of Chautauqua. Thus, there develops naturally in this community a creative arts climate in which students discover enhanced study conditions and the audiences find added benefit to their musical experiences.

Chamber Music

The philosophy of chamber music at Chautauqua is that it be an ensemble without conductor generally having one musician on a part. This provides a diversity of both instrumental and vocal music from medieval chant to Brahms to jazz to the contemporary music of our time.

The Chautauqua Institution provides a variety of chamber music experiences each season, including the popular Logan Chamber Music Series, in which the audience is treated weekly to a diverse selection of guest ensemble performances.

Visual Arts

The visual arts - the most lasting of human achievements - are honored at Chautauqua for contributing to our access of wisdom, their evocation of context, and their interpretation of meaning. They serve as a visual reminder of the ageless struggle to understand the human condition.

Both the School of Art and Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution, (VACI), whose purpose is to teach and display art respectively, together, embrace these ideas and bring an integrated energy to the visual arts on campus. Our instructional program is varied and serves to educate the entire community from the adult interested in beginning levels of painting or drawing to the highly skilled student ceramist.

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P.O. Box 28
One Ames Ave.
Chautauqua, N.Y. 14722
Institution website

Chautauqua Institution is a non-profit organization, dependent upon your gifts to fulfill its mission. Gate tickets and other revenue cover only a portion of the cost of your Chautauqua experience. A community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state, Chautauqua Institution comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Visit our website for more information.