Beacon to the World: A History of Lincoln Center (Hardcover)

Beacon to the World: A History of Lincoln Center By Joseph W. Polisi Cover Image
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A comprehensive history of the creation and growth of Lincoln Center, exploring the interconnections between politicians, financiers, and performing artists
“Masterful. . . . A powerful work of nonfiction with the drama of a novel.”—Jaap van Zweden, Wall Street Journal

In this comprehensive history of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, longtime Juilliard president Joseph Polisi guides us through the complex convergence of the worlds of politics, finance, and the performing arts throughout the years of the Center’s history, including the roles played by Robert Moses, John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Leonard Bernstein, William Schuman, Elia Kazan, Joseph Papp, Alice Tully, Beverly Sills, and many others.

Polisi explores the social and political environment during the Center’s history, reflecting the growth and evolution of the performing arts in America from its post–World War II roots to the present day of global interaction. The history of the birth and growth of this unique institution is a story of determination, economic acumen, political machinations, artistic innovations, and above all the strong belief that the arts are at the center of the fabric of American society and that they should be supported and embraced by all citizens.

About the Author

Joseph W. Polisi is president emeritus (1984–2018) and chief China officer of the Juilliard School. He is the author of The Artist as Citizen and American Muse: The Life and Times of William Schuman.

Praise For…

“Masterful. . . . A powerful work of nonfiction with the drama of a novel.”—Jaap van Zweden, Wall Street Journal

Beacon to the World is about art and artists, and is an inspiration to read.”—Air Mail

“Polisi chronicles the evolution of the ever-growing, ever-expanding, ever-renovating center largely via the larger-than-life personalities at the helm. . . . Particularly fascinating is discussion of the early years, with powerbrokers John D. Rockefeller III and Robert Moses claiming New York’s Upper West Side for their new arts campus, which displaced Black, Latinx, and other economically disadvantaged residents in the interest of urban renewal. The book reveals that Black Lives Matter and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion really seemed to rattle the institution for the good.”—M. S. LoMonaco, Choice

“An incredibly thorough and useful reference for academics and practitioners interested in knowing the story of Lincoln Center and its arts-organization constituents. The book is ideal for students and practitioners to use as a case study in arts organizational development.”—Joanna Woronkowicz, Journal of Urban Affairs

“Written by a scholar, musician and arts executive, Polisi’s superb work is an authoritative yet eminently readable account of the creation and growth of the world’s most important performing arts center.”—Nathan Leventhal, president emeritus, Lincoln Center

“Joseph Polisi has written an indispensable and detailed account of Lincoln Center’s complex history, from its iconic Cold War founding to the cultural uncertainties of classical performance in America today.”—Robert Marx, president, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

“A superb history about one of the world’s most important cultural centers. The narrative is compelling and besides providing a history of the Lincoln Center, is about leaders, leadership styles, and leadership effectiveness.”—Jamal J. Rossi, Eastman School of Music

“The public deserves such an eyewitness account as this. Joseph Polisi welcomes readers to a historic glimpse of a noble venture that envisioned the arts as a pillar of democracy. In it we see the courage and frailty of humanity reflected by leaders whose tenacity established Lincoln Center as a ‘beacon to the world.’”—Robert Blocker, Yale University

Product Details
ISBN: 9780300249965
ISBN-10: 0300249969
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: June 14th, 2022
Pages: 336
Language: English